Friday, November 16, 2007

Mark Morford's Countdown to Paradise

Bush Death Watch: Countdown!
It's official: Less than one year until history slaps Dubya to the curb. Can you feel the tingle?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's just that kind of feeling, that sense of hesitant, embryonic optimism, the sense that says, oh my God, we as a culture and a smash-mouthed, war-hammered society really are fast approaching something possibly, potentially, heart-achingly new and different and — because it cannot get any worse — just a little bit better.

Here is my suggestion: Mark your calendars, set your watch, program a celebratory ringtone well in advance, because the countdown has officially begun.

It is now less than one calendar year until the next presidential election. It is less than one year until the country finally takes a deep breath and flexes its atrophied muscles and opens its bloody, Cheney-punched mouth and lets it be known to the world, to the universe, to its own numb and dejected soul just exactly how unwell it has felt, how much pain has raked its heart, lo, these past seven (eight, by then) years, by ushering in an entirely new political era, as we all exhale a massive sigh of long overdue relief that — praise Jesus, Allah, Buddha and the devil all at once — the long national nightmare of George W. Bush is finally over.

It is now safe to imagine. It is now becoming increasingly easy to actually dare to think that, in less than one year's time, Dubya will begin packing his bags, jamming into his Spongebob duffel his map of the world coloring book, English-to-English translation dictionaries, mangled pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution, Bibleman action figure set and a "Mission Accomplished!" sweatshirt, and heading off to face his destiny as one of the bleakest, most morally repellent chapters in all of American history.

You think maybe it's too soon? Too early to let the tingle of positivism and hope take hold? Far from it. After all, the signs of decay and utter GOP desperation keep pouring in. For example, it has now been officially recorded in history what everyone already knows: Bush is nearly exactly as unpopular as Richard Nixon was at his lowest point, and no president in history has had as long a streak at the bottom of the job-approval rankings as Dubya. Heckuva job, Bushie!

What's more, the glorious collapse of the evangelical Christian right marches on apace, as Pat Robertson, now a dejected, lonely widower after the death of secret boy-toy husband Jerry Falwell, has officially endorsed pro-choice, pro-gay, thrice-married, massively unbalanced moral pit bull Rudy Giuliani for president, which is a bit like a militant vegan endorsing Hot Dog on a Stick for the title of Lord of the Food Court. Desperate times indeed.

But wait, it gets better. While it's easy to focus on Shrub and Cheney and to gleefully, achingly imagine their dreary march out of office on that happy day, it is also vital and heartwarming to note that this time next year will also mark the demise of an entire army of toxic leaders, federal department heads, gay-bashing appointees and misogynist directors of every stripe and scandal and spittle, a simply huge array of right-wing Bushies who are still entrenched in all manner of powerful federal bureaus and organizations and policy-making bodies.

It's true. Despite how a huge hunk of hideous GOP policymakers lost their seats during the last congressional election, plenty more appointees are still around to poison the well. From Kevin Martin, the lackey who oversees the FCC, to noxious Idahoan and rabid anti-environmentalist Dick Kempthorne of the Department of the Interior, to anti-choice Republican Mormon knucklehead charity scammer and Department of Health and Human Services overseer Mike Leavitt, and on and on — in a year, all on their way out.

Oh, and one more deserves special attention. Because one year from now will also be the glorious political end of one Dr. David W. Hager, the rabid evangelical Christian gynecologist (I know, so wrong) who currently advises the FDA on women's health issues and who was largely responsible for delaying the approval of Plan B, opposed RU-486, is in fact against all contraception, stem-cell research, premarital sex, and (quite naturally) women's choice, and whose own ex-wife claims he anally raped her, over and over again, in her sleep.

Intelligent women nationwide still shudder that this man is allowed anywhere near a living vagina, much less permitted to touch and probe and offer advice. But there is one noteworthy aspect to Hager; he is the perfect incarnation of the Christian right's view of women as subordinate, lesser-intelligent sluts who cannot control their own bodies and therefore need men, God, and the government to do it for them. Hager is a deep shame to the male gender, and his return to the private practice of ruining the sex lives of unfortunate women in Kentucky cannot come soon enough.

But why write this column now, so far in advance of Bush's limp-tailed departure? Simple enough: Because it will take a full year to get ready.

It will take every month and every week and every single day from the moment you read this until November 2008 to compile, to gather, to list all the names and all the horrors and all the deeply entrenched policies that are still clawing at the face of America as a result of Bush's reign, to fully get your mind around just how deep is the disease and how widely it has spread, so we may begin to excise the policies one by one like the malignant tumors they so very much are.

What, too strong? Not even close. Go read up on Hager, and get back to me.

Ah, but perhaps you are one of the jaded ones, the non-believers, that certain type of political bitterball who says, oh please, what does it matter, they're all criminals and cretins and powermongers anyway, no matter which party or president they work for? Get rid of BushCo and a new slew of cronies and cretins take their place, and who can tell the difference?

To which I say, well, yes. But also, no. Sure, the system is corrupt and lopsided and full of backstabbing and backslapping and backroom deal-making. So what? Has been since the first cavemen voted to see who gets to run the mammoth hunt.

Truth is, it's just far too easy to let the ennui wash over and not give a damn, to lump all politics into a phlegmball of nasty negativity and be done with it, thus entirely disregarding the efficacious issues, the things that truly effect change and affect lives and improve or degrade the health of the planet. Outrage fatigue is simply unacceptable. Intellectual apathy is the refuge of the lazy and the spiritually malnourished. Do not let it happen to you.

Now is the time. The coming year will slide by rather quickly and the feeling of urgent change and upheaval will only build and it doesn't really matter if it's Hillary or Obama or Edwards leading the shift, because no matter who gets the nod, they will require — from me, from you, from anyone who professes to care — a roiling tidal wave of progressive momentum behind them to help them cleanse and haul away the overwhelming mountain of moral fecal matter Bush has left behind.

Mark your calendar. Set your ringtone. Take a deep breath, feel the wave build, and then dive the hell in. Right now, it's the only option that really matters.


Thoughts about this column? E-mail Mark.

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