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March 19, 2002

God, It's Great To Be American!


by Heather Wokusch

There's nothing like being in the safe hands of the Bush administration.

I mean, how embarrassing for those poor people in Zimbabwe, dealing with their rigged presidential election. Imagine the shame of knowing opposition voters had been systematically disenfranchised, and that the Supreme Court had stepped in to support a specific presidential candidate. That could never happen here! We should go in and show those people how real democracy works.

And what's with the British parliament anyway! Last week, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was pummeled about his unquestioning support for Bush policies. Fellow MPs named Israel (rather than Iraq) as a violent Middle East country deserving an arms embargo, and asked Straw why the UK is threatening to send soldiers to Baghdad, but not Jerusalem. In grueling parliamentary sessions, Straw was asked why he supports what others see as the simplistic, gun-toting policy of the US; his response of, "I have not yet met members of the Bush administration who are gung-ho" was met with jeers.

None of that kind of political dissent in the US government! Forget Congress' constitutional duty to oversee the US executive branch - since September 11th, Democrats have been so terrified of seeming unpatriotic that they've all but rolled over and played dead. Even minor opposition, such as Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's tentative questioning whether the war should really be broadened, is dealt with swiftly and brutally by the administration: Congressman Tom Davis accused Daschle of aiding the enemy, and the House majority whip, Tom DeLay, referred to Daschle's comments as disgusting.

Looks like it's back to Bush's "you're with us or with the enemy" speech: what's clear now though is that "us" means the Bush administration, and not necessarily the US government or ordinary citizens.

So our fearless leader blasts the "axis of evil" countries for promoting weapons of mass destruction, then in the next breath threatens the use of nuclear weapons on countries the US dislikes. "We are at war to keep the peace," as Bush says. He gets "hot" at deficiencies in the INS system that allowed 2 hijackers to receive visas, but doesn't seem to mind the hundreds of US residents rounded up post September 11, shackled and still languishing in jails despite not having been charged with any specific crime other than looking Middle Eastern.

Meanwhile, the law of the land is determined by a man who reportedly sees calico cats as a sign of the devil. US Attorney General John Ashcroft is charged with protecting fundamental rights such as freedom of religion, but lately has taken to publicly singing self-penned lyrics such as "Only God, no other king," when he's not holding prayer meetings at the department of justice.

Yep, it sure is nice to be in safe US government hands. But as the president himself has said, "There ought to be limits to freedom." Too much questioning of administration policies just can't be right in times like these because Americans (presumably regardless of religious affiliation) should bow their "heads in humility before our Heavenly Father."

I guess it's just a coincidence that so often what our Heavenly Father wants seems to echo US military policy.

So how best to be a good US citizen in "times like these"? Raising our bowed heads to question the credentials of those professing to represent divine truth would be a start. Owning our voices is more in keeping with the foundations our country was built on than tolerating this obsequious game of mincing words and hiding behind flags.


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