After an antiwar conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, a man came up to me and expressed concern that the U.S. would soon follow through on threats to bomb Iran. He suggested that a "perfect storm" might soon enable our terrorizing administration, its spineless congressional enablers, and the cheerbombers in AIPAC to aggress Iran, and perhaps even utilize deep penetration, bunker-buster mini-nukes to do it.
This perfect storm might include a hot wind of American discontent with the occupation of Iraq, the hypobaric levels of popularity of the fifth season of the Bush-Cheney "Who Wants to be a Global Policeman" reality show, and the earthquake that is Iraq in extremis. Attacking Iran, as Charles Featherstone recently reflected, might be Bush"s Laos, a spastic attempt to get out of the bigger problem next door while still looking macho.
Perhaps, just maybe, the perfect storm coming won't push the Bush administration and its Congressional shock troops into new violence in the Middle East, but instead destroy them in Washington.
A perfect storm may indeed be brewing. But this storm could send peace soaring over war, give rise to constitutionality over criminality, and fill the sails of renewed American self-government.
The perfect storm that will destroy the Bush administration symbolically comes from the west, where domestic pressure to stamp out illegal immigration mates with general anti-alien hostility (aka Dubai Port World) accelerating the economic collapse here at home. Righteous nationalistic protectionism combined with government winks at CEO lawlessness and big bank caprice ushered in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The perfect storm comes also from Hollywood, where thoughtful and courageous film producers and directors are finally getting it. Whether we are watching Jarhead, Munich, Good Night and Good Luck, Why We Fight, or V for Vendetta, we are as a nation are learning something that strangely, we already knew. We are waking up, and it feels good.
The perfect storm that will destroy the Bush administration comes from the south, representing the millions of the voting elderly who finally realize that George W. Bush has really screwed the pooch on their entitlements, and that old Dick is no longer master of his domain. Shooting his 78-year-old friend and supporter provides a powerful subliminal message to the aged in America, as they struggle with their new Medicare forms. The South is also NASCAR country, where Bush gets most of his military recruits, his evangelical supporters, and his most solid support. When country music superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill toured New Orleans last week, they said what everyone who supported Bush down there has been thinking, and thinking they couldn't say out loud. But they are saying it out loud now.
The perfect storm that will destroy the Bush administration comes from the East, where the first 21st century experiment with American martial law will be attempted at some point and where it will badly fail. Whether in response to a nasty flu bug, a terrorist attack, or a simple accident of nature that becomes a Washington diversion, martial law in a major American city will not work as planned. Those who remember Kent State and those who remember the federal response to Katrina will nod in mutual understanding as they watch a federal martial law experiment go ugly early.
Finally, the perfect storm that will destroy the Bush administration will come from the North. As the dollar crashes on global markets, New York and Boston bankers will do what they must to survive, and the rest of the country will wake up to an economy that yesterday happily floated in debt, and is now frantically drowning in it. Simultaneously, those damn Yankees in Vermont and elsewhere will stubbornly light the way with calls for secession, impeachment, and federal accountability.
This perfect storm is made of forces that cannot be contained by a strange little man in the White House, an even stranger one in the Naval Observatory, an over-deployed Army, friends in high places, or even Karl Rove.
After this storm, we Americans will look at each other. We will try to smile, and then we will smile. We will make some jokes, we will pick up the pieces, we will help each other, and we will be home again.