Please Make These Wishes Come True
By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
November 29, 2005
Let us stipulate that maybe much in the list below is not going to happen.
But one sits on Santa's lap not for the certainty that the presents
requested will be under the tree on Christmas Day, but because we can
voice our hopes out loud to a stand-in for our preferred deity that
perhaps, just perhaps, a few of our wishes will be granted.
With that understood, here is what I -- representing, I think, a goodly
number of Americans roughly from the center-left to the center-right --
want for Christmas.
Oh please, Santa, make at least some of these come true.
1. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald obtains indictments of
Cheney, Rove, Rice, Feith, Hadley and others in the outing of a CIA agent
(a crime Bush#1 called "traitorous"), and for lying to Congress in order
to get authorization for a war that has resulted in the deaths of tens of
thousands of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.
2. Indictments are unsealed for Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales,
Dick Cheney, Gen. Jeffrey Miller and others for concocting legal theories
officially-sanctioning torture of detainees in U.S care. The avalanche of
these, and the Plamegate/Iraq War, indictments leads to a clamor for
impeachment as more and more traditional GOP leaders abandon the White
3. Congress, led by GOP members desperate to get re-elected, passes
a resolution calling for phased U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, beginning ASAP.
Bush, desperate to maintain Republican control of the House and thus stave
off impeachment talk, makes moves in that direction; he says he'll
withdraw thousands now and maybe as many as 50,000 next Summer, "unless
the security situation requires our presence." Congress doesn't buy it --
they suspect Bush will re-insert U.S. troops in-country after the 2006
election, and/or will substitute bombing from the air as their method of
warfare. They vote to cut funding for the Iraq war.
4. As a result of the GOP defections, indictments of top officials,
and the growing corruption scandals, the GOP loses its majority in both
the House and Senate in 2006.
5. GOP leaders in the House, Senate and business community visit
the White House to tell Bush and Cheney that they have lost the confidence
of the public, and are endangering the future of continuing conservative
rule; Bush and Cheney are urged to resign.
6. Because Bush and Cheney do not resign, impeachment hearings
begin in the House, a bill of impeachment is rendered, and Senate trial
date is set. The Senate votes to convict Bush & Cheney. The new Speaker of
the House, Nancy Pelosi, becomes President. She is sworn in by the Chief
Justice -- and, notably, also by new Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
7. The Bush tax cuts, which mostly benefit the already-wealthy, are
repealed by Congress. Numerous GOP members, who formerly supported the tax
breaks, use as their rationale that the hundreds of billions of dollars
should go first to fund important social programs and infrastructure
upkeep. The budgets for those programs are significantly increased.
8. The mass-media, having supported the Bush Administration through
it all, sink even further in public esteem. To save their hides, and their
bottom-line profitability, they take the desperate step of reporting the
truth. Their circulation and viewership begins to rise; the neo-con
crazies -- Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, O'Reilly, Hannity, et al. -- are
dropped by a good share of the radio and cable networks, due to a massive
falloff in ratings.
9. The insurance industry, seeing the global-warming handwriting on
the wall and going broke paying out claims for floods and hurricanes and
pollution-caused deaths, leans on Congress to enact strict
greenhouse-emission limits on manufacturing; automakers double their
fuel-efficiency standards, and the government once again pays more
attention to science and less to faith-based and profit-based lobbyists.
10. Noting the many questions raised about the integrity of the
election process under a computer-voting system, all states return to
paper ballots, hand-counted, with party observers verifying the honesty of
the vote-tally. In addition, investigations are held to determine the
validity of the 2000, 2002, and 2004 federal elections and the 2005
balloting in Ohio. A number of Diebold technicians testify under oath that
they manipulated ballot numbers on orders of their superiors; officials of
the GOP-supporting computer-voting companies are indicted.
11. Spurred on by the success they had in championing a phased
withdrawal from Iraq, the Democrats in Congress decide to re-acquaint
themselves with their spines on other issues as well. A true, two-party
system emerges, with civil debate on the issues. Academics likewise feel
more free to state their political views publicly, and are especially
effective in the non-renewal of many of the Patriot Act's worst
12. The U.S. government, anxious to reduce the major reasons for
extreme Islamic terrorism in the world, works tirelessly to broker a just
peace between Israel and Palestine. The two states work out ways to live
side by side -- Israel is guaranteed security within its borders by the
Palestinians, now that it has withdrawn its settlers from the West Bank,
and Palestine has a viable, contiguous state; both sides agree to pacts on
water rights, job-creation, and joint administration of Jerusalem.
Terrorism begins to decrease overnight; the U.S. is more secure at home.
MOVING ON FROM THE WISHES
So, there they are: The 12 wishes that could turn our country around,
permitting us to start undoing the enormous domestic and international
damage effected during the past five years, and implementing a more
helpful, positive program.
But wishes don't make it so. So how to help a burdened Santa make them
Yes, the imploding Bush Administration -- beset by scandals, corruption,
incompetence, arrogance, bullyboys, whistleblowers, ignorance -- is doing
its part to bring itself down. But the rest of us have roles to play as
In the main, those roles involve organizing, talking truth to power, and
keeping the momentum-ball rolling.
HELPING THE GRASSROOTS GROW
Money is a big part of political organizing, sending our donations and
energies to where they can do the most good. Find the party or grassroots
group or lobbying organization with which you feel most politically
comfortable, and help provide them the funds -- and/or donate some of your
time to them in battling the forces of regression, repression and
Two of our friends, just for a simple example, host monthly dinner parties
for activist-minded colleagues and neighbors; each such evening includes
composing hand-written letters to local or national officials on a
particular issue. At times, especially on local issues, it's clear their
letters have had a demonstrable impact on local pols' decision-making.
Note: When a legislator receives a handwritten or typed letter from an
actual constituent -- not a form-letter or email or petition that
originated in a lobbyist's office -- it carries immense weight; I was told
once by a Congressional staffer that each such genuine constituent letter,
whether handwritten or typed, represents 10,000 voters who think likewise.
The pols pay attention to such letters.
BRINGING LIGHT INTO THE DARK PLACES
Talking truth to power can mean something as simple as writing letters to
the editor, or calling local radio talk-shows, or participating in
"sit-in" demonstrations at a legislator's office -- or traveling to
Crawford, Texas, to let Bush know there is nowhere he can hide from
citizen wrath. On another level of speaking-truth-to-power, there's Rep.
John Murtha stepping up and telling Bush and his fellow members of
Congress that enough is enough, the Iraq War is a thoroughgoing disaster
and we need to get out ASAP.
Many in the Democratic party leadership secretly harbored such sentiments,
but were too timid to stray far from the Bush line lest they be tarred as
"unpatriotic" or "soft-on-terrorism" by the Roveian legions. Some leading
Democrats, with presidential ambitions, are still mired in that
fear-swamp, and you know who I mean (I won't print her name, but her
initials are Hillary Clinton). We have yet to locate a charismatic,
ELECTABLE national progressive leader -- one who can united a divided
party -- willing to step out and tell it like it really is.
Those who choose to imitate HardRight conservatives should pay a penalty:
Put a scare in the DINOs (Democrats in Name Only) by supporting
alternative progressive candidates in the primaries.
Murtha could say what he said because millions of us out here in ordinary
America have spent years preparing the anti-war soil to such an extent
that now close to two-thirds of our fellow citizens believe invading and
occupying Iraq was a huge ideological and military mistake, based on lies
and deceptions ladled out by the Bush Administration. As a result of this
grassroots labor, the operative question no longer is whether we should
"stay the course" in Iraq, getting tens of thousands more U.S. troops and
Iraqi civilians slaughtered and maimed in the process, but how best to
extricate ourselves as quickly as possible. That huge shift in American
sentiment can be ascribed, at least partially, to our willingness to talk
truth to power.
A major contributor to that shift in support for Bush's war are those
whose official job-description traditionally has been the talking of truth
to power. I'm referring to opinion-molders and institutional and internet
journalists and bloggers. For the names of many of those courageous
writers, see "Honoring Our Journalistic Heroes."
Progressive websites on the
internet, ours included, receive precious little funds from anybody but
their readers, so don't forget to donate regularly to those who
consistently shine the light of fact into the dark caves of illusion and
KEEPING THE MOMENTUM BALL ROLLING
In recent weeks and months, the wheels have started to come off the
HardRight's juggernaut bus. The Bush Administration is self-destructing
from within and beset by more and more forces from without. We are just
about at the point of critical mass.
But the BushCheneyRove forces are still in the White House -- unless we
can pry their fingers from the levers of power -- and thus are still able
to do enormous, deadly damage both to what remains of Constitutional
rights and protections domestically, and to the shreds of American
respectability abroad as a result of imperial wars and cruel torture
carried out in our names.
To get to critical mass, an unrelenting and increasing pressure must be
built up, to the point where the momentum for change is so strong that the
Bush forces will be unable to reverse it.
That's our job right now. So let's get to it.
Copyright 2005, by Bernard Weiner