All right, children, sit still while I tell you a fairy tale, one with heroic heroes, evil villains, and an unbelievably happy ending.
Our tale starts with a king (after all, he was anointed and appointed, not elected). This king was opposed to evil—he told us so many, many times.
This king waged a war against an evil villain, who tried to assassinate the king’s daddy, invaded other countries, killed innocent civilians, and developed weapons of mass destruction. (Any similarities between the “good” king and the evil villain are purely coincidental, right?)
Once the troops of the “good” king won a victory over the evil villain (as the king told us many, many times), the evil villain hid in a cave, thinking evil thoughts.
Finally, after months of being unable to find those nasty weapons of mass destruction, the troops of the “good” king found the cave and captured the evil villain.
This represented the triumph of “good” over evil, and everybody lived happily every after, especially after the next election, when, if all his calculations are correct, the “good” king will be elected without having to steal the election.
Isn’t that sweet, children?
There’s only one problem with this fable — it’s a fantasy.
George W. Bush, who keeps assuring us (though we are not reassured) that he is the President, wants us to buy this concoction. He wants to smile and pretend to be strong and accept everybody’s congratulations. He wants us all to vote for him. Since his residency has been an economic, moral, political, and international failure, he has to create a fairy tale he hopes enough people will believe.
He is similar to The Magnificent Arnold, that outsider, poor struggling immigrant, decisive leader, who sold enough Californians on his fable that he got elected to govern, which has already proven more complicated than reading a script or lifting weights (or keeping election promises).
Fairy tales get some of their attractive power from their oversimplified worldview, and that also makes them attractive for those who want to use them to maintain power. Their great failing is that fables aren’t reality, fairy tales conflict with facts, and fantasies can’t satisfactorily cope with difficult truths.
Saddam Hussein is an evil villain, but so is George W. Bush. Hussein tried to build weapons of mass destruction in the past (though apparently the UN inspection process worked!). Bush is building and using them. Saddam Hussein wasn’t elected in a fair and equal election process; neither was George W. Bush. Hussein ruled by giving contracts and favors to his closest supporters while threatening, demonizing, and attacking his opponents; so does Bush. Saddam Hussein tried to sell the people of his country a bill of goods that they had to pay way too much for; that’s the same tactic that George W. Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are using. Hussein invaded other countries without provocation for his own power-hungry reasons; so have George W. Bush and his minions, who keep threatening even more countries with attack.
The real heroes are the people of both the United States and Iraq. The people of the U.S. have the power to reject fantasy and deal with reality, to re-defeat Bush in 2004 and change the direction and priorities of the U.S. The people of Iraq have the power to build a new society, which rejects foreign military intervention as well as home-grown dictators and demagogues. The main obstacle for both peoples is the corrupt, lying administration of George W. Bush.
If you think I exaggerate about the corruption and lying of Boy George, check out a few books from the best-seller lists: “Dude, Where’s My Country” by Michael Moore; “Bushwhacked” by Molly Ivins and Lou DuBose; and “The Great Unraveling” by Paul Krugman, to name a few. They detail some of the reality that Bush doesn’t want you to know or understand.
Bush would rather have you buy his little fantasy, with himself as the dragon-slayer. Don’t buy it — the fairy tale may sound nice, until you have to deal with the realities of an economic recovery that doesn’t provide any decent paying jobs; a security policy that takes away civil liberties and constitutional protections; a foreign policy that alienates the entire rest of the world; a health policy that benefits only the pharmaceutical and insurance companies; an environmental policy that makes it harder to breathe clean air, drink safe water, and escape cancer-causing chemicals; and a labor policy that eliminates overtime protection for millions. And that’s no fairy tale.
Marc Brodine is chair of the Washington State Communist Party. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.