I have nightmares about car bombs and severed limbs. Wartime. I wonder what George W. Bush dreams about.
My dead grandma, the wife a man who made his millions in “defense,” used to wake up in the middle of the night complaining about images of napalm skin and sudden jungle ambushes.
My grandfather, for his part, dreamt of making a bomb that could harness all the power of the sun.
My living grandma called last night. “If the Democrats can’t win this,” she said. “They can’t win anything.”
She wants to vote for Ralph Nader, but she won’t. “He’s the only honest one,” she said. “But we have to vote for Kerry.”
My grandma is no tree-hugging hippie. She wears fur coats and lives in a gated community in a town where everything that isn’t named after John Wayne is named after Bob Hope.
“Now, I can understand why the people around here are voting Republican. They want to hang onto their money,” she explained. “But working people?!? I’ll never understand that.”
When I studied economics in college I was horrified to learn that America is one of the few countries in the world where poor and working people tend to be against taxing the rich.
It’s because of our belief in the old propaganda about America being a “classless” society. No matter where we come from or how far—economically–we can rationally hope to get, most of us still imagine that one day our ship will come in. We’ll strike oil. We’ll win the lottery. We’ll invent silent Vel-cro.
And so we’ll put up with being nickled and dimed all of our working lives, but damned if Uncle Sam is going to take some huge share when we finally join the top one percent.
The American economy, built on the backs of poor and working people, depends on our pipe dreams of making it big: We Beverly Hillbillies, we cowboys striking oil, we sudden business moguls, we lucky lottery winners, we newly-discovered American Idols. So we’ll be tough while the Republicans steal our resources and send our sons off to war. We’ll work hard and then we’ll work harder. We won’t be economic girlie-men!
That and the wacky theory that George W. is somehow chosen by God—how else to explain the fact that a complete moron who didn’t win the election is sitting in the White House? Right, then, he’s inspired by the love of Jesus. He’s going to take over the world and then rise into heaven while the rest of us go up in a blaze.
You’ve got to believe in something, I guess. American dream. Apocalypse wow. Trickle down. Shock and awe.
But I dream about bloodied babies and mothers crying–and when I finally wake up there’s all this hoopla on TV about the newest hit reality show: A staged debate where we can hear canned answers from white boy one and white boy two.
Who are these things for? Is there anyone out there who honestly still doesn’t know who she’s voting for? The fabled “undecided”? I’ve yet to meet one.
Even my grandma in her fur coat in her gated community just off Bob Hope Street knows.
And the questions I want to ask George W. will most certainly not be answered tomorrow night:
Are the thousands of innocent people you’ve killed in heaven now, George?
Have you ever actually read The Sermon on the Mount?
And What On Earth does a guy like you dream about?
Really. I want to know.