Through mourning yet? Well, get over it, because we’ve got work to do. Here are six ways to survive the Bush Theocracy. 1. Let the Shit Hit the Fan We all know GWB is going to fuck things up even more than he already has, and that it will eventually catch up to him. It’s inevitable. Unlike Ronald Reagan, he left his Teflon suit at the dry cleaners a long time ago. So eventually he will be covered in the shit that blows back from his failed polices. Unfortunately, the cost of this approach could be extreme—drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the loss of a woman’s right to choose, systematic persecution of gays, bankrupting the treasury, gutting public education, and a Supreme Court straight out of the 19th century. It’s too ugly to even contemplate. So sitting back and letting him destroy himself is simply too risky. We need to speed the process.
2. Pressure the Media
The major network, cable, and newspaper executives are such sheep you could knit cardigans from their hides. Even the so-called ‘liberal’ media followed Bush slavishly until they sensed the mood of the country shifting. With the “mandate” upon us, they’re likely to start kow-towing all over again. Don’t let them. If your favorite news show quotes ridiculous administration assertions without questioning them, or presents every issue as ‘he said/she said’ without evaluating the credibility of either side, or entirely ignores important stories to focus on fluff, call them on it. Literally, call them—dial the numbers of the station. Light up the switchboard. Bury them in email and snail mail. Organize your friends to do the same. Let the media know they can’t get away with it this time. Yes, the Dark Side will eventually respond and match us in volume and passion. But most of them are dumb as fence posts. Most of us can write in complete sentences and make cogent arguments. Here’s one area where intelligence may actually count for something.
3. Pressure the Democrats Unfortunately, this is one area where intelligence won’t count. As in the past, the Democratic Party leadership will likely read this election as a signal they have to shift even further to the Right. This argument is totally flawed. Clinton only won because Ross Perot sucked nearly 20% of the vote from Bush I in 92, and then because Robert Dole was such a weak-ass opponent in ‘96. Still, the Demos are likely to roll over on just about everything. We can’t let them. We need to remind them of where most of their support came from in 2004—from people and organizations to the left of John Kerry. That means more letters and phone calls. It means demonstrating power in numbers. We need to inspire the few leaders we have to loudly oppose the forces of evil, even if they don’t have the votes to carry the day.
4. Stand up to the Bullies
The next time some moron quotes Fox News, or makes some wildly inaccurate statement about a social or political issue, walk up to that individual and ask for proof. Where did that idea come from? Do the facts support it? Why do they believe this? Were they aware of information from [fill in the blank] that contradicts this statement? Asking questions is a much more effective method of rebuttal. Most people don’t question why they believe what they believe, and this might get some of them started. It also puts them on the defensive, where they don’t know what to do. That’s far more effective than simply telling them that if it wasn’t for Darwin they’d still be walking on four legs.
And when someone calls you after dinner to raise money for a faith-based organization, feel free to share your opinions about the separation of church and state. These people hate us already. There’s no reason to be polite about it.
5. Recruit Republicans
We’ve already seen a number of major defections from the ranks of sane Republicans, and as the Bush agenda shifts toward the radical right we’re going to see a lot more. Court these people. Talk to them about issues they care about, like fiscal responsibility and the capricious use of our military, or about government intrusion into peoples’ private lives. I bet you’ll find common ground.
While you’re at it, talk to the 11% of blacks who voted for Bush, or the 23% of gays, or the astounding 48% of women. Remind them that’s it like the Roadrunner voting for Wile E. Coyote, or the Three Little Pigs stumping for the Big Bad Wolf. They’re all going to end up as ham sandwiches.
6. Civil Disobedience on a Massive Scale
What do you think would happen if 55 million Kerry supporters didn’t pay their taxes? How many do you think the IRS could catch and prosecute? A few thousand? So we take a small percentage of the money we withhold from the government and set up a fund to pay the penalties and interest of the few who get nailed. If you pay estimated taxes, it’s easy—don’t write those checks. If taxes are withheld from your paycheck, see if you can change your withholding status and pump up your tax-exempt savings accounts. I’m not saying we do this forever, just long enough to prove that they can’t operate without us. Say, maybe a year.
Here’s another idea. Just over 90% of Washington DC went for Kerry. He won Maryland with 56% and got 1.4 million votes from Virginia. What would happen if every Kerry supporter stuck in rush hour traffic on I395 and I495 outside DC suddenly decided to turn off their engines and go for a cup of coffee? Say, on the morning the Senate was about to confirm a troglodyte for the Supreme Court? Do you think the other side might notice? Do you think the media might cover it?
The Repubs proved adept at using technology to organize their campaign, but they still seem a little clueless about its potential for mischief. (Witness the Sloganator debacle.) Surely there must be some hackers out there who share our disgust. Think what a well-designed worm could do to the email accounts at the Republican National Headquarters (rnchq.org). Or what a denial of service attack could do to the servers at the NRA (nra.org) or the Family Research Council (frc.org). I’m not suggesting anyone target systems vital to our national security or human services, just the ones that allow them to attain and abuse power.
Let’s remind the Evil Doers where their power really comes from.
The possibilities are endless. Let us not despair.