This post was heavily edited after it was posted.
During the convention we were treated to the most vitriolic display of pure hatred I’ve seen since, as a tiny child, I sat with my terrified Jewish Grandma listening to Hitler make speeches. This was exactly the same kind of thing. The spewing of hatred, the adoring cheering audience. I’ll never forget the expressions on those faces at the convention, eyes rolled heavenward as though in the presence of the Messiah.
This display of Republican hatred was set against a background of the drone of circling helicopters, scream of police sirens, as the largest army of police ever assembled threatened the citizens of New York. People were knocked to the ground when they came out of the subways at 42nd St. because they might be potential terrorists — uh, I mean demonstrators. Nearly 2,000 terrorists — well, that’s what Bloomberg called them — were illegally held for days in wire cages in filthy conditions, not allowed to make phone calls or see a lawyer, their names not released to their terrified relatives and friends. This is a big city with lots of crime. When someone vanishes for days, there’s plenty of reason to worry.
So — what’s the hidden agenda? Why the public display of compassion and kindness, Compassionate Conservatism at work while shifting the tax burden to the middle-class, or what’s left of it, creating astronomical deficits, declaring a war that can never end, the endless terror alerts, sending the best jobs overseas, keeping health care out of reach because of its cost?
The agenda is not hidden. They’ve been quite open and honest about it, every time they say they’re “protecting” us, fathers take care of their children, but we’ve refused to see it, to believe they’re a bunch of sadists just doing their thing. Reasonable people wouldn’t act like that, would they? However, if the public’s kids aren’t dying in a war, Bush can’t claim he must be re-elected because he’s a wartime president. Never mind if the only possible purpose for that war has turned out to be political advantage at home. Who’d believe any administration could be that cynical? If the public is not kept in a constant state of fear, terrified of “them,” the terrorists about to attack, terrified of losing their jobs, of economic ruin if they get sick, the public isn’t going to need a Big Daddy promising to protect them. This is why we can never solve any social problems. Once solved, there’s no need to keep Big Daddy around. That’s how sadomasochism works. Create enough anguish, pain and suffering and you can get away with anything if your promises to end the pain sound sincere enough. Ah, sweet suffering!
Back in the good old Dark Ages, to which we are rapidly returning, there were lots of people who went around licking the sores of lepers to prove how much they trusted God to protect them. Some of them even got officially declared saints for it. That leper licking impulse is still with us. Licking lepers accomplished nothing for the lepers. Feeding them or giving them a comfortable place to live would have helped them. Making a public display of how compassionate the lickers were only benefitted the lickers. This pretense that Bush will solve all our problems, be a nice, kind Big Daddy is mere leper licking.