by Joe Shea
American Reporter Editor-in-Chief
October 1, 2001
HOW THE FUTURE IS BETRAYED
This is not an editorial about the economy, but the economy is a good place to begin. This is an editorial about where things must end.
Just nine months ago, America's future was financially secure. The country for the first time in memory had a healthy, even mountainous surplus, and many of the states did, too. The Democrats and President Bill Clinton warned repeatedly that the money would best be used to pay off our national debt and to shore up our social safety nets, like Social Security and state and federal unemployment benefits.
With the advent of the Bush Administration, war -- the ultimate consumer of oil and energy -- became inevitable.
The first order of business was the murder of the Internet. "Alarmed" by the rising tide of prosperity that had spread the wealth far and wide across the country to tens of millions of first-time small investors, Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Bank set out to undermine it.
They called it "bursting the bubble," as though we were living on dreams and air, not investing our lives and energies and hope in the power of a new medium to conquer old barriers in communication and to knit a stronger world where lies could not mislead isolated peoples, where the use of energy resources was vastly diminished by the power of instantaneous and universal communication.
By raising interest rates as quickly as possible, the Bush Administration precipitated a stock market slide and the crash of thousands of small investor-owned companies that were hard at work putting together the pieces of a better world.
The institutional investors who had sold short our future many months before, taking the biggest short position in history against the optimism of small investors, cleaned them completely out. Then, for the benefit of its bankers, it cut the rates again. Soon, money was safely back in the hands of those who have always had it.
Then the power companies long allied with the Republicans made their run on our money, and in just a few months -- aided by deliberate inaction at the federal level -- they got the entire surplus (and then some) of half-a-dozen large states. California alone was cleaned out to the tune of $10 billion by Texas-based energy giants.
Meanwhile, ignoring the global warming that fossil fuels cause, the Administration ended its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, tacitly endorsing global polluters. Next was the payoff to the military-industrial complex, the revival of the illogical and immensely expensive Strategic Defense Initiative plan for high-powered lasers that would blow ICBMs out of the sky. Even after the SDI tests failed, the Bush Administration pushed ahead with it -- at the expense of the unconventional projects that are vital to the fight against terrorism.
For America's financial future, the coup de grace was then the $600 billion tax cut that the Bush Administration had promised its wealthier contributors, who walked off with nearly all of it. As the armsmakers scraped the rest of our prosperity from the common bowl, no one heard the starving agencies that fight terrorism crying out for funds.
Then came Sept. 11, and along with the searing images of terrorism and a historic stock market downturn that wiped out $1.3 trillion in value, along with the $140 billion in insurance and other costs of the attacks. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and ahead of us there looms the prospect of more harm to our economy than at any time since the Great Depression.
Today, more than a dozen states are strained to the budget-breaking point of no return: Their welfare and unemployment reserves are gonejust when people need them most. Thus, in hopes of a strictly political reward, the Bush Administration and the Republican Party betrayed America and imprudently left it vulnerable when its needs most to be financially sound.
Having gone through America's cash, the conservatives who dominate the Bush Administration are now ready to strip us of our civil rights. This may be the last generation of Americans to truly know freedom, and the first to know political control of their lives.
But because earlier presidents felt it was smart to alter the color and personality of American culture in the interest of lower wages for labor, 30 percent of us are not native to America, anyway, but to places where tyranny and political treachery have always been the order of the day. These are the first people to say they love this country, and that its only problem is that we have too much freedom. That is changing as we speak.
May this lesson be forever imprinted on our minds: When God gives us a surplus, He knows we're going to need it. But politicians who would be leaders were unable to overcome the temptation to put it all in the pockets of their parties and their friends, or to preserve it to prepare for the future.
We are not the victims of a conspiracy, but of our own gullibility and greed. The Republicans knew well how to play those flaws against us, just as they knew how to steal a presidential election. Yet even the Republica= n treachery is a small flaw and fundamentally innocent when measured against the breadth of human destiny and the more profound flaw that is our fear of one another.
Americans, let us at last be wise. Now with banners waving we are going off to war at the head of the largest and most diverse military coalition ever assembled to seek out the evildoers of September 11, who live in a cave in Afghanistan. We who have been there before advise you: The banners come home broken and bloodied from war. The toll we exacted on our own soldiers with defoliants in Vietnam and anthrax vaccines in the Persian Gulf will be taken again from a new generation of soldiers in Afghanistan. Those thousands of lives that we go to avenge are only the beginning of the tens of thousands of lives Americans and all humanity will lose before our war is done.
Ont the first day of October, in the year Two Thousand and One, I am offering this prediction: Pakistan's government will fall as soon as we are in Afghanistan, and the new government will launch a nuclear missile at Allied forces in Afghanistan; struck by utter terror, the Indians may respond in kind. In months, one-tenth of the world's population will be lost.
It is only the magnitude of these events that will dwarf the horror of terrorist attacks here in America, of riots for and against the war, or reprisals against the innocent and the different, of the fall of the Saudi monarchy, of the dissolution of Indonesia and of anarchy in Russia, of China's new isolation and of the war on Israel. All of these things are coming, as inevitably as the Sun and the Moon come each day. The only question is to what extent God's mercy will harbor and protect our lives.
There is no way to avoid the future. There can be just one single, solitary answer: To love one another as never before, as though our lives depended upon it. Violence will beget violence; love, mercy and compassion, when founded in the realism of human survival, alone can change the world and the future we await. The fear that makes terrorism powerful must be inverted to become the love that makes it powerless.
It is not a time to give or take, but a time to become better human beings, willing ourselves against the walls of our isolated personalities and moving through them to a loving, completed Self that meets and moves the world.