Scare Tactics 

Why do Bush and Cheney hate us so much?

You had to be looking closely or you wouldn't have noticed another Iraq lie exposed. Last week, the top United Nations weapons inspector (whose name our local Gannet news outlet neglected to include in the itsy-bitsy item they printed on this story) announced there is no evidence Saddam ever had, nor was he ever trying to build, those sophisticated drones the Bushies told us were poised to fly pilotless over American cities, spewing deadly weapons of mass destruction. Which as you recall, also didn't exist.

OK then. I believe I've figured out the Bush Administration's master blueprint for keeping us so much safer than a Kerry Administration would. First, they dream up horrible scenarios (or steal them from Tom Clancy novels, I can't be sure). Then, they tell the public about their fabrications as though it were all gospel truth, and when none of it comes to pass, they take credit for it not happening.

I pulled much the same trick on my daughter when she was young and gullible enough to believe just about anything I said. "Honey, I just saw one of those giant ten-legged monkey-headed spiders scurrying into the back of your closet." And after she had been reduced to a quivering fit, I'd add, "But don't you fret none, Sweetheart. As long as you keep your Barbies picked up off the floor and don't talk back, Daddy won't let it get you."

Also, two weeks ago, while you were being charmed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's boyhood tales of Vienna (which turned out to have less foundation in reality than his last eight movies) and Zell Miller venting his vile old segregationist spleen for all the chubby white people in Madison Square Garden to relish, here's another bit of print that might have slipped unnoticed past your news nose: The U.S. Census Bureau released figures that show from 2002 and 2003 a million and a half more Americans joined the 44 million with no health insurance coverage. These numbers undoubtedly are a reflection of an even more disturbing Census Bureau statistic: the portion of Americans living below the poverty line has risen from 11.3 percent in 2000--the year George Bush was not elected president but assumed the position anyway--to 12.5 today. By my reckoning, that's a 10.6 percent growth in poverty, which beats the pants off the growth of anything else in Bush's America. Unless you count gas prices and dead soldiers.

I didn't watch the Republicans in New York. Not a minute of it. Life's too short.

That's not to say I didn't get the gist of the message they spent those four days hammering through the nation's skull: You're safe with us, and you won't be with Kerry. Even into last week, America's scary uncle, Dick Cheney, was saying that if we dare vote Democrat in November, we will be "hit" again. This, together with the Administration's trick pony of announcing an elevated terrorist alert level every time John Kerry gets in the news for two consecutive days, shows that the Bush machine is counting on--nay, is actively promoting--a massive post-9/11 panic attack as their primary campaign tactic.

There's no point in trying to explain how absurd it is for the Republicans to suggest that all of America's military might and security apparatus would turn to Swiss cheese Jell-O if Kerry were elected instead of Bush. If you don't know that already, you're way too stupid to fathom the reality of how our country works, which means you will undoubtedly vote for Bush anyway.

But since the Karl Rove whopper factory has so successfully hinged this election on the fear factor in undecided voters, someone should point out there are a million other things than al-Qaeda to be afraid of, a million more ways to die tragically than from a fanatic's hand, and almost all of them are closer to your personal experience than Osama bin Laden will ever get. Below, I list just a few of the horrible scenarios that almost certainly will come to pass if Bush is allowed to continue his reign of terror:

• Each year that Bush and Cheney are in control, scads of men and women will experience shortness of breath and chest pains. Or maybe they'll find some blood in their urine. Or it could be unexpected dizziness or uncontrollable diarrhea. But since 15.6 percent of them have no medical coverage, many will feel their only option is to chug some Pepto and hope it goes away. Then, by the thousands, they will die. Only, they'll do it one at a time, so's we won't notice.

• Each year that Bush and Cheney are in control, entire populations of elderly people will be forced to choose between the prescription drugs that keeps them ticking, and holding onto the home they worked their entire lives to own. They will try Canadian drugs for some relief, but the administration will undoubtedly find a way to crimp that lifeline as a favor to the pharmaceuticals mob, and tens of thousands of old folks will be shuffled into the poverty deck, where they will languish and eventually die, one at a time.

• Each year that Bush and Cheney are in control, hundreds of thousands of children will go under-nourished, under-diagnosed, under-educated, under-stimulated, under-housed and under-parented. That's what poverty does to children, you know. It saps the joy from life, it stunts every sort of growth humans are capable of, it turns consciousness into constant struggle, and then, with no mercy, it kills its victims. One at a time.

• Each year that Bush and Cheney are in control, thousands upon thousands more will be savaged by the poisons that will be allowed into the water, the air, the food we eat and the soil we call America. And these verifiable WMDs will still be there when your grandchildren's babies are paying off George Bush's bills. Who can say when the casualty count will stop climbing?

All told, the people who will die if Bush and Cheney are allowed to stay in control will make the bin Laden death toll look paltry. And I'm not even counting the hundreds of American soldiers who will be picked off, one at a time, over there fighting an endless war that lies got us into.

So are you scared? Huh? You scared? Well you oughta be. Go ahead and pee down your leg over what a raggy bunch of Third World religious nuts might do to you from half the world away, if that's the worst you can imagine. As for me, though, I'm more terrified at what the most powerful men on Earth have in store for us, as evidenced by the havoc they've already achieved.

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