Dread

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Cartoon I shared with Ted Rall, the famous cartoonist in the United States, back in January of 2003, before the Iraq War started, and after Rall sent me his own cartoon that he had published after being inspired by an e-mail I sent him.

I can’t stop switching on the TV and trying to glean what exactly is happening in the States with the election fever right now. It is like an obsession; for three years now I have religiously logged onto Antiwar.com, and any other source of information I could get my hands on on the internet, every single day, reading and reading for some kind of doorway to enlightenment, a way out of the shell of intolerance and anger that seems to have gripped everyone since the New York tragedy. Three years of gut wrenching horror and anguish, of at times rage so great it threatened to overwhelm my sanity. In all my life there has been nothing political that has affected my life in quite such a simplistic and visceral way or with such devastating effect upon goings on in my personal life. For three years I have focused on finding some way to influence the tide that is Bush threatening to overwhelm the entire world’s well-being. So much emotional build up, so much fear and sadness and choked up hope, that in the last few months words can no longer express any of the vast relief that Bush’s banishment would serve to fulfill. This is not just a president that has injured the world; this is a man whose hubris and ignorance would, without a moment’s hesitation, bring down the whole stage set just to fit in the last piece of the warped jigsaw puzzle of his aspirations.

The election day is looming and my guts are roiling. I don’t know where to turn or how to sit still. It is like waiting outside the doctor’s door for the results of the biopsy. As a non-American citizen I can’t even vote so that I might at least carry an iota of weight in tipping the balance, and yet the outcome will affect all our non-American lives around the world just as if we were, somehow, citizens of that country. A tremor of disbelief and nausea overcame me when I watched the huge flags waving over and throngs of mob-mentality humanity surrounding that tiny little man shaking that impudent little hand at the world’s cameras… this little man who had been handed the scepter of life and death over an entire planet. I keep asking myself, “What will happen if Bush is re-elected?” What should I do with all the eggs of decency that I put into one basket, hoping for a fairer world?

If, the morning after, I sit there having to further face that hateful face for another four years and not knowing what the world had further in store for it, Bush were to win again, what could I say about the democratic process? Bush winning by a majority will never convince me of the wisdom or righteousness of his continued presence. It is more than just the future of America as a nation… it is the very foundation of the decent ideals that we all thought we were trying to uphold around the globe that is at stake. This has gone beyond merely political… it is about right and wrong, and everything in my very fibre of being tells me that Bush is a thing wrong, an abomination. And I struggle very deeply within myself with my feelings about a nation of people that would allow someone like him to continue to hold power.

Someone recently told me that when I write about these kinds of political asides, when I go off on my tirades, that my writing is boring and disengaged from who I truly am. I wonder, though. Must I shy away from the ugliness in my life and the world around me, and stick only to painting pretty pictures of the woods and mountains in order to say anything of worth? Bush came to power and abused that power because of the illusory platitudes that those who would follow him and those who would deny his existence weave around themselves in order to avoid all sense of reality. Hide in our shells and wish it would all go away.

But whether Bush or Kerry win tomorrow will not erase the reality of the Iraq War or the heavy handedness of America’s preoccupation with “security” or with the rumblings from places like North Korea or with the failing of representation in politics. All the hoopla will not make the mornings any brighter or safer for Iraqis or Afghans, nor will the world miraculously turn into a fairy pumpkin. It is all denial and shunting aside of responsibilities and connections.

Writing this brings me no clearer picture of what to do or how to feel than before. I don’t have any idea what the better answer is to all the painful things that have gone on and continue to go on. All I know is that I need to speak and to call out amidst all this darkness. We all seem to be flailing about in blindness, fear caught in our throats because it seems the night will never end. I get the feeling though that the best thing to do is to wait it out. Eventually the morning will come, and waking. Hopefully.

What else is there to do?

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