Earth To Bush Loyalists: Unwavering Faith Won’t Save Us (Or You)

On a September evening in 1956, Marian Keech, a middle-aged woman living in the American Midwest, claimed she received a message from a planet called Clarion, instructing her the world would be destroyed by a catastrophic flood on December 21st. Keech said the message also informed her that several flying saucers from Clarion would come and rescue her and those close to her before the apocalyptic deluge.

Mrs. Keech’s revelation attracted and inspired a small group of ardent followers. They quit their jobs, gave away their money and abandoned their houses. They withdrew from friends and family and, in some cases, left their spouses. Then they waited for December 21st.

On the morning of December 20th, Mrs. Keech said that she had received another communication from Clarion. She announced that she and her followers would be picked up at midnight, and that they should make sure there was no metal in their clothing or attached to their person when the transport arrived. Her followers complied, removing all metallic clasps, zippers and buttons from their clothing.

When midnight came and went, the group became anxious. Through the early morning, they began to succumb to lapses of doubt and despair. By 4:00 AM, they sat in stunned silence.

Then, just when the gravity of their mistake had begun to sink in, Mrs. Keech received another message. The inhabitants of the planet Clarion informed her that rescue saucers would no longer be coming because the planetary cataclysm had been diverted by the unwavering faith of her small group of believers. Mrs. Keech and her followers rejoiced and began spreading the good news.

To the outside observer, Mrs. Keech’s followers appear to have been incredibly naïve and gullible. But consider the alternative. If Mrs. Keech was a fraud, then they had quit their jobs, gave away their money, abandoned their houses and cut family ties for nothing and, perhaps, worse than nothing, a lie. Their lives were in ruin and they had nothing to show for it. But if they had saved the world, they were part of a miracle and had earned the ultimate mark of distinction. Believing this, they could reconcile the loss of familial relations and worldly possessions. They were simply sacrifices made for the sake of saving the rest of us.

Mrs. Keech’s followers remind me of contemporary Bush loyalists. During the dinner circuit of his 2004 presidential campaign, Bush once said his base was comprised of the “haves” and the “have-mores.” Today his base is made up of the “ignores” and the “ignore-mores” — folks that have invested too much of their energy, enthusiasm and integrity in supporting Bush and now can’t (or won’t) admit that they were wrong, that they were lied to, that they promoted lies, defended lies — that they have politically embodied a lie for the last seven years. The evidence is all around them, but they refuse to face it.

Support for the Bush administration began tailing off after the Abu Graib scandal and the Valerie Plame leak, but after investigations into pre-war intelligence determined that there was no pre-war connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda and that there were also no WMDs in Iraq, Bush’s approval ratings nose-dived and never recovered. Subsequently, staunch “Bushies” no longer enjoyed the pseudo cover of righteousness and patriotism or the audacity afforded to them by an obsequious, muzzled press corps. They found themselves in an awkward-leaning minority, and the rapid public opinion shift resulted in substantial 2006 Congressional mid-term election losses for their party. Suddenly, in a country where “W” decals once adorned the back windshields and bumpers of every other car and truck on the road, it was hard to find any. And, much to their chagrin, a “flip-flop” was just a sandal again.

Now, as the war (or, better said, our occupation) in Iraq drags on and on, the painful truth is that the entire fiasco was based on lies. Big lies. And the big lies were compounded by dozens of ludicrous, outrageous smaller ones, rhetorical calculations, facts spun, truths distorted: Mission accomplished! The insurgency in Iraq is in it’s last throes. … They hate us for our freedom. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The writing is on the wall, but, amazingly, Bush still retains the support of millions of diehard, devout followers. And they’re still repeating the party line from planet Clarion.

If Saddam didn’t have WMDs, well. . . WE KNOW he was trying to get them.
If Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq under Saddam, uhhh … well, they’re there now and they must be stopped. And they probably really were there all along.
It’s just the liberal media twisting things around.
Freedom isn’t free.
The rest of you just don’t have the guts to finish the job.
We should just nuke them.

Like Mrs. Keech’s group, loyal “Bushies” seem to be capable of believing anything to keep from admitting they were wrong. Confessing to the rabidity of their unquestioning support for Bush would cast them in an evil light. They can’t face the facts, because doing so would require an admission of guilt, complicity and the cold blood they carry on their hands. They’re like a desperate, hysterical cult that would rather drink red (as in Republican) Kool-Aid than own up to the untenable sins of blind faith, irrational allegiance and the strictly observed, almost regimental ignorance that brought us to this unconscionable quagmire.

But, unlike Mrs. Keech’s followers, Bush loyalists have no chance for a “happy” ending. The war in Iraq will not be won. And their faith in our Bush and the Republican Party will not prevent Iraq from becoming an unsightly blotch on our national self-esteem for decades to come.

In the end, the unfortunate soldiers that went there to fight and lost their lives or their limbs or their buddies or their peace of mind will have done so for nothing or, again, worse, lies. American lies. Bush’s lies.

I wish flying saucers from Clarion would come down and make our mistakes in Iraq disappear or go away. But it’s not going to happen. This time, unwavering faith doomed us to disgrace. And the sooner we accept it, the sooner the healing will begin.

Fort Worth native E. R. Bills is the author of Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional & Nefarious and Tell-Tale Texas: Investigations in Infamous History. Read other articles by E.R..

3 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Adam said on June 13th, 2007 at 12:45am #

    Speaking of 800 pound gorillas in the room…

  2. SaRaH said on July 9th, 2007 at 3:13pm #

    I am a very proud Bush supporter.
    Yes, he has made some mistakes… but he has done much more that was right.

  3. Adam said on August 17th, 2007 at 1:54am #

    “right” as in good for the richest few.