Another Four Miserable Years?
The Republicans have an even stronger congressional majority. They have shown how gladly ruthless they can be in using their power. Bush and his allies have never believed in compromise. They have even less incentive to govern from the middle now, even though the nation remains bitterly divided.
There's no secret about what's coming. We don't have that excuse this time.
Here comes more fiscal recklessness -- as we widen the chasm between the ultra-wealthy and everyone else, cementing a plutocracy into our national fiber, we'll pay our national bills on the Treasury Bill credit card for the next few years. Many economists expect a Brazil-like financial crisis to hit the U.S. before the end of the decade. If we muddle our way though the near term, we'll still have left our kids with the bill.
Here comes an expansion of the American empire abroad, a fueling of fear and loathing elsewhere on the globe. This is also unsustainable in the end. Empire breeds disrespect.
Our civil liberties will shrink drastically. This president and his top allies in Congress fully support just one amendment in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. Say goodbye to abortion rights in most states. Roe v. Wade will fall after this president pushes three or four Scalia and Thomas legal clones onto the Supreme Court. Say hello, meanwhile, to a much more intrusive blending of church and state.
The environment? We'll be nostalgic for Ronald Reagan's time in office.
This is not sour grapes. This is reality.
I hope, but doubt, that the Democrats re-discover enough of their collective spine to block the most extreme moves. If they do it'll be a change for a party that stands for so little these days.
People say there are two Americas. I think there are at least three.
One is Bush's America: an amalgam of the extreme Christian "conservatives," corporate interests and the builders of the burgeoning national-security state.
Another is the Democratic "left": wedded to the old, discredited politics in a time that demands creative thinking.
I suspect there's a third America: members of an increasingly radical middle that will become more obvious in the next few years, tolerant of those who are different and aware that the big problems of our times are being ignored -- or made worse -- by those in power today.
That third America needs a candidate. Or, maybe, a new party.
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