Brussels, Friday, July 13, 2007

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Scratching at the Rash
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

WHAT A difference a few months make, eh? Rationality is finally attempting to trump hysteria. We still don't have a clear path, politically, through the maze of dysfunction, but we're digging out as fast as we can. For many of us, it can't be soon enough -- and there is still a flypaper-like quality to this energy that prevents us from lifting our feet, making a clean break, escaping the strictures that keep us bound. In our personal lives, we're torn between the comfort of "same-old, same-old," nostalgically reviewed during this last Mercury in Cancer retro, while increasingly restless for change. Not to worry -- it's here. Can't you feel it?

With temperatures topping out in the 120s in the West, and Al Gore's Live Earth concerts drawing global attention to the environmental issues, the Bush administration still stonewalls on international cooperation. A majority of citizens now see that as blind and rash. That majority, 77%, also think that the Iraq war is "going badly," and no longer see it as "morally justified." Nevertheless, Bush defended his war yesterday, saying, "We just started," and indicating that he has no intention of altering his Stay The Course policy; he's drawing up "post-surge plans." Rash. 

His administration continues to deny Congress access to or oversight of the inner workings of the White House, its aides or even former employees, prompting a constitutional showdown. Rash. Alberto Gonzales, America's preeminent legal eagle, is responsible for a long string of assaults on the very rule of law he pledged to serve: on Tuesday we learned that he'd lied, yet again, to Congress over incidents of abuse of the Patriot Act -- and still Bush insists that Gonzales "has my confidence." Rash. 

The public, a full two-thirds of those polled, thinks that George W. should have kept his fingers out of the Scooter Libby case, his commutation maneuver smacking of political cover-up and obstruction. Amazingly rash, flying in the face of justice. Indeed, G.W. now ties Richard M. Nixon in public approval. Not surprisingly then, according to the White House, polls are merely seen as "fun, self-generating news hooks, but we don't make policy decisions based on which way the wind is blowing." Not only rash, but Super Double Secret Rash...and, I think, a big fat lie. If Karl Rove isn't micromanaging all the poll numbers, I'll eat my national ID card.

And still -- STILL -- we seem stuck in the flypaper, unable to move. The howl I hear from readers, from friends, is -- HOW can this still be happening? WHEN will this nightmare end? There aren't solid answers to that question, only vague hopes and hazy projections...with astrologers leading the way. We are still vibrating to the last pass of Neptune/Saturn -- we will be for awhile yet, shaking the last of the sleepers awake, fully disillusioning them. Coming up on July 16 is the astonishing Pluto conjunct the Galactic Core -- the last time we played in this kind of rebellious energy, it was the 1750s -- pre-revolution. It's a signal for renewal -- for social awareness and change. Still, it's taking some time to rev our engines, to gather steam, to make all this personal enough to act on our disgust with the current climate of government.

This evidently needs to get as personal for each of us as it became for Cindy Sheehan, losing her son to a war she thought rash and unnecessary. Personal like it was for Joe Wilson, whose wife, Valerie Plame, was illegally "outed" as a CIA covert operative, ending her career and putting her colleagues in harm's way. Personal like it's become for the hundreds of thousands of people whose homes are being repossessed because of uncontrolled business practice; like those who find vital health coverage denied them by insurance carriers, similar to the examples Mike Moore has given us in his new film, SiCKO; like the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, ignored and bullied and sent home from fighting a war FOR America to fight another war WITH America to get needs met; like the expatriated residents of New Orleans, who had expectations that they lived in the US of A and not in the Third World, begging for scraps.

I regret that the majority of us did not begin to address these issues before they became so difficult to live with, until all this HAD to become personal, painful, in order for us to notice. We were rash, too, lost in our own private realities, ignoring our responsibilities as citizens -- those of us that are older should have known better. And now, tragically, we no longer teach Civics in our schools. We're not raising our children with a sense of political responsibility and duty to themselves and their country; if we don't show them how to raise a patriot's voice, they simply won't know how. 

We've got our work cut out for us. It's taken us generations to make this mess; it'll take at least a generation to get us straightened out. But that has a sense of destiny to it, I think -- if we are to remake ourselves in a new paradigm of global understanding, join hands with the nations of the world to further her well-being, we not only have to face our dark side (which we're doing in spades) but come to awareness of what is no longer workable. To paraphrase the Bible, you don't put new wine in an old skin -- in those ancient days, new wine was unfermented and would split an old wineskin in its maturation process. The new government we have in mind has no hope of fitting comfortably within the confines of the current one.

To flop this on its head, then, George Walker Bush may be our best friend -- he's certainly taught us a lot. He's pointed out every loophole in legality, every problem with privatization, every nationalistic error in our American mythology, every international expediency leading to profit and empiricism, and destabilized our every expectation of civil liberty in his seven years in office. He's shown us ourselves, at our most extreme, most painfully discovered, worst. This rash of radicalism has given US one, itchy and visible, and nothing will cover it up -- we're naked to the world, and becoming so, finally, to ourselves.

Personal yet? If not, don't wait until it is. You won't like it.

Mr. Bush said something yesterday that, as usual, he didn't examine in terms of himself. He said it in regard to his dogged and unyielding loyalty to the Iraq occupation and ensuing civil war.  

"Liberty prevails every time if we stay with it," said he.

Our good friend George, king of old paradigm patriarchy and plutocracy, got that one right, for a change. Liberty WILL prevail. He just doesn't understand that he's anachronistic, a throwback to times and ideas happily outgrown -- that what we will build in the next years can no longer tolerate him and his corporate friends, that the character of our advancement as humans must rise above the small-mindedness that drives the policies and politics of his administration. 

We've got an itch to scratch, a nation to recover, a world to build...all ahead of us. Perhaps the opening shot will be on the July 16 -- perhaps our dismay and restlessness will erupt into another shot "heard 'round the world." I have every confidence that it can, every confidence that it, ultimately, will. Here's the little secret we never seem to remember -- we've got them outnumbered. No matter how "fun" and insignificant the politicos consider the polls, they tell the truth about We, the People, that there are now multi-millions of us facing off against a handful of desperate and tenacious holdouts. The old paradigm has to give eventually. It's just a matter of time. Let's not waste any more.

CREDITS: Managing Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact Checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet. Business Manager: Chelsea Bottinelli.

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