A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
The Twilight Zone | UPDATE
by Rebecca Knight
May 17, 2002
Gee, I had a hard time naming this essay. There are so many descriptive phrases befitting the times in which we are living. I considered: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate, Wake Me Up When It's Over, Ironic Times, and The Long National Nightmare. All are appropriate titles for an essay dealing with the issues confronting our national political scene on a daily basis. I finally settled on "The Twilight Zone" because no other phrase is better suited to describe the surrealistic qualities that enveloped America's political scene when the Republican Party nominated George W. Bush. Those of us old enough to remember Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" will recall it as a weekly science fiction television show. I don't think Rod Serling could have produced anything fictitious that would even come close to the irrationality that is the Bush administration.
I suppose I could write a diatribe on the ridiculous campaign and election 2000, but frankly I don't want to sink into the depths of depression today. Instead this essay will deal with items I read in the news in just one day. Now think about that as you read this essay and multiply the days beginning with the campaign around January 2000 and ending in January 2005, when we WILL inaugurate a new president. I know, I know. That calculates to 1,825 days of constant lunacy. Also keep in mind that this is just the lunacy we know about. Imagine the lunacy that goes on behind the scenes that we are never told about.
And now ladies and gentlemen I extend the esteemed Zonie awards to the idiocy that is the Bush administration.
My "Have They No Shame?" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration's plan to sell pictures of Bush on Air Force One on 9/11 for $150 each to raise money for the Republican Party. One can't get more disrespectful than to use the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks for political gain. Kudos to Al Gore for the following statement: "While most pictures are worth a thousand words, a photo that seeks to capitalize on one of the most tragic moments in our nation's history is worth only one - disgraceful. I cannot imagine that the families of those who lost their lives on September 11th condone this - and neither should the President of the United States." I'm sure we all remember how the Republican Party roasted Bill Clinton for allowing campaign donors to spend the night at the White House. GOP should be changed to GHP for the Grand Hypocrisy Party.
My "Lack Of Food On The Family" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration for increasing hunger in America. The recent recession has caused families to consider visits to food banks as an active part of their budgeting process and not just a temporary measure. Participation in the federally funded nutrition program for low-income individuals and families increased by two million between February 2001 and February of this year, to over 19 million people. Between September and October 2001, nearly 600,000 new individuals were enrolled. That increase was greater than any one-month increase recorded during the recession of the early 1990s.
My "How Dare They!" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration for proposing development of offensive biological weapons. At the same time, the Bush administration is aggressively accusing other countries of developing biological weapons and expanding its so-called "Axis of Evil" based in large part on allegations of foreign biological weapons development. How long will the world respect an America that expects other countries to do as we say, but not as we do?
The "My Way Or The Highway!" Zonie goes to the Bush administration and members of Congress who support the withdrawal of the U.S. from participating in the International Criminal Court. The House Appropriations Committee passed a measure authorizing the President to use force to free any American detained by the new International Criminal Court, which Tom DeLay, the majority whip from Texas, called a "rump" and a "rogue" court. After noticing that some members of the committee seemed ignorant of the court's location, David Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin, pointed out "we would be sending troops to invade the Netherlands." The measure also bans military aid to countries that ratify the treaty creating the court (which President Bush "unsigned" last week) but specifically exempts NATO countries and other major allies, all of whom have ratified it.
My "Do You Feel Safe Yet?" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration for failures in Homeland Security. Government security auditors reported that several important federal agencies have done little or nothing to secure their facilities against terrorist attack: the Department of Agriculture, for example, was unable to account for three billion doses of a dangerous virus, and the Energy Department has lost track of nuclear material that it lent to foreign countries. Tom Ridge, the head of "homeland security," showed off his office's new situation room to the news media. Hey Tom, have you found the anthrax culprit yet?
The "Grab For Unlimited Power" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration's Justice Department. In two footnotes filed with the Supreme Court, the Justice Department reversed 60 years of government policy and asserted that the Second Amendment to the Constitution "broadly" guarantees the right of individuals to own firearms, thus challenging the court's current understanding that the Constitution protects only those gun rights that have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia." It was pointed out that in 1999, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 28,874 Americans were killed with guns.
My "How Embarrassing!" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration's UN actions. A 13-year-old girl from Bolivia named Gabriela Azurdy Arrieta opened the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children. "We want a world fit for children," she said in her speech, "because a world fit for us is a world fit for everyone." The United States, the Vatican, and several Arab countries disrupted the proceedings by pushing anti-abortion and sexual abstinence agendas. America also blocked a statement calling for a ban on the execution of children, a provision of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which only the United States and Somalia have failed to ratify. "We are trying to lead the world," said one American official. Lead the world in what direction?
"Something Smells Fishy" Zonie award goes to the Bush administration
for failure to fully cooperate with Congress by providing requested information
about the formulation of energy policy. However, little tidbits of information
keep the heat on. As Vice President Dick Cheney's task force was writing
its report on the nation's energy policy last year, the task force's deputy
director told an official at the Environmental Protection Agency that
officials were "desperately trying to avoid California in this report
as much as possible," according to a partial e-mail message released
today. Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, said the
heavily edited e-mail message suggested that administration officials
went out of their way to avoid a more serious discussion of the causes
of California's energy crisis in 2000 and 2001. The message was sent on
May 4, 2001, about two weeks before the report was released. Mr. Waxman
suggested that the message represented a different tack than the White
House was publicly taking as it prepared its energy report. At the time,
President Bush pointed directly to
Congressman Henry Waxman is hereby awarded the "Hero" Zonie. Enough said!
The "Pot Calling The Kettle Black" Zonie goes to Jeb Bush for the following statement about Democrats in the Florida legislature: "What they'd need to do is say, 'I was a sinner, I apologize for my neglect,' then I would respect them a little bit more, but they don't,'' Bush said.
The "Silence Of The Watchdogs" Zonie award goes to the media at large, which is primarily owned by five media conglomerates linking the media and the Bush administration as agents of the same powerful interests. The press has given up its role as "watchdog." When the press and the government function as two arms of the same creature, the voice of the press becomes corrupted. See Media Giants: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/giants/index.html Thankfully we have the Internet to get the "real" news. I gave up watching televised news on a regular basis a long time ago to avoid throwing a shoe through the screen!
I don't care much for living in the twilight zone. Maybe I will take an extended nap. Will someone please wake me up when it's over?
To contact the author or make nominations for future Zonie Awards: email@example.com
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May 20, 2002
My "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire" Zonie Award goes to George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condaleezza Rice, and Ari Fleischer for stating in the days after 9/11 that they had gotten NO WARNINGS!
The "Laws Don't Apply To My Family" Zonie Award goes to Jeb Bush for his daughter's special treatment following her arrest for buying Xanax with a forged prescription.
The "Keep Your Big Fat Nose Out of My Personal Life" Zonie Award goes to the House bill that will basically prohibit anyone from teaching safe sex and only being able to teach abstinence and spending millions on "encouraging" those on welfare to get married. (Thanks to Cynthia Putt)
The "I Rule The Morals of the World" Zonie Award goes to the Bush administration for ending funds for family planning to any other country where abortion might be permitted. (Thanks to Cynthia Putt)
The "S.O.B." (Son of Bush to keep it clean) Zonie Award goes to George W. Bush just because. (Thanks to Marlo Miller)
My "Get The Hell Out of Dodge Before The Poop Hits The Fan" Zonie Award goes to Karen Hughes who is wisely leaving the Bush administration at the end of May.
The "Catch Me If You Can" Zonie Award goes to George W. Bush for signing an executive order keeping Poppy Bush's Vice Presidential and Presidential records hidden in secrecy. (Thanks to Deborah DelHoyo)
The "Rich Get Richer And The Poor Get Rhetoric" Zonie Award goes to the George W. Bush tax cut plan for handing mega bucks to corporate conglomerates and the wealthy. (Thanks to Ray Martell)
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