Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Borrowed from The Coffee House Blog
Hitting Bottom

The White House and the war machine are collapsing, and their only hope would be to hit a bottom, like alcoholics and addicts have to do before they have a prayer of finding a solution. Until then, drunks keep lowering the bottom, justifying everything, lying even to themselves—or at any rate, that's what I did, until 19 years ago next week, when I was basically drinking just to keep all the flies going in one direction. That's where a lot of senators find themselves now.

I think that many in the majority party are finding themselves in the same psychic shape as alcoholics a few months before they finally seek sobriety, except for George Bush, who apparently does not have a clue. With alcoholism, other people can see that the alkie is, to quote one of my friends, in a state of pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization; but it takes what it takes for the alcoholic to realize that. This is why we have Karl Rove saying that when liberals saw the savagery of 9-11, we wanted to give the terrorists aid, comfort, and aromatherapy. So if the disease model of addiction holds true for this administration, there is something SO stinky and bad that has not quite yet had the light shined on it, that is the rock bottom truth of their madness, and that, tragically, even worse stuff than we already know will be revealed.

Rove's behavior this week reminds me of three things, besides my own sorry alcoholic collapse: one is what my very wise friend Gil says-and Gil has been sober since before God-that there are three stages in the disease: fun, fun and trouble, and trouble. Fun, for the White House, was the fall of Baghdad and Mission Accomplished. Fun and Trouble held, up until a month or so ago: you had huge body counts, grave global dismay, etc, but you also had the elections here and in Iraq, with all that courage and the purple fingertips. Now?

Well, I don't see where the fun is anymore: I think we are now leaving the fun and trouble stage.

The words both Rove and his idiot child George Bush spoke this week remind me of a day not long ago when I was tearing around town before a long weekend, assault-driving, making lists with my free hand, when my brakes started going out. It was quite scary. I called my mechanic, and described the problem, and he said he could not fix the car until Monday. I explained that I had a million things to do. There was silence at the other end. Then I asked, rather imperiously, "It's okay to keep driving it, isn't it, if I'm careful?"

There was a long pause. And he said, "Not without BRAKES!"
The Republican Guard is driving the war in Iraq without brakes. There is nothing they will not do or say to get those American bases built so soldiers can protect our sources of oil. But nothing is going to stop them until the damage to our forces in Iraq is so catastrophic that it forces the members of Congress to rethink their own re-elections. Some sort of symbolic threshold has to be reached in terms of dead Americans, before politicians really have to try to save their own careers.

We're not there yet. I thought briefly that all the women dying in the suicide attack today might shake Bush up, because Americans love big numbers, and that seems to me to be a lot of dead young American women. But I am in the mountains, at 6,500 feet, and the air is thin.

And then again, I am just one of those angry, rage-filled Democrats Rove was speaking about on Wednesday, who have not gotten over losing those last two pesky presidential elections
If Bush Senior was dead, he'd be turning in his grave. This must be a total nightmare for him and Barbara, watching the good Bush name get slimed. But this won't stop Junior either.
Nothing stops an alcoholic one day short of reaching his bottom. I know people who have run over people drunk, parents who have considered killing their own children, people who've done serious prison time because of their drinking, and none of that stuff could stop them.

Nothing is going to change our course in Iraq until America reaches our bottom, that threshold when, say, 2,000 Americans are dead-or even better, 2,700, the same number of American who died on 9-11. It doesn't matter that 9-11 had nothing to do with Bush's war in Iraq—it is just that when we reach that threshold, the American electorate is finally going to be sick and tired of losing, and of disgracing itself. Republican politicians will seriously have to decide whether to act like states-people, or to keep defending Bush and Karl Rove.

So until that day, I am going to keep the faith by protesting and registering voters and signing impeachment petitions and taking care of poor people, and trying to do the next right thing, like most of you are doing—and like that man who stood outside the White House during the Vietnam War, with a lit candle, not because he thought it would change the country, but because he didn't want the country to change him.


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