Four o’clock in the morning and the world is full of stars.
It is absolutely still, no sound anywhere. I see my breath up against starlight. Out here in this still morning air it is hard to imagine that much of humanity is at war.
But it is, and all of us bear a level of responsibility.
I heap a higher level on the president of the United States.
The State of the Union for George W. Bush:
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Bush squarely put the blame for the continuing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia on misguided, estranged and sinister Muslim fanatics.
The current volatility of oil prices and dwindling supplies rests on the shoulders of sinister Muslim fanatics who intentionally are destabilizing the entire Middle East for religious gains.
The Twin Towers in downtown New York were reduced to rubble by sinister Muslim fanatics bent on creating havoc on the world’s financial centre.
The State of the Union for folks with a grip on reality:
War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are regional conflicts stemming, for the most part, from a US foreign policy driven by the idea that democracy is good, marketable and sought after by just about anyone who is not a sinister Muslin fanatic.
Oil prices are volatile and supplies scarce because oil is scarce, mostly used up.
New York shook in September, 2001 because America’s brand of extreme capitalist democracy is squeezing life, livelihood and liberty from decentralized and underdeveloped local communities throughout the world.
Bush’s State of the Union keeps pumping new life into the military-industrial-complex former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower took great pains to warn the world about.
America has now fully armed a good part of the developed and developing world, friend and foe alike, in the false hope that war is peace and war is economy.
It is only the latter that bears any semblance of truth.
What President Bush did not say — because he does not know — is the most serious threat to the US is not religious fanaticism abroad, but rather an unwillingness on the part of the leadership and the citizens at home to engage in genuine self-criticism and deep self-reflection.
Lacking any hint of political or civic introspection, capitalism is what capitalism does — it makes of its participants little more than self-serving and self-righteous lumps.
Of even greater danger, without social or cultural incentives to look inward, the US will continue to look outward for the causes of its desperate vulnerability.
Unsurprisingly, it has always found just what it was looking for: fanatic Muslims, subversive communists, weak-kneed socialists and out and out fascists.
The enemy of this brand of extreme capitalism is everything and everybody that is not extremely capitalistic.
In last night’s State of the Union address, Bush once again drew the curtain on introspection and opened wide the war on “others.”
Americans, in his words, must stand firm against those seeking to destroy everything good and righteous about America. As a nation, America must be willing to fight ‘them’ over there so we will not have to fight ‘them’ over here.
Bush’s rhetoric of ‘us’ over ‘them’ is a steadfast guarantee for endless war. His guarantee turns out to be a good one; it has fashioned a world at war.
What Bush’s State of the Union does not allow for is any possibility in the foreseeable future of an America willing to show the world a different face, one that reflects the calm that comes with accepting guilt and making amends.
Seeking to blame others has short-circuited America’s ability to build a peaceable economy for itself and for its neighbours.
Canadians, under Harper’s leadership, are slowly yet relentlessly being sucked into the same pathological endgame.
At first, Canadian soldiers are being sent in to mop up the mess of unrestrained capitalism.
It is only a matter of time before Canada is asked to lead the charge against “others.”
We did not envision, and therefore did not plan for, an economy that is only defensible with a “national defence.” In our wildest dreams we did not envision the nightmare of endless war.
But then we did not fathom an economy that pulls from all parts of the world.
George Bush’s State of the Union address must serve us here in Canada as a bleak reminder of the importance of living meek, standing firm, always looking inward.
As always, the enemy is near, its breath rising up to cover stars overhead.