Fraidy Crats?

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.—from W.H. Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939”

Cool artistic image of W.H. Auden

President George Bush and the United States Congress are ignoring the will of the American people who have spoken clearly they want an end to the Iraq occupation.

Congress must immediately start to cut off funding for the occupation and begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, or we will risk losing our democratic structures. So far, incredibly, Congress has ignored the people’s obvious mandate. This is staggering in its implications, and people should be outraged.

Our government is now a quasi-dictatorship ruled by Bush’s personality disorder and a coalition of rich Republicans and Democrats who could care less about what the people think and believe in this country. Congress has abdicated its authority to check the power of the executive branch of government. (Read the previous sentence again.) We are in a constitutional crisis that threatens our democracy. Will we have a system of democratic checks and balances or will we be governed forever in the future by warmongering, imperial presidencies?

Our national “elected” government is corrupt at its very core. It is a dysfunctional, immoral, secretive institution that has sanctioned and even celebrated the torture of war occupation prisoners, the wiretapping of American citizens without judicial oversight, and the slaughter of innocent U.S. soldiers and Iraqis. It is fueled by a massive military-industrial complex that buys off its members with campaign contributions and other favors.

Yet it is obvious our historical democratic structures give us our strength, prestige, and power, not televised military generals lauding the latest tank or missile made by corporate America.

The people, us, we, you and me, by a clear, vast majority want our country’s military out of Iraq. We decided this in the November elections. We are the deciders, not Bush, not Hillary Clinton and her cabal of fraidy cat right-wing Democrats. We decide. The United States is, still on paper anyway, a democracy. You should be tremendously frightened—no matter what your political views—that our country’s government and military no longer function under a framework of democratic ideas.

The civilized, democratic world watches us in horror as it faces the reality the world’s largest super power is systematically destroying its democratic institutions and traditions. We are reviled throughout the world. Every country positions itself now for our obvious downfall. These countries are like a school of sharks swimming around us waiting to pounce.

Clearly, the lesson taught by the inaction of the current Democratic-controlled Congress over the Iraq occupation is that your vote absolutely no longer matters in this country. The privileged elite and the rich politicians of both parties care only about themselves and their careers and, most importantly, their bank accounts.

It is time to hit the streets in protest. It is time to hold more local impeachment hearings around the country. It is time to speak out each and every day in small and big ways to save our vulnerable democracy. It is time for you—yes YOU—to run for office, to confront a corrupt politician with the truth, to create new organizations because the old ones are not working, to join a real democracy movement, to save the United States of America from its corrupt, warmongering, bought-and-paid-for politicians.

I especially call on those country’s intellectuals who have remained on the sidelines during the quasi-fascist regime of Bush to take action now. When will it be too late to speak up? How will you explain to your children and grandchildren you lacked the courage to act as the country lost its democratic structures?