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Commentary :: Organizing : Politics : War and Militarism
31 May 2008
It isn’t easy bringing things once separated together again. The repair process can be arduous and tedious. Yet just as things splitting apart may be necessary at times so is unification. At that point it is a matter of moving towards a collective goal no matter how uncomfortable it may be. This however requires consensus.
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Solving the how to of mending a rift can be found in uncovering the cause of its initial break. The current administration itself has had a devastating effect on the creation of many rifts which now pock our nation. Liberals and Conservatives have always differed, but now deep splits exist within the respective parties themselves.
Following 9/11, while still in shock, the country was subjected to numerous changes aggravating differences in political opinions nationally. The fear of terrorism spread and was exacerbated by continuous reckless generalized statements regarding threats to our nation emanating from the White House. The administration already knew who the main terrorists were and where to find many of them as this information was contained in briefings which they were aware of but did not heed until after 9/11.
Keeping us off center by watching each other took the spotlight off of themselves thus serving them well. Here you were either with the administration or were accused of supporting terrorism meaning you were against America itself. This campaign of intimidation led to few voices of dissent with a collective rage and fear blinding us from realizing a need for alternative perspectives.
War was declared on the Government of Afghanistan which most Americans supported and still do. That’s where we believed Bin Laden was and we wanted justice for what he did. Finding him would be easy as the administration gave continued assurances the war would be brief and that they were “hot on Al Quaeda’s trail.” Seven years later we are lacking in any serious results. In fact, certain candidates are to this day using a “worse than ever” scenario to describe the threat of Al Quaeda as part of a doomsday mantra on the road to the White House. This of course just proves the ineffectiveness of our current path especially with regards to Iraq.
We all knew something was wrong when we were told Bin Laden no longer posed a threat to the nation. Red flags went up and divisions began to form, and although always shouted down with accusations of disloyalty people began openly raising doubts about the policies of The White House. Many were confused and as if to add to the mix the administration declared they intended to embark an additional war.
Dissenting voices were few in Congress although many seemed to smell a rat. The belief was the war would go quickly and Iraq would be overrun, taken and strategically ‘democratized.’ Divisions deepened as many Americans questioned the validity of another war and wanted more proof than the aggressive peddling of weak evidence. Yet onward we marched towards the simultaneous building of two separate nations in one administration.
People entrusted with the job of standing up for those who elected them failed to do so although some tried. Once again the specter of being branded a traitor was raised as a warning to would be dissenters. The implication was we were going into Iraq to get the people who attacked us on 9/11. That is a line which now burns a hole the hearts of many Americans and will forever burn the pages of history.
Yet, although we acknowledged a mistake was made we are not pulling out. Billions of dollars have been spent to fuel this war while the economy falters. Skyrocketing prices at the pump add to the effect and the ouster of Saddam and the ‘liberation’ of his oil fields has not helped. The Bush family’s friends in OPEC have not decided to thank us for our efforts towards bringing democracy to their region by cutting us some slack on oil prices; it’s been the opposite. Weren’t we told we would be greeted as liberators? </p>
<p>And so divisions crystallize as struggling families lose homes and we claw around for a way out of our economic crisis. The majority of the country wants change, and we’re currently slugging it out as to who would be best suited to bring it. A hard fight for convictions is always good, but at some point one needs to stop, look around and get some bearings. With the upcoming election, consolidation around a particular candidate and that person’s running mate, no matter who they may be, will be a requisite for each party and its ideological constituents.
Consolidation can bring a moment to pause, breathe and refocus. That way, stepping into four more years of the same old thing can possibly be avoided if that’s what is wished for. Positive momentum towards change is a good thing. People who decide to do so can perhaps then create a different kind of division one between what we are looking for and what the policies of the current administration has given us. Those policies can then be put into perspective, cut loose and left where they are.
Then of course it’s on to healing, moving onwards and upwards. The next chapter in our history can then display a picture of a nation where dissenting voices are always allowed as just one part of a complex but beautiful whole. Complete agreement on every policy is not required in order to reverse the current trend of polarization and isolation which is never healthy for an open society.
Whoever we elect hopefully is capable of unifying our country. We have lived long enough with the either or policies of the past eight years and it is high time we get a break. At this point a break is long overdue.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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