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Unhappily ever aftermath (Continued)



Mock the vote

A new psychological affliction was identified: AlGoreaphobia — the fear of election stories emanating from Florida.

Up until election night, the American people couldn’t be blamed.... Up until election night.

North Carolina senator-elect Liddy Dole’s mortician did a great job on her makeup for her victory speech.

The policy of impugning the patriotism of senators who left three limbs behind in Vietnam resonated with the voters in Georgia — but that was probably because Max Cleland fought for the Union Army.

The election provided closure for Walter Mondale. Now he has lost in all 50 states.

George W. Bush called Katherine Harris and informed her she’d won her bid to represent Florida in the US House of Representatives. It was Harris whom Bush called on election night 2000 to tell her he’d won the presidency.

A lot of people say the Democrats didn’t have a message this fall, but they did, and here it is: we support the same things as the Republicans, it just takes us longer. We are bought by the same concerns as Republicans, just for less money. We are as silent about issues that matter to working families as Republicans, it’s just that our silence represents betrayal of our purported core values whereas Republicans are merely being consistent.

When Iraq agreed to jump through all the hoops the US demanded of it, a delicate stage of the affair was reached. Iraqi compliance was something Bush never counted on, and so now a larger fear loomed — what if the inspectors find nothing? In their first several days in the country, the UN inspection team found nothing more dangerous than a distillery that bottled 75-cent bottles of gin.

Osama bin Laden is like Jimi Hendrix. Nobody has seen the guy in ages, but his new recordings just keep coming out, including a new release in time for the holidays

The Homeland Security Bill included a rider guaranteeing corporations with tax-dodge offshore headquarters the right to participate in the upcoming war-profiteering frenzy. The bill should have been called the Expatriate Act of 2002. These corporations represent Bush’s largest bloc of unwavering international support.

In the battle between new House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and new House majority boss Tom DeLay, I’ll take the latte liberal over the frothing fascist every time.

In December, after edging out Pol Pot and Augusto Pinochet to head up the 9/11 inquiry commission, Henry Kissinger resigned for fear of being forced to explain why he had all those receipts from Saddam Hussein.

Trent Lout shocked no one by reminding the world that he was proud that Mississippi voted for Strom Thurmond for president in 1948. What was shocking was that Mississippi voted for Lout in 2000. Now the GOP must decide if Lout is moral enough to lead the push for another tax cut for the superrich through the Senate.

In 2002, globalization continued its journey from slick term to harsh reality. The great Detroit labor activist John Joslin said, "You just can’t find a good Mexican TV anymore." This is because 600 maquiladoras (export-only production facilities) in Mexico are now closed because corporations no longer want to pay wages that can run to $1.20 per hour, preferring to set up shop in Haiti or China or the Dominican Republic, where such inflation is unheard-of.

When we buy obviously underpriced goods, we aren’t helping out the working poor — we are creating them. If we don’t identify and deal with this crisis soon, the long-term ramifications are horrifying. We’re already hearing calls to end the exorbitant minimum wage. The impoverished, undernourished, uneducated, and infirm bottom of the triangle will soon be unable to sustain the weight of the engorged super-wealthy. And we will have a structural collapse of the domestic and international economy. Free trade does not increase competition between corporations — it increases competition between workers. And it’s wrong.

To close out the political year, Al Gore announced he would not seek re-election in 2004 and made a very gracious bow from the presidential arena. If only his old running mate Joe Lieberman would also do the right thing and challenge Bush for the Republican nomination, we might have a chance at having a semi-progressive Dem on the ballot in 2004.

But to think simply in terms of electoral remedies would be a fatal mistake. We have more important things to worry about than November of 2004. We must embrace every valid cause and struggle we can identify between now and then.

We must make sure that the less fortunate are sheltered, fed, and educated. We must find medical care for the more than 40 million of us without health insurance. We must stand and fight at the confluence of Joseph McCarthy and Jim Crow — the drug war. We must raise our voices in protest loudly enough so that we create an acoustic foreign policy, bringing evidence to the rest of the world’s citizens that all Americans do not have callous disdain for others’ lives. We must fight to hold on to what’s left of the hard-fought gains by women and racial, religious, and sexual minorities, because Bush is looking to grease the skids of a major backslide in domestic human rights.

If we succeed in remaining active, we might even embolden a few leaders.

Because the only way to make sure we have halfway-decent government is to lead our elected officials to what needs to be done. We can’t afford to sit around for the next two years pipe dreaming about how John Kerry or John Edwards or Howard Dean is going to save us. If we remain mum while this situation grows more desperate, there is no politician anywhere who will say what we’ll so desperately need to hear when the time comes to hit the campaign trail in ’04. Get with it, America. There’s a country and world to save. It’s time we headed toward living happily ever after.

Commentator and monologist Barry Crimmins is currently working on his first book for Seven Stories Press. You can read his timely take on things at

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Issue Date: December 26, 2002 - January 2, 2003
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