Why I Look Forward to Bush’s Reelection

July 28 01:47 2004 Print This Article

Unlike America’s political elite, I have always despised al-Qaeda. Even back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when successive US administrations were funding and actively cooperating with Osama bin Laden and his cronies, I regarded the bearded Saudi to be a dangerous fascist theocrat.

I mention this because, to my utter surprise, I recently discovered something that al-Qaeda fanatics and I have in common: the concealed desire to see George W. Bush return to the White House following the November elections.

Ever since the Madrid train bombing last March, statements circulating on behalf of various al-Qaeda front groups around the world contain brief remarks about their desire to see Bush command the ‘infidels’ for four more years. The reason, of course, is simple: al-Qaeda’s minions are convinced that the only possible context for the Arab world’s relationship with the West is one of aggression and war. Bush’s strategy of global domination echoes and encourages these convictions.

In this respect, Islamist fundamentalists won’t necessarily be sorry to see Bush defeated in the 2004 elections, especially with the war in Iraq being a major US election issue. Yet al-Qaeda leaders know that, in the long run, they have much more to gain from the continued presence of Republican neo-conservatives in the Oval Office.

Not only has Bush’s arrogant and self-destructive ‘war on terrorism’ divided America, it has also created deep strategic cracks among Western powers. Furthermore, continuing US aggression is rapidly radicalizing Muslim populations, driving thousands of angry youth into the open arms of fundamentalist groups eager to exploit their rage. Thus the radical Islamists have strategic advantages to gain from a possible reelection of the Bush camp.

Ironically, the same could be said for America’s future.

Most liberal observers consider the upcoming US elections as a matter of life and death -the last hope for deliverance from neo-conservative yoke before all of us are cast into utter darkness. The electoral war cry of anti-Bush organizers is the resounding “regime change begins at home”.

This slogan, however, is as phony as George Bush’s reasons for attacking Iraq. Te term ‘regime’ does not specify the politics of an elected administration. Regime is the mode of government, the form of rule. It follows that regime change does not mean a change in administration; it means a change in the way we are governed.

In the particular case of the United States, a regime change, in the context of progressive representative politics, would imply radical, groundbreaking reform that would alter the very structure of the American governing system.

Regime change would be ending corporate lobbying once and for all, as well as curbing the influence of big money on our government. Regime change would be to prevent Congress from being taken over by an elected aristocracy of multimillionaire members, as most of them now are.

Regime change would be to nationalize the health system, thus insuring once and for all the tens of millions its uninsured victims. Regime change would be to force corporations -not only the federal government- to institute and abide by a minimum wage of at least $20 an hour.

Regime change would be to sign out of international trade treaties, force US-based corporations to pay taxes and forbid US-owned firms from fleeing abroad. Cutting military spending to the absolute minimum, eliminating all racist and sexist laws, disbanding the CIA and the other shadowy intelligence agencies, ending our government’s support for totalitarian regimes abroad, increasing education expenditures to over 20 per cent of the national budget -all that would be regime change.

Now, getting John F. Kerry in the White House would be nice. It would be a breath of fresh air, a welcome break from the deeply reactionary policies of the Bushite fundamentalist gang. But ‘regime change’ it would not be. Progressive regime change is not brought about by wealthy New England politicians. It is brought about by a radicalized populace, fed up with injustice, inequality and corruption, and actively struggling to achieve it.

Another thing to consider is that profound regime change does not take place in a vacuum. It is usually the response of a people with its back against the wall. Additionally, regime change movements are sparked by the collective realization that traditional political channels are incapable of delivering the desired catharsis. Thus it can be said that the more oppressive and unresponsive a regime is, the more it encourages the idea of regime change among the governed.

Consider the rule of George W. Bush. His government is admittedly the most reactionary, repressive and unresponsive in modern times. Its foreign policy resume includes two major wars in the context of the broader ‘war on terrorism’; two known instances of involvement in military coups against elected governments (Venezuela, Haiti); a continuous refusal to recognize the authority of international bodies (United Nations, UNICEF, World Court, World Health Organization, to name just a few); and the redeployment of Cold War modes of arms proliferation.

Its domestic policy boasts the introduction of the most repressive union rights, civil rights and civil liberties restrictions since World War II; the proliferation of domestic intelligence activity against peace and justice groups; the country’s worst economic performance in recent memory; as well as the weakest job market since the Great Depression.

Is it any wonder that Bush’s rule has also witnessed the most advanced radicalization in American society since the 1960s? Union activity has already reached levels not noted since the late 1970s. The anti-war movement has picked up after nearly twenty-five years of inactivity with some of the largest demonstrations in history in virtually every major city. Progressive political documentaries like Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9-11 are among the highest-grossing blockbusters in theatres all across the nation.

The experience of the stolen votes in the last election has resulted in the most solid anti-Republican bloc of African-American voters in years. Ethnic and religious minority groups, such as Latinos and Arab-Americans are turning in droves against the Republicans, fearing the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim overtones of Bush and his neo-conservative entourage.

The women’s and pro-choice movements, the environmental movement, the civil liberties movement, are all reporting the largest increase in membership numbers in nearly thirty years, as do most local peace and justice groups all over America. Huge national activist groups, such as MoveOn and United for Peace and Justice are challenging the way we do politics. Even such unlikely issues as electronic voting machines and no-fly lists are now rallying cries that stir hundreds of thousands of Americans.

George W. Bush’s administration is the primary force responsible for this nearly unprecedented radicalization of America’s middle class in the past three to four years. It may sound simplistic, but then politics often is: the goofy, flatfooted figure of George W. Bush is the best advertisement for the progressive cause. Another four years of him and his clowns, and the historical conditions will be ripe for another 1960s.

This does not mean that the Democratic alternative to Bush’s despotism should be ignored. I, along with 99.9 percent of America’s progressive voting bloc will cast my ballot for the Democrats. But I won’t expect anything close to a regime change from PR-conscious John Kerry, who appears to regard his anti-war activism during the Vietnam conflict as a potential embarrassment, and whose campaign managers have already assured Israel of their unconditional support.

What this does mean, however, is that if Bush is reelected, I will not consider it the end of history. I will not emigrate abroad, won’t consider America finished, I won’t even be mildly disappointed. Instead, I will look to the future with optimism, preparing to utilize Bush’s unintentional assistance in organizing a mass ‘regime change’ movement -in the true and very literal sense of the term.

Isa F. Atkins

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