As the wheel of time spins us ever closer to Election Day, a familiar feeling sits in the pit of my stomach. It’s a lot like walking home late at night.
Any woman can tell you that when she does this, scenes of impending attacks play out in her mind. We all have fought off millions of would-be rapists, over and over, until that door latches behind us and we’re safe at home.
What she might not tell you is about the part of her that wants it to happen. All you sickos out there can stop getting excited, because I’m not talking about some twisted sexual fantasy that will validate your tired she-was-asking-for-it defense.
I’m talking about the part of her that has taken countless self-defense classes or knows to go for the eyes, throat and knees. I’m talking about the part of her that believes she could fight off an attacker and wants a chance to prove it.
That is the feeling I get when I think about the coming election, or specifically, about the possibility of Bush winning. Part of me wants it to happen, wants things to get as bad as they can, because maybe then things will really change.
History has shown that when it comes to politics, the adaptability that has enabled the human population to grow exponentially is something of a hindrance.
The reality is that things have to get really, really bad before we’ll up and do something about it. Really bad, like starvation. Really bad, like concentration camps and genocide.
We generally can withstand a whole lot of government repression and cruelty, just as we can withstand extreme temperatures. If you put a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out and thus will live, but if you heat the water slowly, the frog will die.
Right now our country is in a sad state. Unemployment is up almost 40 percent since Bush took office. Millions of people in the United States are without health insurance (and most others have crappy insurance). Here in Oregon countless people are starving and can’t afford to feed their families. You’ve heard all this before.
Since Bush took office, we’ve regressed into the dark ages as far as environmental issues, civil rights issues, women’s rights issues, queer issues, education and employment issues are concerned.
Bush has consistently sided with big business when it comes to the environment, whether it is the timber industry in allowing logging after fires or mining public lands. Funding for endangered species has been cut and wetlands have been drained.
Despite international outcry, people are still being held without charge, trial, contact to the outside world, in direct violation of their international human rights, at a US naval station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Bush has rolled back women’s rights, banning so-called partial-birth abortions, without exemption even for the mother’s health. Bush then, to add insult to injury, assigned the civil rights department the task of enforcing the ban instead of the criminal justice department. In addition, his reinstatement of the global gag-rule has caused the deaths of women and children around the world.
Despite Bush’s reprehensible track record (I can’t even begin to list everything), things aren’t that bad in America. We’re still one of the richest countries in the world. It will take a lot more than what’s happened so far to initiate the full restructuring of government and society that we need.
The problem is the system doesn’t work any more. Americans don’t have much of a choice when it comes to our government. Money, media, corporations and the government are all so entangled that regardless of the outcome of the election, there is very little we can do to affect what goes on at the federal level.
If we’re not careful, someday in the future the attack will be real, not just a shadow in a dark alley.
And maybe, just maybe that will give us the incentive we need to come together, rise up and revolutionize our country the way, deep down, we know we can.