Jane Smiley ( Pulitzer Prize Winner )
November 3, 2008
Vicente DuqueI have to admit that from time to time during the Bush years, I have watched my fellow Americans support all kinds of cruelty and insanity, from the bombing of Baghdad and Fallujah to the ignoring of Hurricane Katrina to the torturing of taxi drivers in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo to the gutting of all meaningful action on global warming, and I have thrown up my hands and said, "So, take what you deserve and like it! Sow the wind if you want, reap the whirlwind, and welcome." From time to time I have lost not only hope but care for my fellow citizens, who have seemed intent on destroying themselves and others for the sake of things I do not and cannot understand. Dictatorships do horrible things, and their citizens are employed to do them, but for a self-advertised democracy to do horrible things seems to me a lot worse -- we are all implicated. We can never walk away from crimes that we failed to prevent, because as citizens of a democracy, it was our job to prevent them.....................
Here we are at another election day, and when I read about Republican voters in Ohio threatening Obama supporters and screaming that Obama is a Muslim (Rev. Wright, where are you when we need you?) or a terrorist or the Anti-Christ or a Communist or a Socialist, that old knee-jerk impulse takes over again -- I think, go ahead, wreck your country, see what I care! You want Sarah Palin as president? See where that gets you! Why should you be saved from yourselves?
.........................Back in February, 2006, I wondered here on the Huff: "Isn't there always a moment in the life of every dictatorship when the tyrants take the gloves off in public?" And then, "The Republicans might have to then enforce their power with vigilante groups and lynch mobs. Are we there yet?" Since then, we have gotten closer to that point. The Republicans grow more and more shameless -- so shameless in their fearmongering and lying that if we didn't know them so well by now, we would think they were kidding. McCain and Palin and their spokesmodels have shown that they will say anything to retain power, and, if they have to, they will make every attempt to assure that after the election their base will be violent and ungovernable.