April 26, 2006

Blogging Against Bush: The Big Picture

For some months now, I have been toying with the idea of closing this blog down. Let me explain.

When I originally started the blog, it was with three main objectives.

Firstly, I wanted to explore the possibilities of online publishing. As I put it in my first post on Feb 23rd, 2003:
After centuries of disenfranchisement, subjugation and de-humanisation, the Internet promises to re-empower the individual and unite ordinary people around the globe. Personal web sites like Blogger give us a medium to make our voices heard like never before. This Blog is my voice on the Internet.
Blogs were a cool new thing at the time and - as a compulsive writer - I was excited about giving it a try. From that point of view alone, this blog has been a huge success. Sure, it would have been nice to get a hundred million readers (like Atrios), but I am not too worried about that. Self-promotion requires a degree of networking and other forms of marketing that I have never much enjoyed. If I have ended up being a lone voice crying in the wilderness of cyber-space, so be it. It's been a fun, rewarding, frustrating experience for me personally as a writer, alternately soul-destroying one day and hugely inspiring the next. I hope my readers have also benefited from the experience.

Secondly, I wanted to gain a real understanding of the external forces that control my life. It seems most of us spend our lives - wittingly or unwittingly - helping to fuel this rampaging juggernaut we call "Modern Civilisation" yet we never stop to take a really good look at it. Who built it? Who controls it? Where is it heading? Again, from that first post:
Who are we? Where are we going? What kind of world do we want to create?

We live in a world of "guided missiles and misguided men" (Martin Luther King). The industralised behommeth of 21st Century "Civilisation" races at full steam towards a destination most thinking people no longer wish to attain. As we hurtle blindly towards our materialistic, nuclear future, we leave behind untold wonders and riches, many never to be seen again. Who built this cursed machine? Who controls it? Should we be trying to stop it, destroy it or re-direct it? Or should we just be jumping off?!?
This blog has again been hugely successful in helping me understand these forces, at least minimally. Sure, they tend to be complex, interwoven and highly secretive forces, shrouded from public view and protected from accountability. Think about Skull and Bones, the Carlyle Group, the CIA, OPEC, AIPAC, and all the rest. Think globalisation, Big Money, Big Oil and the World Bank. By now I have at least developed a good, basic grasp of what is going on in this world, and I will never be able to look at things in the same way again.

They key issue is globalisation, of course, an irresistable phenomenon in this ever-shrinking world, but certainly one that doesn't NEED to be a bad thing. We must resist the corporation-dominated vision of globalized Fascism which drives the global agenda today, but we also need to imagine, create and spread a positive, alternative vision of global harmony, equality and peace. Indeed, the struggle to resist the negative global vision of today could ultimately become the unifying experience for all the world's citizens to build a better world tomorrow. Such idealism is not mis-placed in today's world.

My third and ultimate goal in setting up this blog, of course, was to get BUSH OUT. I wanted to campaign for the removal of not just George W. Bush, but also all the other pompous fools (including my own Prime Minister, John Howard) who were responsible for the outrageously undemocratic and illegal decision to go to war in Iraq (and so much more since then). I focussed on Bush because it was obvious that without him the whole thing would never have happened, and his removal from office would surely precipitate the demise of his followers.

Sadly, Bush, Blair and Howard have all won re-election since I started blogging. So my blog can be counted a failure on that basis alone. Indeed, it still makes my heart ache when I think about all the greedy, self-centered people who knew the truth but still voted for these men. And yet, and yet ... who would have imagined, back in 2003, when the "hugely popular" Mr Bush proudly declared "Mission Accomplished", that things would have turned so decisively against him? At the time, I was derided by aggressive Bush supporters as a "tin foil hat" wearer who had been "drinking the Kool Aid". I was threatened frequently with physical violence and all my arguments were dismissed as "Conspiracy Theories". Now those arguments have been proven true, and those pro-Bush cyber-thugs find themselves subjected to the very same ridicule. As I write, Bush's popularity rate in the USA is 32% and falling. Censure and impeachment, once un-thinkable fantasies, now loom large on the political horizon. It seems the Bush cabal may be battling for its very survival in the November mid-term elections.

We have come a long way indeed. And in that sense, my own journey of discovery on this blog has matched a broader public awakening across the USA and around the world. I certainly do not claim to have been a leader of the online anti-Bush movement, but nevertheless I am pleased to know that my blog has helped to light the way for some readers. A large proportion of my 65,000-plus hits (to date) have come from online searches, and some stories available here are no longer available elsewhere (or are all but impossible to find).

So what now? I am sure most readers are as frustrated as me by the relentless stream of outrage-generating stories which we continue to read, day after day after day, and by the persistent lack of public accountability for these high crimes and misdemeanours. So what to do?

Personally, I have to ask myself if this blog is still the best way for me to instigate change and drive Bush (and his cabal, and his coalition partners) from office. At the moment, I am not sure.

In the old days of printed papers, it was often said that "today's news is tomorrow's fish-wrappings". It's a truth which the Bush cabal and their spin-meisters know all too well. And it applies to online news as well as the printed page, though perhaps to a lesser extent (fish-wrappings rot to dust in the garbage, after all, while online news remains on file for search engines to rediscover).

I know that blogs like this help to maintain the rage and keep stories alive, building a community of outraged citizens around the world, all demanding real change. We have helped bring Bush to his knees, but ultimately it will not be blogs like this that finish him off.


Wadard said...

You willl be kicking yourself for not covering the mid-term elections...

Patel said...

I have enjoyed this blog immensely and found it to be very educational. Problems we all face turn out to be much bigger than I thought, some more interconnected than I thought, and some not as well connected as I had first thought.

Still, Bush may still turnout to be the best thing that happened to the US and the world. That is, if he can be stopped now, before he destroys us all. As I see it, America has been doing what Bush did ever since the beginning of the 20th century, if not earlier, but the BushCo’s incompetence in Iraq has opened the eyes of many Americans who had been happy to go through life believing that America was a force of good wherever it went. The two political parties have a few visible fractures now. A few splits would be what’s really required but the cracks are a start.

The “war” in Iraq has also opened the eyes of the world and caused some long-term allies to examine their position abet only because their population had learnt to question the alliance. America had become too powerful with an undeserved moral authority that could not be questioned because of the massive military might that backed up that authority. America has now been reduced to an unmatched military might backed by rapidly diminishing moral authority. This, however partial, degradation of America’s authority is very essential. The world’s policeman, who does a lot of good not the least of which is keeping the shipping lanes safe for international commerce, had been abusing its power for too long. This can only translate to a long term good because America’s proposed interference in any future conflict will be met with skepticism and scrutiny. I hope.

Naturally, I hope you continue to write here but if you decide to move on, I know you will continue to write and I sure hope to catch you wherever you do.

Looking back, this is an obscenely long-winded goodbye but what the hell. Best of luck.

elendil said...

I am sure most readers are as frustrated as me by the relentless stream of outrage-generating stories which we continue to read, day after day after day, and by the persistent lack of public accountability for these high crimes and misdemeanours. So what to do?

I ask myself the same question: what is the most efficient way that I can make positive change? [shrugs] I think if it were that simple, we would have done it by now.

But you know what? I reckon the most important step is to have asked the question in the first place and then second, to have moved in that direction. It might be true that most of us will toil for little reward, but who knows what effects flow on in the interconnectedness of things? You might write a million words that amount to nothing, but one phrase is heard by the right person at the right time... You will never know about it, but then, you never started this work for that kind of reward.

I say that the change is hard to see, but I think if you look back far enough, you can discern the effects of the collective effort. There has been a recent swing here to the right, but in the long view things have got better. For example, two nights ago I bought fair trade chocolate for some friends. If you think about it, that's an amazing thing. Since when have we cared about the welfare of brown people half a world away?! There was a time, not that long ago, when our society considered people little more than animals. Fair trade chocolate is a small thing, but I see in it a sign of a great progress.

So, in summary, I don't know if your blog is your best way to do things. Only you can answer that. But I think, no matter what you decide, the most important thing is that you're on the path and working for change.

elendil said...

Speaking of branching out, did I ever show you these? I felt the need to do a bit of an exorcism of the material on my blog, so I created a line of "trivia cards". The idea is to print them out and leave them on park benches and stuff, like chick tracts. They're meant to be humourous, but I think they're more jarring than anything. I feel they reflect the brutal absurdity of the subject matter. You're more than welcome to use them yourself or give them to friends.

gandhi said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Mid term elections are still a long way off, Wadard. It kinda bugs me that Democrats are content to sit back and wait till then. Like during the 2004 election it was "Don't mention the war" and Kerry lost because he didn't attack that massive weak point. Now it's "Don't mention impeachment" ... AP has a good look at the midterms here.

Elendil, those trivia cards remind me of Winter Patriot's old Whispering Campaign. Like you say, it may be a drop in the proverbial bucket but with enough drops the bucket will overflow.

I am sick at the moment and low on sleep. I'll keep thinking this over while I enjoy another long weekend off work...

Peace, love and happiness, folks!

Chuck said...

Just let it be. Do some catch and release fishing and come back angrier. In other words stick around for the fun......idiot lunacy and religious fanaticism is in "the red" in the USA ..such a heady brew. Some of us old hippies are seeing civil war between the right and left as the last great hoorah, before the asteroids hit. What if, what if, 9/11 was really ...........
Gandhi. Do your thing, but let the blog be. If you can't, the best to you, and thanks for the clarity and the inspiration, oh... and the link.
As for myself I will be slamming Bush long after his ultimate demise, whatever the fuck it is, life permitting. I get an occasional threat too.

gandhi said...

More on the Dems chances in mid terms from an NBC/WSJ poll:

According to the poll, just 22 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, a drop of 11 points since March. “That’s a lot of movement in a four- to six-week period,” says McInturff, the GOP pollster, who attributes the drop to a sharp decline in approval by Republican respondents.

Asked to rank the top one or two reasons for their disapproval of Congress, 44 percent say they are tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting with each other, 36 percent say Congress doesn’t seem to get that much done, and 34 percent say members are corrupt and unethical.

How will that anger play out in November’s midterm elections? Forty-five percent of registered voters say they prefer Democrats controlling Congress, compared with 39 percent who say they want Republicans in charge. That six-point Democratic advantage, however, is smaller than the 13-point advantage Democrats held in March or the nine-point advantage they had in January.

In other words, if Dems keep doing nothing the GOP could hold power.

The question for me is whether supporting the Dems (or even attacking the Bush GOP in a two-horse race) is really the best way to effect positive change??????

gandhi said...

And some interesting speculation about the Kerry or Gore running again for the Dems for 2008. James Boyce says it was exactly the same consultants "that led both men to believe they couldn't talk about what they cared in."

Al Gore not talking about the environment means it's not really Al Gore talking - the environment is his passion - his soul - and what makes him real. John Kerry not talking about veterans, and war, and international relations and patriotic dissent, takes him away from everything that made him the person he is. It's not about polling, it's about authenticity and being true to yourself. This doesn't show up in a focus group of undecided voters in Florida, but the lesson comes through loud and clear on the first Tuesday in November.

Should Al Gore and John Kerry have known better? Yes. Does the buck for their respective losses stop with them and no one else? Absolutely. But what if each man decides to run again? How should we judge them?

Chuck said...

That's the way.


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