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(DV) Random: The State of the Union -- A Stumbling Illusion of Strength







The State of the Union 

A Stumbling Illusion of Strength 
by Jack Random
February 1, 2006

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“The state of our union is strong.” 


-- George W. Bush, State of the Union Address 2006 


If ever there was definitive proof that our president is suffering under a spell of delusion, it occurred in the opening sixty seconds of the State of the Union Address. The state of our union may be strong if you are the chief executive officer of Exxon, Chevron or British Petroleum but it is anything but strong on Main Street. 


I have not yet seen the usual word count of the president’s address but one of the most glaring attributes of this speech was a contrast of conceptualization.  The president used the words freedom and liberty (oblivious to the assault he has led on American liberty) repeatedly but, by my count, he used the word “justice” only once -- and then in reference to New Orleans, where the homeless, destitute, dead and displaced have lost all hope of justice for a crime of federal negligence spanning multiple administrations.


There is no justice in the president’s vision. 


He advocates democracy at the barrel of a gun but democracy without justice is like wine without a glass. What has the president’s dark vision of freedom and democracy wrought? A world of mistrust, a radicalization of Islam, a vibrant resistance to the global empire throughout Latin America and much of the democratic world. We have plagued the world with destruction and everywhere democracy has had a voice, it answered No! Our diplomacy, the diplomacy of a battering ram, has produced stalemate in North Korea, a backlash in Palestine, a steady disintegration of security in Afghanistan, and outright defiance in Pakistan. Our global economic policies have produced a crippling debt at home, destitution throughout the third world, a strengthening of capitalist-communist China, and exploitation of poverty and labor worldwide. Our foreign policy has produced an erosion of international and domestic law and a wholesale devaluation of human rights. No, Mr. President, the state of our union is not strong. 


Under your leadership, the march of freedom and democracy more resembles a goose step. You pound the drums of war on still more sovereign nations (Iran, Syria, Burma, Palestine, North Korea…) while failing to come to grips with the solemn fact that your immoral and illegal wars have produced more of the enemy we fear than anything Osama bin Laden could have dreamed. 


No, Mr. President, the state of our union is not strong. 


You pledge to stay the course, sinking our nation deeper and deeper into unfathomable debt, while failing to acknowledge that your policies have produced disaster in every corner of the world: Hamas in Palestine, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and Al Qaeda in Iraq. You pledge to defeat the dark vision of evil of our enemies without understanding that you have answered evil with evil, unleashing a vicious cycle of endless destruction. 


No, Mr. President, we are not “winning” the war. 


You plead for compassion in the war on AIDS, genocide, slavery, drugs and disease, without any mention of Darfur or any acknowledgement that your presidency has patently ignored the world’s most pressing problems (global climate change, poverty, disease, nuclear proliferation, environmental catastrophe) while you marched to your own drummer. 


You defend the USA Patriot Act and rename NSA domestic spying the “terrorist surveillance program” while George Orwell cries out from his grave:  The enemy of freedom will carry the flag of patriotism and the banner of democracy. 


No, Mr. President, the state of the union is not strong. 


How dare you summon the names of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Martin Luther King! We are a nation in crisis but we are not in civil war. We are not defending the world from an aggressive, conquering nation; we are that nation. We are not the defenders of civil rights and civil liberties; we are running backwards in history. 


You claim we are the envy of the world when, in fact, we are the world’s most pressing problem. We have handed the reigns of the world economy to nations that exploit slave labor. Our middle class is breaking under the strain of low wages, inadequate health care, and free trade policies that cater to international corporations while you cry out for permanent tax cuts on the wealthiest elite. You boast of $880 billion in tax cuts while the people sink into a mire of hopeless debt. 


No, Mr. President, the state of the union is not strong. 


Having reaped the blessings of your pharmaceutical drug pay off, we can hardly wait for your reforms of Medicare and Medicaid. Having witnessed your pandering to the corporate class (shamelessly exploiting immigrant labor), we can hardly wait for your “guest worker program.” 


How cleverly you ignore the vagaries of Enron, the obscene profits of the oil industry, the crippling rise in the price of gasoline, while you offer more empty promises on alternative energy without a single reference to fuel efficiency standards. 


How dare you stake another claim to education! When all is said, you have done more to eviscerate public education than any president in history. You have done more to undermine the very concept of science than any historian could have imagined. 


You brashly call for a revolution of conscience but what is a conscience without justice? You have delivered the harshest of lessons to New Orleans. You claim to have committed $85 billion to rebuild the Gulf Coast and the city that is the heart of all America but where has it gone? 


New Orleans is shattered, its people thrown Schizo Scherzo all over the nation, its levees unrepaired, its song silenced, its misery palpable, and you finally speak of justice! 


How can you mend the soul of a nation when you have no concept of where we live? 


Forget the Democratic response! Forget the media spin! Behold Hillary applauding the never-ending war! Behold John McCain pandering to tax cuts and frothing at the mouth for war! 


When are the leaders of this nation going to realize that the people are angry?  We do not need any more “happy time” talk of civility in Washington.  We need someone who hears our cry of sorrow, our desperate plea for help, our loss of collective pride, and our hunger for common decency, honesty and truth. 


No, Mr. President, the state of the union is not strong. 


The nation is ashamed and we hold you singularly to blame. 

Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others. Visit his website: Random Jack.

Other Articles by Jack Random

* The Presidential Power Grab
* Surrealistic Pillow: The West Virginia Mining Disaster
* Pataki & Bloomberg: How to Bust a Union
* The Imperial President and the NSA Spying Scandal
* France and the Burning Embers of Repression
* The Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda
* The Agnew Factor: Clearing the Impeachment Path
* Iraq and New Orleans: The ABCs of Police Lawlessness
* The Age of Catastrophe: Preparing for Disaster
* No Tears for Rehnquist: The Legacy of a Chief Justice
* Zero Tolerance: Bush Gets Tough as New Orleans Suffers
* Hugo Chavez and the American Slug: Pat Robertson’s Call for Assassination
* The Lie of a Strong Economy (Beneath the Towers of Avarice)
* Fooled Again: Major Party Turnabout
* The New War Candidate: Major Paul Hackett for Congress
* Free Judy! The Fine Art of Calling a Bluff
* Executive Blackmail: The Betrayal of Democracy in Haiti
* Blame the Democrats & Move On: The Federalist Court
* Against the Wind: The Inevitable End of the Iraqi Occupation
* London and Madrid: Reflections on the War on Terror
* Judith Miller: The Anti-Hero
* Schizo Scherzo: The Last Waltz
* The Last Throes: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
* Impeach Bush -- US Out Now!
* Recall the Governator
* The Gates of Hell: Occupied Iraq
* May Day: The Rise & Fall of the Middle Class
* The Papal Aristocracy: Confessions of a Nonbeliever
* No Citizen Left Behind
* A Marine Comes Home: The Untold Story of War
* The Compassionate Leader -- In a Time of Crisis
* In Defense of Barry Bonds
* Defending Dan? Rather Not
* David Went to Canada...& Johnny Got His Gun