| Perspective -- Wednesday 23 August 2006
By Missy Comley Beattie
I have a recurring nightmare.
I'm watching a drama. George Bush is the production's star, with Richard Cheney in the supporting role. Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld have major parts. Directing, producing, and in charge of special effects is Karl Rove.
This play has been running for too many years and shows no sign of closing. Sometimes attendance is poor, but then the lights glare, the microphone is turned to high, a siren is heard, and with huge fanfare, an announcement is made by George Bush:
- A terrorist plot has just been thwarted. Catastrophic numbers of people would have died had I not uncovered this plan. We're safer today than we were after 9/11, but we're not completely safe yet. Someday, after we've sown the seeds of democracy all over the world, we can live in peace. Until then, when all people have freedom, making it impossible for anyone to be jealous of ours, we will continue to fight those who oppose our values. God bless America.
Michael Chertoff enters to stand center stage beside the president. His is a non-speaking performance, although he grunts in adulation and affirmation of George Bush.
Immediately, there is standing room only.
The lights dim, and those with seats in the front rows can discern a little movement on the stage. The scene has shifted to homes in the heartland. Families who seem uninterested in Iraq and the US troop deaths, now nearing 60,000, are at attention, watching footage of the latest arrest of "terrorist" planners on the verge of killing as many Americans as possible. The crawl says that there are no signs of Iraqi life in the cities of Iraq, but soldiers are dying as jihadists pour across the border to use improvised explosive devices on our military. There is no longer a coalition. Every country but ours has withdrawn its troops.
A homemaker says, "I hear Charlie Dukes has enlisted. You know, he's the kid who wore a shirt to school that said 'Whites Only' and was suspended."
Her husband replies, "Yeah, recruitment is down. They're taking people they'd never have accepted when they said the war would be a cakewalk. That seems like a long time ago."
"Back when gas was a lot cheaper. The important thing is we've got a president who's tough on terrorists. As long as there are terrorists, I'm going to vote for Bush."
"I don't mind losing my civil liberties, even the right to vote. When he caught those evildoers two days before the election and declared martial law, I didn't care. I'm glad he's in charge. Okay by me if he's president forever."
"I'm still scared though. It seems like just about the time you can begin to relax, there's another arrest or something."
"Turn on Glenn Beck. I like his delivery. He really gets into it ... he's like we are - scared."
"Yeah, it's reassuring to know that even somebody as smart as Beck is scared - that everybody's scared. Not just us, but everybody. These people who used to say the president's agenda was inspiring terrorists didn't know beans."
"Well, thank God for anchors like Beck and that Norah O'Donnell and all the Fox News folks who tell it like it is. I'm just glad we don't have to listen to any of those people who were lying about George Bush."
"Yeah, I can't really even remember what happened to them. Seems it was Wolf Blitzer who said something about Saddam Hussein and no connection with 9/11 and he was off the air for awhile. Isn't he the one who made that public apology?"
"I don't remember. That was too long ago. It's not important anyway. If you speak out against someone like George Bush, then you don't know what you're talking about, and you don't deserve to sit there and report the news night after night and pull in that high salary."
The curtain closes and a few sounds are heard as the scenery is changed.
"Hail to the Chief" is playing. The curtain opens as the lights gradually brighten. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice are seated at a table. Karl Rove is using his laser pointer to show them where the next terrorist plot will be thwarted.
"What about a port?"
"No, a bridge."
"Quiet," says Rove. "We're going to really scare the hell out of them with this one. A small-town elementary school or shopping center. Not a big city."
"Brilliant, Karl," says Cheney. "The 'security moms' will never stray."
And they all nod and smile as the curtain closes again.
I have a recurring nightmare.