The Bush presidency has had many effects on our country and on the world, but I think the most significant effect has been divisiveness. The Bush effect is divisiveness. It has touched me personally, but it isn't merely from my personal experiences that I base this claim. Bush has split the United States right down the middle. In fact, that was the first thing Bush did to us when he took the Florida recount to the courts and had it thrown out, had the Florida vote decided by fiat, not by the votes cast.
That was just his first move.
He has continued relentlessly ever since to split America into factions. We now have factions that support preemptive war, torture of political prisoners, and a security fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. We now have powerful factions supporting the privatization of government including Social Security, primary and secondary education, the national defense, disaster relief, environmental protection, energy conservation, Congress, and a whole host of other functions.
In today's America under Bush's leadership we are again seeing the rise of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Religious paranoia is on the rise, fueled by the fear of reprisals against the conservative agenda. Bush's extensive secret spying schemes are even dividing conservatives. Political bribery has become the standard for conservative politics which is wholly dependent financially on powerful corporate interests pitting the interests of the wealthy against the interests of everyone else.
Bush is planting seeds of dissent for the future. Runaway government spending coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy darken the horizon of our nation, burdening future generations with our excesses while one pension plan after another is scrapped, imperiling the retirement of today's workers. Bush is even talking about using nuclear weapons against Iran preemptively, dividing even the leadership within the Pentagon over concerns about the blowback from such a reckless policy.
The Bush effect is nowhere more clearly seen than in Iraq where civil war is wracking religious factions which have never warred against one another before now. Families are being split in half. Brother is killing brother. Cities are dividing. Minority populations are evacuating their homes in fear of the neighborhood's religious majority. And it all began when Bush came to power. And it all began because Bush came to power.
But I think there's an even darker side to the Bush effect, a side that pits the future against the past, a "back to the future" side of politics. The year 2000 brought us to the top of the sled run, to the top of the slippery slope. For decades the world had been overcoming the effects of nationalism
, the political drive to separate national cultures. Throughout the 20th Century there was a struggle between nationalist interests and the process of cultural assimilation
, the melting pot effect.
"Nationalism" is a euphemism for political conservatism. "Cultural assimilation" is a euphemism for political liberalism. Reactionary nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the driving force behind Germany's Nazi oppression against the European socialist movements. Radical cultural assimilation was the driving force behind Communism.
In the American experience, we see cultural assimilation as the primary objective of liberalism. Liberal philosophy suggests that racial and cultural (including religious) differences shouldn't lead to hatred and violence and divisiveness. Liberal education teaches open-mindedness, cultural diversity, and political acceptance of differences in the hope that diverse societies can learn to live peacefully. Reactionary nationalism opposes this teaching, attempting to persuade populations that those who differ racially or culturally belong to different nations and should not mix. Fascist and Nazi Europe was rife with reactionary nationalism.
Enter the Bush effect, the slide down the slippery slope...
Since becoming President, George W. Bush has been at the leading edge of a new world trend toward reactionary nationalism. Probably the first popular example of that was "freedom fries," the anti-French sentiment generated by Bush's pressure to conduct war in Iraq. Bush has convinced America that we are at war against not only liberalism (the French liberals), but also "radical Islam." The Dubai Ports scandal was the product of our reactionary nationalist fears of Islam. You might argue that this Dubai issue contradicts the Bush effect theory because Bush was in favor of the deal, but if you have followed the story, it was Bill Clinton who favored the deal. Bush didn't know about it, or so goes the claim. By the time Bush found out, the deal had already been struck and Bush was forced to choose between supporting an ally and the public's reactionary nationalism.
I heard a report on National Public Radio this morning about the rise of reactionary nationalism, xenophobia, and fascism in Russia. Russia is a vast melting pot empire of cultural diversity. Under Communist socialism, Russia attempted to assimilate all the diverse cultural nationalities under one umbrella, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR. Since the end of the Soviet empire, Russia has been dividing along historic nationalist lines. Now there is a growing trend toward cultural division, a reactionary nationalist trend splitting Russia politically.
Now we have Iran. If you have been paying any attention at all to the US policy regarding Iran you should know that the United States is actively seeking to politically undermine Iran's leadership. We are covertly and overtly attempting to split Iran into as many political factions as possible. We are imposing the Bush effect on Iran. We are making every effort to divide Iran both politically and culturally.
Because Iran is threatening to wipe Israel off the map
Or because Iran's oil industry is nationalized
Or because Iran is striking deals with China
On 29 October 2004 Iran and China announced the signing of a deal on Chinese investment in Iran’s oil fields and the long-term sale of Iranian natural gas to China that could eventually be worth $100 billion. The gas deal entails the annual export of some 10 million tons of Iranian liquefied natural gas (LNG) for a 25-year period. The deal could eventually reach 15-20m tons a year, taking the total value to as much as $200bn. Delivery could not begin for at least five years, as Iran must first build the plants to liquefy the natural gas. This stunning development was widely considered a major blow to the Bush administration's sanctions on Iran. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) penalizes companies investing more than $20 million in Iran's oil and gas sector. Iranian officials are hopeful the deal will lead to a fundamental rethinking of doing business with Iran on the part of European countries, India, Japan, and even Russia.
Enter the Bush effect
US President George W. Bush said he hoped to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran with diplomacy, but warned Tehran he would "use military might" if necessary to defend Israel.
You see, reactionary nationalism is a political tool used to mask or divert attention away from the real agenda. Bush's divisive effect on the world is hiding the real Bush agenda. United, the world can withstand the kind of pressure that Bush's corporate agenda - his New World Order - places on it. But divided by reactionary nationalism, the world doesn't stand a chance and Bush knows it.
We claim that Bush is just a bumbling oaf, an idiot in search of a village. Right. Eyes wide shut.
Remember the Bush effect.