Wilkins is wondering when the real criminals will be punished—he’s talking about the abuses of power by the current Republican administration, ranging from the evisceration of civil liberties in our own country to criminal and unjustified foreign wars, with the concomitant loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. I think I can answer that one.
Bush will leave office with the praise of his sycophants ringing in his ears, and that will include the national media. He will go off to a happy retirement, smirking all the way, and will only ever appear at voluntary events hosted by other criminals who will be anxious to continue applauding him. Personally, I think that at every public event at which he shows his face from now on, people ought to spit on him…and he and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the whole rotten gang ought to be shipped off to an international war crimes trial today. It won’t happen.
One reason is the remarkably timid complacency of the citizenry. We have a president who signs away our liberties, and the people just yawn. This is a nation of sheep, bred to follow authority, no matter how odious or insane. It’s frightening how much reverence for authority people will grant to piddling wankers like Bush, or televangelists, or media figures—these people can do anything, and the public will rush to hush anyone who criticizes.
Another reason is historical. Read this account of what the United States has done in the past—along with the sheep, we are a nation of monsters. John Milton Chivington would have been an exemplary soldier in the War on Terror. But, you see, we don’t learn from history: our kids do not learn about the Sand Creek Massacre in school, and they will not learn about Abu Ghraib and habeas corpus in the future.
Our kids don’t even learn about Nixon, except that he was a president; if they are particularly diligent, they might discover some of the press hagiography about him. That’s it.
There’s a fantasy of America the rich and wise and powerful and gracious and self-sacrificing that has a powerful resonance in this country. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that we can close our eyes and wallow in the myth, and we don’t actually have to try and live up to it…and we haven’t. Ever.