As speaker after speaker Monday night invoked the iconic image of President Bush standing amidst the rubble of Ground Zero in the days after 9/11, I had a different image–of the rubble we all stand atop today.Yes, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Americans experienced a quickening of the national spirit.
As The Nation wrote about those days, “The extraordinary heroism of the firefighters, police and others in coping with death and destruction rebuked the mood of ‘infectious greed’ generated by this era of market dominance. Civil servants and soldiers, even government itself, were accorded new respect in the face of real danger and collective greed. These developments contained a hopeful thread of reconstructing our frayed democracy.”
But three years later, our frayed democracy is under siege and we live amidst the rubble created not by terrorists but by an Administration that has pursued a faith-based, messianic and militarist foreign policy. It is rubble created by a White House that has violated the most essential trust in a democracy, killing close to a thousand Americans in a reckless and unnecessary war based on manipulated intelligence and the persistent exploitation of fear.
It is rubble in which lies about the links between the war on terror and the war on Iraq–masterfully exploited by Bush’s surrogate character witnesses (or, more accurately, attack dogs) John McCain and Rudy Giuliani on Monday night–have grown roots. And it is rubble strewn with the lives of the millions of Americans who have lost jobs, who lack health insurance and who live in poverty.
And now we live under the rubble and garbage of a campaign of character assassination fomented and financed by Bush surrogates. For those GOP speakers this week who remind us of those days of unity and shared sacrifice amidst the rubble of 9/11, remind them of the rubble created by a President who has ruled through division and fear.