'Meanness of spirit"? Not much on this BB

  1. http://www.msnbc.com/news/907766.asp
    NEW YORK, May 2- These days, a sense of apprehension and foreboding lurks in the back of my head and the pit of my stomach. It's a gut-wrenching reminder that something very bad has happened and is about to happen anew. It is an anticipation of the next insult and injury in an America that has been defined under the Bush administration by a profound meanness of spirit.
    THE EVIDENCE OF this overwhelming meanness of spirit is everywhere, abroad and at home. Even the administration's efforts to justify the war in Iraq as one of liberation and declare victory cannot mask the human costs to American troops and their families. How many thousands of Iraqis are dead? Where are the ridiculously named "weapons of mass destruction" that Bush used to justify this invasion? Witness the looting of priceless antiquities, kitsch and cash from Iraqi museums and Saddam Hussein's palaces and homes, allowed and participated in not only by Iraqis but members of the American armed forces and their "embedfellows," the media.
    Yet to question this war and its aftermath is characterized as at worst treason and at best anti-American cynicism. And woe unto those who criticize Halliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root and the rest of the corporate sponsors of the Bush administration as they line up at the trough of government contracts to rebuild Iraq and control its oil. Now, the armed forces in Iraq have turned to shooting Iraqi demonstrators, the very people they supposedly came to "liberate" with democracy.

    UNDER SIEGE AT HOME
    Here on the home front, our e-mail communications, bookstore purchases, and even our public library withdrawals are open to government surveillance. The attorney general lengthens the arm of government repression every day, seeking the right to revoke an American's citizenship if he alone decides their words or deeds fall within his definition of treason. Slowly chipping away at our civil and democratic rights.
    The Internal Revenue Service announces that it will scrutinize the returns of the poorest taxpayers, those claiming the earned income tax credit. This is a credit offered to taxpayers who earn under $35,000 for a family of four, and it averages less than $2000. The Bush administration wants to spend $100 million to go after these working-poor Americans in search of fraud rather than concentrate on corporations who, according to some estimates, defraud the government by tens of billions of dollars every year.

    And what of the move in many states to curtail or severely cut back Medicaid benefits to the 50 million people that program currently insures, a move that will result in the loss of insurance, cuts in benefits, and an increasingly unhealthy population? And unemployment, and the awful school system, and systemic poverty, and gun violence? The list goes on.
    This as President Bush crisscrosses the country like a snake-oil salesman in an effort to sell his tax-cut program, one that will again reward the wealthiest Americans and increase the tax burden on the poor and middle class. This after already pushing through a tax cut two years ago that failed to stimulate the economy but succeeded in resurrecting a deficit that, at the end of the Clinton administration a year before, was a surplus.

    LIVING IN FEAR
    I feel far more vulnerable and frightened than I ever have in my 50 years on the planet. It is the United States government I am afraid of.
    Meanwhile, here in our great democracy, Americans go along with the program or remain silent, too afraid of the Muslim bogeymen thousands of miles away to recognize the Christian ones in our midst. Fearful that we will be verbally attacked, or shunned, or lose our livelihoods if we dare question the meanness that characterizes our government and, increasingly, defines our national character.
    I do not feel safer now than I did six, or 12, or 24 months ago. In fact, I feel far more vulnerable and frightened than I ever have in my 50 years on the planet. It is the United States government I am afraid of. In less than two years the Bush administration has used the attacks of 9/11 to manipulate our fear of terrorism and desire for revenge into a blank check to blatantly pursue imperialist objectives internationally and to begin the rollback of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and most of the advances of the 20th century.

    RECIPE FOR CHANGE
    It is none too early to begin organizing for the 2004 elections. Each of us must take a hard look at the changes that have been wrought by this administration internationally and domestically and ask ourselves: Is this the democracy we cherish? We must hold our elected officials accountable and make them take a stand against what increasingly looks like fascism. If they will not, we must vote them out of office.
    Three years ago, before the bloodless coup d'etat that made George W. Bush president, America was a far-from-perfect nation. Yet there was the possibility, almost gone now, that our country might evolve into a place that lived up to its loftiest democratic rhetoric. Today, I live in an America that makes my stomach hurt and fills me with terror. A nation run by greedy, frightened, violent bullies. It is time to take our country back before it is too late.


    Jill Nelson is a journalist, teacher and author. She is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   WashYaHands
    Seems like in terms of mean spiritedness, this author is the pot calling the kettle black. How many people can one person offend with a single article? I'd like to address a few of her points.

    How many thousands of Iraqis are dead?
    Jill, you might want to address this question to Sadaam Hussein, I understand he kept meticulous records. He even used discriptives like, "executed" and "tortured".

    Even the administration's efforts to justify the war in Iraq as one of liberation and declare victory cannot mask the human costs to American troops and their families. How many thousands of Iraqis are dead? Where are the ridiculously named "weapons of mass destruction" that Bush used to justify this invasion? Witness the looting of priceless antiquities, kitsch and cash from Iraqi museums and Saddam Hussein's palaces and homes, allowed and participated in not only by Iraqis but members of the American armed forces and their "embedfellows," the media.
    Take a close look at this paragraph. First the author laments the human costs to American troops and their families, then in the next breath accuses them of looting from Iraqi museums. Talk about mean spirited. Our soldiers are not theives.

    Here's a newsflash for Jill. Reports now indicate that most of the glass cases in those museums were locked, and that the glass was never broken, yet the items are missing. So, it appears that whoever "looted" the museum had to have had the keys. And, it is suspected that they looted the museum before Coalition forces entered baghdad.

    Now, the armed forces in Iraq have turned to shooting Iraqi demonstrators, the very people they supposedly came to "liberate" with democracy.
    Jill, dear, here's the reality of war...when someone throws a grenade into your hooch, you shoot them. Don't tease the dog unless you want to get bitten.

    The attorney general lengthens the arm of government repression every day, seeking the right to revoke an American's citizenship if he alone decides their words or deeds fall within his definition of treason. Slowly chipping away at our civil and democratic rights.
    If his/her words include "hate", "bomb", or "terror" and their deeds include flying airplanes into buildings and killing thousands of people I'd like to see their citizenhsip revoked too. And while Jill is spouting off spin regarding civil rights, check this quote out:

    Meanwhile, here in our great democracy, Americans go along with the program or remain silent, too afraid of the Muslim bogeymen thousands of miles away to recognize the Christian ones in our midst.
    Civil rights, Jill? You just took a shot at Christians. Mean spirited indeed!
    And what of the move in many states to curtail or severely cut back Medicaid benefits to the 50 million people that program currently insures, a move that will result in the loss of insurance, cuts in benefits, and an increasingly unhealthy population? And unemployment, and the awful school system, and systemic poverty, and gun violence? The list goes on.
    I'm a bit peeved about this too, but there's more to the story. Medicaid pays providers on average 40 cents on the dollar. So, if a provider spends $100 in providing care, the medicaid system only pays them $40. Simple econcomics will tell you that providers are hard pressed to afford to take folks with medicaid. I havent seen any effort from previous administrations to fix this system at all. I wouldn't blame this one entirely on Bush.

    the unemployment rate is currently 5.8%. After the first 4 years of the Clinton administration it was 5.4%. Jill, please stay in for recess and do your homework.

    Awful school system? I do believe that it was Bush who most recently increased public school funding by 35%, the largest single increase to public education in US history.

    In less than two years the Bush administration has used the attacks of 9/11 to manipulate our fear of terrorism and desire for revenge into a blank check to blatantly pursue imperialist objectives internationally and to begin the rollback of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and most of the advances of the 20th century.
    No, Jill, it was the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 to manipulate our fear of terrorism and our desire for revenge.

    Yet there was the possibility, almost gone now, that our country might evolve into a place that lived up to its loftiest democratic rhetoric.
    The only possiblity that I saw before Bush became president was that a person who held the most highest office in our Nation could deface that position with unscrupulous sexual behavior and lack of character.

    For a woman of 50 years, sure seems like she was born yesterday
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    WashYaHands . . . . . ya been hanging with Kevin?

    Wow!! Great rebuttal. Thanks for pointing out the obvious hypocrisies and distortions in that article.

    Just got called off until 7 a.m.

    . . .and just had to check out allnurses before heading back to bed . . . . steph
  5. by   kmchugh
    I was going to respond, but it seems as though WashYaHands neatly dealt with and disposed of every point. I will say, again, however, it is interesting to observe how desperately liberal pundits are searching for a spin to put a bad face on this victory. Now, who's really playing politics?

    Kevin McHugh
  6. by   WashYaHands
    Nah, I haven't been hanging out with Kevin, although I do agree with him on many points. I also agree with many other posters too (yes, even democrats). I used the format in my response because the article was long and many points needed to be addressed.

    I've read Jill Nelson's stuff before. Jill Nelson is to the extreme left what Rush Limbaugh is to the extreme right, if that makes any sense.

    If you're interested, there is a best selling book titled, "The Death of Right and Wrong - Exposing the Left's assault on our culture and values" written by Tammy Bruce. She uses some excellent examples of how extremist (emphasis on extreme) left wing politicians and organizations use twisted logic for thier agenda. Bruce is a lesbian, and she was the president of the LA chapter of N.O.W. in the 90's. She writes about her experiences with extreme leftists, and the reasons she sees them as dangerous.

    Another book that I enjoyed is titled, "The Careless Society - community and its counterfeits" by John McKnight. I'll quote part of the synopsis: "Amid all the handwringing about the loss of community in America these days, here is a book that celebrates the ability of neighborhoods to heal themselves from within. John McKnight shows how competent communities have been invaded and colonized by professionalized services - with often devastating results. Overwhelmed by these social services, the spirit of community falters, families collapse, schools fail, violence spreads, and medical systems spiral out of control. Instead of more or better sevices, the basis for resolving many of American's social problems is the community capacity of the local citizens."

    Linda
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    Thanks Linda . . I was joking around about you hanging with Kevin although he sounds like great company to hang around with. I've seen Tammy Bruce's book and have intended to read it . . . next time I'm in B&N I'll get it.

    I love Thomas Sowell and "Vision of the Anointed; Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy" is a great book! Some comments "This is as compelling an explanation as any for the seemingly disproportionate amount of condescension and politically correct invective that emaniates from the liberal side of the political spectrum toward the conservative opposition" Scott McConnell, Wall Stree Journal. "This book is a devastating critique of the mind-set behind the failed social policies of the past thirty years", Current Affairs. And "Mr. Sowell's eye is sharp, and everyone who has been up against progressive orthodoxy will find his or her own candidate for Most Annoying Liberal Kiss-Off Award." Suzanne Garment, Washington Times.

    Lots of footnotes . . . .

  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Thanks for posting this spacenurse. Ms. Nelson did a great job of summing up the fear and frustration many of us feel right here in our own home thanks to the tone set by the Bush administration. Mr. Bush and co. have made it perfectly acceptable to attack anyone who does not agree with him and his views. I have talked to so many people who have verbalized their discontent and fear of this current administration and worse, the fear and frustration they feel because they no longer feel free to voice their opinions for fear of persecution(mostly on-the-job where it counts) from rabid Bushies. This is not the America I've always known. What truly scares me is that there is really no one who can honestly challenge Mr. Bush in 2004. Most of the Democrats stood by like scared rabbits while Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft put their evil plans into play. There is some indication that the madness is passing. I have been heartened by the response the Dixie Chicks have received from their fans and by the way that creepy Dale Petroskey was made to apologize to Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins even if it was patently unsincere. Hopefully, things will continue to get better.
  9. by   Mkue
    Great Post Linda.


    Jill is probably not aware that SH also took part himself in many executions according to the last documentary on The History Channel (PBS) which aired Sunday evening May 4th. Others featured alongside him were Hitler, Stalin, Osama Bin Ladin and Moussalini.

    Perhaps Jill's gut wrenching feeling will go away when and if her party is elected into office. Perhaps she has a candidate who will please everyone, I'd like to see that candidate. It will be the first time in US history that a people unanimously agreed with a President on everything.
  10. by   fab4fan
    That's what bothers me, too, Sharon. Anyone who dares to express a dissenting opinion is automatically branded as subversive. "Liberal" has become an epithet.

    I find it odd that some people who are most vocal about the US being the land of the free are among the first to want to squelch the voice of dissent. Do people really want to live in a country where everyone thinks the same, speaks the same party line? I can think of a lot of failed governments that tried that kind of rule. The day people stop listening to other viewpoints is the day people stop thinking and growing.

    My people were rounded up by Nazi's purely because they would not pledge their allegiance to Hitler's Reich. Some died from conditions, some were tortured and some executed, purely because they would not renounce their faith and sign an oath of allegiance. In this country, they were persecuted for not fighting in the war; children expelled from school, adults beaten by mobs, adults jailed without due process, homes/businesses vandalized and burned. You can see how this is a sensitive issue for me.

    Now, I'm not saying that GWB has some sort of plan like this in store...what I am saying is that the more intolerant people become to disagreement with the government, over time, the easier it becomes to take another step closer to taking more drastic measures to silence those voices of opposition, by any means necessary.

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