Though there is little personal likeness, the President that Junior Bush most resembles in actions and conduct in office is Grant—incompetent, corrupt, clueless, easily led, elected under a false impression, misusing the military. However, Grant, unlike Junior, was articulate and had physical (though not moral) courage.
In America, political discourse has now been completely absorbed by commercial advertising. Facts no longer matter, only images.
The irrelevance of facts extends beyond electioneering and discourse. It now prevails in governing as well. Neither the government, the presidential candidates, the Congress, nor the major media pay the slightest attention to the economic, demographic, educational, and military crises facing the U.S. The crises do not exist in “mainstream” public discourse.
Apparently the old tradition of Presidential ticket-balancing to win big States is dead—with Vice-Presidential candidates from Delaware and Alaska.
Is there any other country where boys dream of growing up to be—sportscasters? Only in America. Of course, some still want to grow up to be rock musicians.
In American higher education, the right wing is represented by the National Association of Scholars, a “conservative” organisation of Trotskyites who are miffed because coloured Maoists have threatened their dominance of academic patronage.
You have to hand it to Junior Bush. He may not have got Osama bin Laden, but he sure did kill a million or so of those other terrists.
Like the American Empire, the Roman and British Empires began unintentionally. However, the Roman and British Empires at their height had smart, tough leaders at the imperial center and in the field. They operated realistically, got some benefit for their people, and spread civilisation and order. The American Empire has Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Bremmer, and Sanchez. We spread rap music, fast food, and collateral damage, and burden our people with unpayable debt.
Our American mandarins gained their places by political image-mongering and bureaucratic infighting. They lack the ethics and the wisdom to manage an empire or to be in charge of the lives and wealth of the American people. They are the accidental figureheads of an immense machine which they do not begin to comprehend but pretend to direct (to ends that are largely puerile and self-referential). Yet they are busy playing incompetent games of manipulation in every place in the world. The last American leader who had any remote claim to statesmanship was Eisenhower, who left office almost a half century ago.
People who complain about Bush’s police state activities against internal dissent are the same people who think Lincoln is the greatest of all Americans for doing the same thing only more so.
A few years ago on a trip to California I was wearing my cap with the South Carolina palmetto and crescent, a symbol of Revolutionary War heroism and of my old and noble State. The Asian-American at the hotel desk thought it was an Islamic symbol. I was a secessionist even before that but the occasion added weight to my conviction that “America” is no longer a viable proposition.
The Presidential campaign may be summed up by an old term that would come readily to mind if the English language had not been so badly adulterated in this country: cant. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary—cant: the expression or repetition of conventional, trite, or unconsidered opinions or sentiments; the insincere use of pious phraseology.