DATE: 3/08/2004 12:25:00 PM
Just when you think it can't get any worse in Washington, it goes right ahead and does.
As usual, President Bush continues to think that the use of emotional blackmail surrounding the attacks on Sept. 11 will succeed in getting him re-elected. As usual, this can only be the result of one or two things: awe-inspiring insensitivity and / or jaw-dropping stupidity.
The bigger problem, though, is that, as usual, the majority of drooling, Hungry-Man-TV-dinner-eating, Jerry-Springer-watching, "git-them-towelheads" Americans will probably fall for this hook, line and sinker. At least, if the Hillman Morning Show on WAAF this morning was any indication.
I've been listening to this radio show for about six months now. I know that it can be mysogynistic and homophobic. I know that Hill and his buddies are staunch supporters of the Bush Administration. But I was still taken totally aback at the numbskull conversations I heard this morning.
In the interest of starting one of the woefully illogical political "debates" the show prides itself on--and really, they should just stick to boobs and beer--Greg "The Hillman" Hill brought up the recent furor over President Bush's continued callous use of the Sept. 11 to futher his political agenda, most recently in several campaign commercials that feature images of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Of course, being a blind Bush supporter, Hill was incredulous that anyone--including families of those who died on 9/11--would be upset about such a crass move on the President's part. Even after he fielded several calls from survivors of 9/11 casualties, his only concession was that his mind was "a tad bit changed" after hearing from a widow and a firefighter who talked about the nightmares and flashbacks he continues to suffer to this day after aiding in the recovery effort at Ground Zero.
The fact that listening to these people only changed his mind "a little bit" (and, of course, you can forget about your average person who simply had a differing opinion this morning) is just another example of the kind of closed mind that it is.
"Don't you think people need to be reminded?" Hill asked one caller. "Don't you think Bush is just trying to showcase what a terrific job he did uniting this country after 9/11?"
I don't think I've ever heard a more idiotic thing said aloud, at least not since Dubya's own "food on your family" gaffe. Maybe in the traumatized weeks following the greatest man-made disaster in our country's history, Bush managed to stay President, and thus terrified Americans looked to him as a figure of comforting authority. But beyond oh, say, about November of 2001, I'd say Bush has divided this country more than it has ever been divided, excepting the Civil War.
Half of the country, like Hill, still seems to look to Bush as the father figure he played post-9/11. And, like Hill, they are ready to punch you if you suggest that their daddy isn't all he's cracked up to be.
Others, meanwhile, feel insulted and indignant at having their fears so manipulated, having their intelligence so insulted, and having to cope with the various injustices wrought by an $87 billion, unecessary war when the domestic jobless rate is at its highest since the Depression.
In fact, Hill and his cronies have repeatedly screamed across the airwaves at traitorous liberals who seek to divide the country with their protesting and dissent. But now they appear to have forgotten said liberal scourge when they speak so lovingly and nostalgically about Bush's leadership two years ago. Someone needs to get their argument straight, lest it appear they're saying whatever it takes, contradictions be damned, to convince themselves as well as others of Bush's fitness for office.
But if that is the case, my question is, why bother? After all, what is so dangerous about dissatisfaction? Why does it threaten the very fabric of someone's being, as it seems to threaten Hill and his ilk, if someone disagrees with them, disagrees with their beloved President? Why do we allow fear to continue to steer us politically?
In the end, that's what's so bothersome to me about the 9/11 ads--not just that they're so shamelessly manipulative that they border on indecent, but that given the climate of panic and repression the Bush administration has so carefully cultivated since the attacks, and given the presence, in our media, of people like the Hillman, they'll probably work.