This last weekend I went to the Mohave County Fair in Kingman and, while standing near the Democrat booth, I cringes at the disgusted retorts made by some of the passers-by who were enjoying their afternoon at the fair by sharing racist and other hateful remarks with family and friends. It reminded me that eight years ago, during Illinois State Fair time, I wrote about an experience of being verbally and physically harassed at an early Bush campaign rally in Springfield, Illinois.
My editor, at the liberal A&E weekly I frequently wrote for, ran the piece with the title, “Middle Class Thugs for Bush.” Within a week I had been fired from the better paying conservative glossy monthly local magazine I also wrote for. Which started the series of events that led me to Arizona, where I get to annoy you fine people.
Anyone reading this piece in that certain conservative daily Western AZ paper where I occasionally publish might note you are, by far, not the first to call for my economic ruin because you disagreed with some words I wrote.
Imagine wanting to have the power financially destroy another person because you were offended by the way they thought. You imagine it. I can’t.
Because, actually, those of you who would want that kind of power, disagree with letting people you disagree with have such freedoms in the first place. You in fact are the same middle class thugs my editor was talking about way back then. And that’s the problem with George Bush: he represents the middle class thugs then and he does now.
He was wrong then, just as John McCain is now, by striving to be the hero of those giving in to the worst aspects of the American spirit. That is unfortunately a part of our history as indelible as our calls of freedom, justice and prosperity. That’s right, some Americans have always acted as if their right to disagree with someone extended to a right to have them destroyed. When little kids act this way we tell them to grow up and some parents even call them stupid. What should we call these parents?
All too often they are the same Americans that try to act like our country is not capable of ever doing anything wrong. The victims of the Tuskegee experiment, Japanese Internment, Iran-Contra, and Operation COINTELPRO are likely to disagree. And they’re giving into the same impulse that makes some want to support our country’s efforts when it says it intends to destroy another country even though we know it’s wrong because all those anti-war protestors are just pissing you off.
Truth is, America has always been the voice of dissent and the tyrants among us, whether in our fairgrounds, or in our Oval Office, have always tried to prevent that voice from being heard. Like Wilson’s Sedition Acts during WWI, which once famously imprisoned a movie producer for making a movie about the American Revolution, because Wilson had made it against the law to portray the British, our then-allies, in a bad light.
Like last month when the Minnesota RNC police security arrested 40, count ‘em 40 journalists trying to report on police brutality out at the protests, while inside the coliseum the polo shirt crowd crows to each other about their love of county. Whose country? Is it “We the people,” or is it “Us and Them”?
Wrong then, just as it’s been wrong any of the countless times American force overwhelms American fairness. Whatever other thing this country is legendarily supposed to be about, it is touted as the Land of Free, who should also be free from the pettiness of those who call themselves brave.
Here is an excerpt from that piece back in August, 2000: “These people weren’t some drunks, punk kids, or ruthless thugs. They were what passes for upstanding citizens, well dressed adults carrying slick signs and wearing their candidates’ pins. They were proud to be mean and felt it their right.”
This probably why the thugs among us support aggressor warrior candidates like Bush then and McCain now. Bush proved willing to go so far as to build a war out of weapons of mass deception, as has been irrefutably proven. How little will it take to push the famously hotheaded McCain over the edge so he can prove his inner thug-ness also with some more of our sons and daughters?
--mikel weisser writes from the Left Coast of Arizona.