In a couple of nights of speechifying last week, Barack Obama and Joe Biden did everything they could to tie John McCain to Emperor Bush. In a couple of nights of speechifying this week, McCain and Sarah Palin said the word "Bush" just once. And when it came up, it wasn't tied to "George W."
"I'm grateful to the president for leading us in those dark days following the worst attack on American soil in our history, and keeping us safe from another attack many thought was inevitable," is what McCain said Thursday night, adding: "and to the first lady, Laura Bush, a model of grace and kindness in public and in private." The Elephant Branch of The Party was not going to use the incumbent emperor's full name.
Clearly, the major players in the race for emperor sense that people who live in the US of A have had enough of the old regime. "Change" is the major theme of the day. Exactly what will they change? They'll put a new face in the Oval Office. They'll rearrange a deck chair or two.
But as with the Donkey Branch speakers a week ago
, once again the proposed leaders of these independent states did not use the words freedom
in their remarks. Peruse the texts and you will find neither McCain or Palin said "freedom," and you'll find McCain mouthed the word "liberty" only in the context of protecting and advancing the empire: "Today, the prospect of a better world remains within our reach. But we must see the threats to peace and liberty in our time clearly and face them, as Americans before us did, with confidence, wisdom and resolve."
And as he closed, he urged his supporters to "fight for the ideals and character of a free people." A free people, not free men and women. A collective, not individuals.
Freedom and liberty have become catchphrases, echoes from another era that are rolled out because they still resonate deep in our souls. After this ritual that the Donkeys and Elephants are performing now, the victors will retire to their chambers to pass more laws and new restrictions of our liberty.
I am grateful that I am allowed (for now) to write these things, to use the word emperor
to describe the position that is often described as "leader of the free world," or to point out that The Party is a single monster with two heads, without being arrested or imprisoned as government critics in many places have been.
This freedom isn't free, however, because freedom has a cost: It is mine only as long as I consent to the seizure of one-third to one-half of my earnings to maintain the empire. And the rules may be changed at any time.
I do not delude myself by imagining that replacing Augustus Caesar with Tiberius will make any substantive difference. The central struggle of our day is not between the Donkeys and the Elephants; it is between the State and the Individual. I have no need to beat the State; I just want to be left alone. That's not likely to happen.
Labels: Barack Obama, freedom, George W. Bush, John McCain, liberty