So, now as we have entered a new decade, or at least a new 10 year period, let us look back at the top ten moments that have had an impact on our lives. Or have they? Honestly, we live in a 24-hour news cycle and we’re much more apt to talk about Tiger Woods recently losing sponsorship from AT&T rather than reflect on the Bush’s decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why because Tiger doesn’t require much thought, we can easily fire off an answer, but in the spirit of being intellectually responsible, responding to the long term effects of this country’s belligerence requires much more neurological energy–so much so, many us don’t always want to use it.
I encourage all of us to be aware and connect the dots of our existence. No, not encouraging conspiracy theories, but simply stated, I just highlighted–from my own memory–the last events of this past decade that do have an impact on where we are as we enter 2010. These are just my thought, a mere commentary, so leave comments down below, you know where.
2000 – Bush-Gore Florida
Just recently, I was going through some old newspaper clippings and I had saved a whole bunch of clips regarding the 2000 Election and the fight over the then 25 electoral college votes that had been awarded to Florida. From what I remember, Vice President Al Gore had intiially conceded then called it back and then it was on and popping. From that first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. With Bush’s brother as the governor and a Republican as the Secretary of State, the odds were stacked against then Governor George W. Bush of Texas. Long story short, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and overturned the Florida State Supreme Court that had ruled in Gore’s favor for a 70,000 vote recount–essentially allowing the previous state certified vote margin of 537 in Bush’s favor.
No shocker that the justices that voted in the majority had ties to former Prez George H.W. Bush.
What I also remember as a little known fact was that technically, there is no federal law that requires the members of Congress to vote in favor of what their state’s constituents vote–for example, those 25 members of Congress from Florida were not legally required to vote for Bush. But also, what most people don’t know let alone remember was that electoral college votes can be challenged–but they have to be joint sponsored by one Senator and one member from the House of Representatives. At the time of the certification of the electoral college votes–of which Al Gore, as Vice-President was currently overseeing–members of the Congressional Black Caucus actually put their money where their mouth was and protested the certification, but Gore was forced to rule them “out of order” because NOT ONE U.S. Senator saw fit to challenge it.
I really wonder if there had been a member from the Congressional Black Caucus as a U.S. Senator would they have stood up and co-sponsored the challenge.
Without trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist, let us be aware that the following eight years from 2000, we need to be aware of the neo-conservative atmosphere that Bush had created.
2001 – 9/11
Despite what former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said concerning a terrorist attack happening under Bush’s watch, the events of September 11, 2001 did happen while George Bush was president of these United States. If we want to use Perino’s line of reasoning, then it was really under Jimmy Carter’s watch that the Iran hostages were released and not Ronald Reagan. Again, the conspiracy theories abound much that Bush knew about this and I’m not going that far, however, I will say Bush most certainly capitalized on it. Bush’s entire presidency post-9/11 was marked by the bellicose rhetoric surrounding “terrorists.” We still haven’t found Osama Bin Laden and in lieu of what just happened Christmas of 2009, we’re no more safer, necessarily, than we were prior to 9/11.
The Bush Administration, thanks to guard dogs such as White House Advisor Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney, allowed for this atmosphere of severe xenophobia to reign rampant. We saw an increased visible presence of social conservatism within the media and media coverage thanks to FoxNews Network. With the rabid dogs of old head like a Rush Limbaugh and now Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, the always jovial Pat Buchanan, and to be inclusive, the bitch of the group Ann Coulter, and now even newcomer Glenn Beck, we now have an atmosphere that is ripe for lies and other misconceptions to take place in the American consciousness. The Bush White House established a culture based on fears and seemingly drew upon McCarthyism tactics of “us vs. them” and the rhetoric of “anti-Americanism” seemed straight from McCarthy’s playbook.
What resulted by the end of the second Bush term was a heavily divided country.
2002 – No Child Left Behind, The DC Sniper and Mid-term Congressional support for Bush and Department of Homeland Security
Aside from the fact that this was the year I graduated from high school, this was also the year that Bush enacted the No Child Left Behind Act. Yeah, it sounded great on paper, even Ted Kennedy sponsored the bill, but I’m sure he along with Bush never step foot in anyone’s public schools. Long story short, in order for school districts and ultimately individual schools to receive funding, they had to maintain certain test scores. So, we’re still operating school districts off the idea that essentially every single kid learns within certain parameters and those parameters can be judged by tests–and the teachers are teaching for a test. So naturally, inner-city schools are never given the opportunity to address the plethora of social concerns that all effect a child’s learning ability.
And no this isn’t some leftist leaning beliefs, but come on now, every parent of multiple children knows that each child has some quirk about them that results in them learning differently.
And then DC was paralyzed with the DC Sniper, who was finally executed this year. And I’m sure every black person was shocked when word got out that he was black. The shock was further compounded when it was discovered that the sniper, John Allen Mohammed had some little boy Lee Boyd Malvo following him around. As if the nation wasn’t already gripped by the jelly bean color coded “alert” system, the DMV residents were most certainly on red alert. All of which helped move this country to okaying the encroaching of our own individual civil liberties. Yes, I’ll admit it’s a hard decision to make when the decisions of a few individuals affect the larger population, but damn, this stuff is starting to suck.
Can’t help but wonder if even the DC sniper helped the country to shift from Afghanistan and “smoking ’em out” with Osama to finding this “weapons of mass destruction” that poor Secretary of State Colin Powell got up at the United Nations with faulty information with which to go forth in February 2003. Because that prior fall, Congress gave Bush the greenlight more or less with defense funding and enacted the Iraq War Resolution. Not to mention, we saw the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
2003 – Bush, Mission Accomplished
Of course, by March, Bush landed on the aircraft carrier in the the fighter jet. And most of us were of course, happy because we thought it was over, but still disturbed because we saw our president dressed in military garb. Honestly, for the more critical thinkers, we of course drew up images of Fidel Castro who was synonymous with his ubiquitous military revolutionary outfit. And we were forced reconcile our country entering a war, but yet an unjust war. Yes, we were all mad as hell that our country had been attacked, but yes, we were fighting the ideals of terrorism but not in fact a terrorist. So by in large we were fighting a war of consciousness.
I’ll admit that perhaps the Bush White House (Cheney et. al.) were aware of this, but they did a damned good job of personifying this war of ideals. We now are afraid of any one who looks un-American. Un-American became defined by anyone who didn’t have a frayed flag flying on their car or from their house. Un-American became defined as anyone who didn’t seem to fit into the narrow ideals as dictated by the ever increasingly vocal religious right and conservative punditry.
Long story short, the mission was not accomplished and still has not been nearly seven years later.
2004 – Kerry/Bush
I did a post as to why blacks voted for Bush in 2004 and still I couldn’t have done it. Yes, there is the political science theory that one does not change leaders in the midst of a war. Well, okay, I guess. The war aside, blacks voted for Bush because of the symbolic move to get the Defense of Marriage Act ultimately passed as an amendment to the Constitution, not to mention Bush’s conservative stance on abortion appealed to the black conservative religious predilections. There is some debate as to how socially conservative blacks can be, particularly when infused with religion, but in this case, Jay-Z is right–numbers don’t lie. As John Kerry went windsurfing, blacks voted a record 11-12% for the Republican candidate. And my personal story was that, while my intelligent friend made the decision of voting for Bush, and I still disagree with him, he said part of his decision was that he decided to vote for the poorer candidate. He said voting for a man who was worth in the neighborhood of $1,000,000,000.00 was just unconscionable as we are a country with a significant working poor making less than $30,000.00 annually.
The Bush White House walked away from that election with their mandate as this country voted Republicans back into the majority and finally, this conservative slant of the country had finally gained a real toehold on this country and they were here to stay.
(check the next post for the continuation….)