Suburban Soliloquy #84



The election is over and the anticipation is over. My life is not over. There will be other things to write about, such things as are not political - but not just yet. I need to get the election results behind me. I need to vent.

I have rehearsed this essay in a dozen letters, in three dozen conversations. I have poured out my consternation to friends and acquaintances as they did to me. We have lost the election. I was up the entire night, election night, until all but one network had declared in favor of Bush, and then I watched only that network. The mathematics was clear and I eventually had to confront defeat. It left me forlorn and frightened for my family, for my country and its Constitution, and for the world. After a devastating night without sleep, having descended into a morbid depression, I found myself nauseous and dizzy. When the morning came around and I was supposed to leave for work, I called in sick and climbed into bed instead.

The day after the election, I was infuriated by the smug arrogance that beamed from President Bush's face. In his victory speech he declared, "America has spoken, and I am humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens." He made it sound as if he had been given a mandate by the people, a disregard for the slim margin of his victory, that 49% voted for his opponent Kerry. It was a melancholy week during which I was inconsolable. By the end of a week my depression wore away and all that remained is my anger.

The Neo-cons are coming into power, to control the helm of the most powerful country in the world. National chauvinism isn't just a sickness that poisons the United States; it is a delusion that permeates every nation of the world. Catastrophe arises only when a nation has the power to impose their point of view by force of arms and by force of capital. The Neo-cons make no secret of their intent; they even maintain a website, the Project for the New American Century,, "a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership." They have been straightforward since 1997 in announcing their intent. In their statement of principals we read: "We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities." Many familiar names have signed on to this, such as Elliot Abrams, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfield, and Paul Wolfowitz.

There is no suggestion that the Neo-cons are prepared to recognize another country's leadership, another country's global responsibility, nor another country's principals. It presumes a priori that ours is superior to the rest. The United Nations be damned! I suspect the Neo-cons think of themselves as the end to history and don't worry about setting a precedent, like creating a model of cooperation among nations. When China becomes the next most powerful nation in the world, if they use Neo-cons as their model, they will promote Chinese principles.

With half the country against it, we can hope to slow the Bush Administration's progress, to beat back the Neo-cons. Perhaps Republican moderates will take back their party from the lunatic fringe that whispers into Bush's ear, the extreme Christian right which intends, through the present Administration, to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. They want to end the teaching of Evolution and have their creation myth taught in its place; they want their version of the Decalogue exhibited in courtrooms; they want the law to recognize the zygote as possessed of a human soul and is therefore in greater need of preservation than the woman who carries it; they want to stop stem cell research; they want to stop the use of prophylactics; they want to restrict homosexuals from the rights accorded heterosexuals; they want prayer restored to the schools; and, they are eager to pursue policies they believe will hasten the coming Apocalypse/Armageddon/Rapture.

Politics make strange bedfellows. The American Christian Fundies [Fundamentalists] support Israel. One wonders how it is that these two exclusive groups, Christian extremist and Jewish extremist, each with convictions that theirs is the one true religion, which should put them in contention with each other, yet share a common goal of sorts. The establishment of a Jewish State and the rebuilding of the Temple have a similar purpose for each. For the Jews it will bring about the Messiah. For the Christians it will bring about the Messiah again. The Jewish Messiah will bring world peace. The Christian Messiah will bring a scary circus preceded by a one-piece band and bad weather.

Why the light of a zillion stars that forms the Universe should be extinguished to satisfy the need to make real a mythology found among a subgroup in a religious sect belonging to an incidental species floating on this speck is beyond my imagination, but apparently not beyond the absurdly childish mythologies of Fundamentalists.

Bruce Bentzman

This essay is number 84 in a series of regular reports from the life and times of Mr Bentzman. If you've any comments or suggestions, the writer would be pleased to hear from you.
Mr Bentzman's collection of poems, "Atheist Grace" is available from Amazon, as are "The Short Stories of B.H.Bentzman"