Bush: The Epitome of “america”

Several weeks ago, an article entitled “In God Bush Trusts” appeared in the Cynic. It was both biased and disturbing (not to mention that it had an overly patriotic slant). But then again, isn’t that what our student newspaper is for? To provide the intellectual community with different perspectives on a similar issue? Having said this, allow me to provide an alternative perspective to Mr. Bush’s regime and his rhetoric, the same that has fueled the hearts of “americans” since the invasion of this so-called “land of the free, home of the brave.” Let me begin by addressing the very obvious: america. It is not a country; it is a continent. If we can agree on this issue, I assume we can move on with our dialogue. If not, perhaps a different article might be the best suit for you. And since the word america has mistakenly become a synonym for the United States, I have chosen not to capitalize the noun. “america” is full of paradoxes. Mr. Bush’s regime speaks of freedom and democracy, yet this country has consistently failed to come to terms with its disturbing history: slavery, deception, discrimination, interment, oppression, etc. It speaks of democracy, yet the voices of the marginalized (historically non-Whites) are rarely acknowledged. It speaks of access and meritocracy, yet research has shown us time and again that an inner-city Black kid is more likely to go to jail than to college.* Mr. Bush has declared war in the name of peace and democracy. Tell that to the Native Americans. Does Mr. Bush even know they exist? Is he aware of the countless pleas to the U.S. government for land, democracy, human rights, dignity and the freedom to choose their destinies? But no resolutions, only casinos. Or what about the Puerto Ricans? Or Hawaiians? Or Cubans? Or Samoans? Their lands have been invaded as well by the very same country that is preaching peace and democracy today. In case you didn’t know, those countries (with the exception of Cuba, whose only part of its land has been stolen) are all now under U.S. jurisdiction. And their citizens are deemed as second class. The article portrays Bush as a strong and devoted Christian. It states that 17 years ago, Bush “was simply [an alcoholic] man living in Texas with two young daughters and a struggling marriage.” Through his Christian faith, it appears, he found the way to the presidency in 2000. Wow, am I impressed. The man attended an Ivy school despite his low qualifications. Was that also because of divine intervention? Some will say yes. Personally, I think it is due to the institutionalized privilege that has been afforded to some at the expense of many – his Affirmative Action. For the pro-War cowboy, it has become common rhetoric that the “liberation” of an “oppressed” people serves as his justification for war. But weren’t those the very same excuses that the colonial powers used over five centuries ago when they sought the opportunity to exploit native lands? According to eyewitnesses such as Albar N????ez Cabeza de Vaca, Franciscan priests used to “bless” Indian people before they were raped and slaughtered by the greedy colonizers. By blessing them, the colonial powers claimed, they would be “redeemed” from their sins – “liberated” -and a place in “heaven” would be secured. But so cruel was the punishment endured by the “infidels” that many chose to challenge the colonizers by saying, if that’s what salvation means to you, I’d rather go to hell. Is that the same fate that awaits the Iraqi people once their current regime is replaced by Mr. Bush’s? After all, the rhetoric and logic that Mr. Bush has adopted is the same used by his greedy predecessors in 1492. Colonial “america” is no longer in a position to decide what’s good for others. I find such a concept offensive, overlty racist and na??ve. Have we forgotten that, not too long ago, Blacks were beaten and killed for simply being Black? Have we forgotten that Chicanos who had fought for their country (the U.S., of course) during the Vietnam War could not be buried in military cemeteries simply because they were not White? “america” had its chance to show the world it could live in peace and harmony with different people, yet it chose a different alternative. What’s particularly troublesome to me is the irony of this war. Mr. Bush is trying to “liberate” a people when those very same people are being targeted, oppressed and persecuted here in this very same “land of the free and home of the brave.” Take Balbir Singh Sodhi, for example: He was a 49-year old Sikh-American who was killed in Arizona for looking “Arab” immediately following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Or my fellow Latina sister who was approached by an older man who yelled at her, You and your people need to go home. That incident took place here, on our very own campus, a year ago. Yet Mr. Bush is still convinced that he needs to “liberate” Iraq? I find his logic a bit confusing and contradictory. But then again, he is George W. Bush. To many White Americans (and non-Whites who espouse similar values), Bush symbolizes the utopian “america” that has benefited a few at the expense of many: The good ole days. The man epitomizes a time and era when everything was peaceful; when values were strong. Those damn good ole days. But from my standpoint, those were the times when men and women were deprived of their dignity so that others could enjoy theirs. Those were the times “society” came together to celebrate the lynching of “savages.” Is this what Mr. Bush’s regime wishes to bring to the Iraqi people? After all, doesn’t the Presidential cowboy know what’s best for them? And besides, he’s a good Christian man, with strong family values. God should be on his side, right?…Right. I wonder if he has considered the possibility of “america” being the problem and not the solution to the ills of our world. I have become convinced that times don’t really change; history repeats itself. Every time my grandmother wanted to fool me, she would say to me: es el mismo gato, no ‘mas que se disfaz?? (it is the same cat but with different fur). I guess the modern-day colonialist no longer wears his/her armored protection; a three-piece suit will do the job. They no longer travel in vessels; they move about in fancy planes and limousines. And they no longer need the clergy to sprinkle holy water over the heads of “infidels” before slaughtering them; they only need to make sure to be in sync with CNN, NCB and CBS when telling their story. El mismo gato, no ‘mas que se disfraz??. As we witness the obliteration of a culture tonight – relaxed in the comfort of our quiet homes – I challenge you all to do so with one thing in mind: victors rewrite history, but the vanquished never forget. *Maran, M. (2000). Class dismissed: A year in the life of an American high school, a glimpse into the heart of a nation. New York: St. Martin’s Press.