A World Health Crisis We Can End by River Smith

The world is faced with a crisis of epic proportions. Millions will die if we don’t challenge it. The environment will be destroyed if we don’t organize all our energy to prevent the damages of this scourge. People all over the world will suffer if we don’t act. What is this crisis? What infection is so serious it could destroy the world as we know it? Arrogance. Arrogance is endangering the world. The source of this epidemic is not in the forests of Africa or the mountains of Tibet. It doesn’t come from lemurs of the Malay peninsula. No, it’s much closer than that.

Once upon time in a galaxy, on a planet many, many light years from here there was a country that called itself a democracy. It held itself up to all the other countries in the galaxy as the best and most righteous country in that part of the universe. And it was true that the country had a long uninterrupted history of a kind of democracy. Of course for half of its history, less than thirty-five percent of its population was allowed to vote, and for most of its history fewer than half the citizens had that right. On top of that, There had been problems with elections--more than once, candidates who did not win the vote took office anyway. On at least a few occasions, through a technicality, the candidate who did not win the national vote actually became the leader of this country.

Now, one day in the not too distant past, there was a man who ran for the highest office of this land. He had one special quality, which seemed to make a difference in almost all of the elections of this distant place. He had more of this than anyone had ever had. This important quality was called money.

In spite of this quality, the man still got fewer votes than his main competitor. However, our man had other weapons, too. He had a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who were friends with lots and lots of other people with that special quality. That gave him something else called influence. He also had a brother that politically controlled part of the country. Through the brother’s employees’ actions, the votes in that part of the land were disputed. Then friends paid friends to come and pretend that they were citizens of the brother’s fiefdom They came and they yelled and they harassed the vote counters. Finally, a special court, made up mainly of people appointed by the man’s father and a friend, decided that he should become leader of this distant land, and that the disputed votes should not be counted. It was no surprise that observers all over that part of the galaxy were disappointed by this outcome in the nation that held itself up as the greatest model of democracy. The observers questioned the legitimacy of this election and the respect they had possessed for this mighty nation. What happened after the election, however, was even more disturbing. And so began the downfall of the greatest almost democracy of its time.

Of course nothing like this would happen in The United States. Or would it? Beginning in 2001, in spite of the disputed election of George Bush, his administration began to attack every issue Mr. Bush ever spoke of. In spite of the fact that they had no political mandate, they went about their business weakening environmental enforcement and laws. Arrogance. They attacked citizens’ right to sue for redress. Arrogance. They attacked affirmative action even though Bush, himself, would not have gotten into Yale if not for the legacy exception, which allowed otherwise unqualified students to enter if their father had graduated from the school. They gave some of the greatest tax breaks ever to rich allies. Even as Bush’s crooked close friends at Enron and other firms were found out and shamed, the bush boys continued to push for more tax breaks for their friends. Arrogance. They attacked workers’ rights, veterans’ rights (while sending soldiers off to get killed), and women’s rights. All with no mandate to do any of these things. Arrogance. They used a great American crime and tragedy to give sweetheart contracts to billionaire friends, and to cover their total inadequacy at governing. As they preside over the worst job loss during a presidency since the depression, and still produce no real plan for economic recovery, they lie about the numbers. Arrogance. In the mean time, they have developed a defensive strategy that could destabilize the world for the next century. Naked, obtuse arrogance.

The arrogance is evident with Bush’s recent behavior around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. First, Bush decides to visit Atlanta on Martin’s birthday, supposedly to honor the human rights leader. Throughout his administration he has focused on dismantling everything that King fought for. Nevertheless, he went to honor the fallen hero. It was just a coincidence, of course, that he had a fundraiser to attend that night in Atlanta. On top of that, two days later, this arrogant punk appointed a noted Mississippi racist, Charles W. Pickering, to the United States Court of Appeals. Arrogance.

Now, as the arrogance rages, the Bush administration, in office, in spite of the will of the majority of voters in this country, is trying to give the same kind of democracy to Iraqi citizens. The Bush plan for “democracy” in Iraq is not one person, one vote. Instead, they want a caucus system put in place that will allow for regional and ethnic representation. That’s not necessarily a bad idea, if a majority of Iraqis were to vote for such a system after they democratically elect an interim government. Of course the Bush boys were outraged when American political philosophers suggested an ethnic representative plan in the United States. They considered such an idea undemocratic in our country. I guess that makes sense, if you’re not an Iraqi voter.

So, what can we do about this scourge of arrogance? It is our job to help our selected president. We must help him find the antidote for his arrogance. The citizens of this country must serve up a double dose of humility to the Bush rascals. They must be thrown out of office, and be held responsible for any crimes they’ve committed while mis-leading our country. The scourge of arrogance can be halted. Not with duct tape or yellow alerts. Not with bomb strikes or strategic night attacks. We must stand up and act to save ourselves and the world. It’s up to us. Let’s help our president. Vote the scoundrels out of office.

River Smith