By Joseph L. Galloway
This is an autumn of great discontent as not just the United States, but
the entire world trembles on the brink of an economic recession that may
bring the kind of pain that's known only to the oldest among us.
With days to go before Election Day, the country watches as a
presidential candidate and his political party unravel, frantically
dragging every ugly ghost out of the closet in an attempt not only to
fool everyone, but also to scare everyone.
They appeal to the worst remnants of racism that cling like kudzu to a
dying magnolia. Their robot phone dialers intrude on millions of uneasy
citizens with messages of hate and fear and envy and greed.
They try to paper their opponent with guilt by association: He
associated with a man who, decades before they ever met, belonged to a
group of wild-eyed student revolutionaries.
They and their forces of darkness falsely claim that he is a Muslim at
the same time they attack him for belonging to a Christian church whose
black minister aimed angry sermons at white America.
They have presided for the last eight years over a stunning
redistribution of wealth: They've turned Robin Hood upside down, taking
from the poor and the middle class and giving to the very rich.
Yet they tar their opponent for daring to suggest that it's time to turn
the tables and redirect some of that wealth to those who are jobless,
homeless and hopeless, and to the millions of other hard-working
Americans who are likely to join those growing ranks in the months and
years to come.
They call him a socialist for embracing a principle that's rooted deeply
in the teachings of the Christianity that they wear on their sleeves but
cannot find room for in their hearts.
They promise to "correct the mistakes" of their own president, their own
members of Congress, their own appointed overseers and regulators, if
only we give them another chance.
They promise to punish the Wall Street tycoons and the big bankers who
in their greed built this house of cards that's crashing down onto Main
Street. Yes they will. Surely they will smite the robber barons who
brushed a few crumbs from their groaning tables of riches into the laps
of the very people who now say they'll punish these malefactors of great
They say this even as the barons, bulging with bonuses and commissions,
pick over the carcass of a fallen economy gouging out a tasty morsel or
two more for themselves.
Is it any wonder that Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin and the
Republican Party are sinking like the Titanic? Do they take us all for
complete morons? Granted, they may have reason to think that. After all,
we not only elected George W. Bush our president, we also re-elected him
to a second term. In so doing, we sowed the wind, and now we are reaping
Fooled us twice, they think, so maybe the third time is charmed.
That, however, doesn't seem likely as a cold, hard winter looms this
November. Not likely at all.
Here's a prediction for you, for them: McCain and Palin will go down to
defeat by 15 to 20 points, and they'll take a heap of Republicans down
with them to ignominious defeat.
The financial collapse and the painful fallout that's stalking the
nation won't be righted overnight. Putting Barack Obama in the White
House and giving the Democrats a veto-proof majority in Congress won't
mean that happy days are here again.
Hard work, sacrifice and suffering lie ahead. It could take a decade or
two to repair all the damage that Bush, Dick Cheney and all those
Republican congressmen in prison, out of prison and en route to prison
have done to our economy, our military, our standing in the world, our
Constitution and to civil discourse and competent governance.
In the meantime, we Americans would do well to try to remember all those
things that our grandmothers told us about getting by in hard times.
How to get by on a lot less. How to grow a vegetable garden.
How to squeeze a nickel till the buffalo bellows.
How to appreciate the small joys of family and friends.
How to share what you have, no matter how little you have, with those
who have nothing...
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