As Obama takes over the wreckage this country is in, one can't help but feel like something alien to America has been controlling it these past eight years. The wave of emotion that has erupted with the election of Barack Obama reminds me of the Allied victory in France in WWII. After a long foreign occupation in which foreign German interests occupied the agenda of France, French governance would once again be representing the concerns of it's populace. That hope seems to pervade America after it's long neocons occupation. Here are a few of the parallels that I see.
- American Public Opinion Has Been Ignored
Polling has consistently shown that the American government pursues an agenda far to the right of American public opinion. For the slight margin of victory that Bush had in both elections he won, the sweeping changes he pursued illuminate his disregard for the sizable chunk of our society that disagree with him.
When Dick Cheney was questioned on ABC about whether the fact that two thirds of Americans were opposed to the Iraq War had any influence on decision-making, he basically said that the American people get to make their input every four years and after that they can be ignored. The government is there to represent the people and now that it seems like that is returning; joy is understandable.
- Core American Values Overturned
America fought a revolution to have its opinions represented by it's government. That has faded in Bush's term. America set up the UN after World War II to set up international law and put an end to military aggression and imperialism. That went out the window. Habeas Corpus was inherited from England where it originated in the 12th Century. Bush in that sense has embraced the morals of the middle ages. Along that line, America reinstituted the use of torture. England discontinued its use in the 1600's Frederick the Great ended it in Prussia in 1740, Italy in 1786, France in 1789, and Russia in 1801. Besides moral reasons, the practice was written off as ineffective in terms of yielding useful information. This administrations moral conduct is clearly alien to the values of most Americans.
- Basic Infrastructure Neglected
Bridges, roads, and environmental standards have degraded these past eight years. What could be of more interest to a population than the upkeep of these vital elements of society? Clearly the vital interests of the population did not matter. You would have to be completely foreign to what America is not to see it, as basic infrastructure degraded tremendously in Bush's tenure.
- National Resources Diverted Overseas
If you study any foreign occupation, one common thread would be that national wealth would be diverted into foreign lands. While American healthcare, education, and infrastructure languished, we dumped billions of dollars into Iraq and pursued an otherwise aggressive and destructive foreign policy across the world at large at tremendous cost.
On top of that, national debt doubled the past eight years. It's like America lost a war, suffered an occupation and had to pay a 5 trillion dollar indemnity. We're in a similar position to France in 1870 or Germany in 1919 in that our common interests have been ignored, we've pursued an aggressive foreign policy to our own detriment and we are now deeply in debt.
- Propaganda Tuned Up
Bush took the stance of a foreign occupier in his governance- rational argument would never win the minds and hearts of the masses so crude propaganda such as Fox News was trotted out to scare and paralyze America into obedience. The same quest for obedience through misinformation and crude scare tactics are the same you see in the totalitarian governments from South America to Asia that have brought nothing but misery to their own people and the world at large.