portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

actions & protests | imperialism & war

Bully Culture Defending the Culture of Fearůsounds downright Orwellian!!

George W. Bush has created a culture of fear in this country through his incessant reminders of 9/11, desperate promotion of the War on Terror, and his role as the War President, here to keep us safe from those Muslims, "that hate our freedoms". It is fascinating to me that in adopting that paternal mantle, complete with his idiotic "bring it on," and "want Justice, dead or alive," slogans, and the equally foolish, though less dangerous, physical swagger with the arms held as though at the ready for a gunfight, Bush has managed to encourage a "Bully Culture". (continued~~)
The "Bully Culture", of course, also stems from the GOP's refusal to play by standard adult rules of civil society. The GOP instead casts slurs and aspersions on rules, laws, and even expectations of mature behavior, as somehow unpatriotic or inappropriate in a time of "war", a war designed specifically to foster a crippling fear in the body politic. (1)

It sounds like a "George Orwell meets Joseph Heller" moment, baffling for the Catch-22 wrapped in an Orwellian Misdirection.

I have over three months' experience interacting with the commuting (riding, driving and walking) public in a very exposed manner. I am stationary as they pass, and I am speaking to them through the signs of protest I hold visible to traffic going north, and when the light changes, going west, the light changes, going north... you get the picture.

After weeks of discomfort dealing with signs of different sizes, trying to hold two with one hand and a bigger one with the other... I have adapted my sign-making method so that I now have 20 two-sided 10" x 16". This allows me to hold maybe 5 signs in each hand, rotate messages as I feel necessary, and it even allows me to occasionally act like one of those multi-message billboards, potentially casting 4 catchy ideas at unsuspecting passersby.

My communications generally slam the Bush Administration for its dishonesty, its contempt for the US Constitution and the civil liberties we enjoy under it, its callous disregard for human life, and its obeisance to Neocon and Far Right directives. Several other signs ask personal questions about whether readers would die for Bush's lies that led the US to attack Iraq, or about the sense behind the lunacy of "GI's Dyin' for Bush Lyin' & Spyin'". I even have some that are a call to action, encouraging people to raise their voices and demand that the most corrupt Presidential Administration in American history be Impeached and brought to Justice.

I am a news junkie and I wake up every morning, punch the start button on my old Dell, make coffee, wait for the dial-up to connect, and then pull up 3 windows(Firefox), each with 6-12 news sources, columnists and blogs. My sign ideas are generated by my desire to communicate verifiable information to people who are limited in perspective to Mainstream Media news, owned by Corporations intent on currying favor with the Bush Administration.

Such news sources minimize news items that reflect poorly on the President and his policies, and even allow the Bushian "catapulting of the propaganda," to convey news in a false light. It is against this that I may overstate to emphasize a point, like saying Bush hates the Constitution, but it is more direct than saying Bush thinks the Constitution is quaint, like the Geneva Convention, and that is why he feels it doesn't apply to him... right?!?! He has no respect for 230 years of American history!! Enough said!

So, there I am conveying information that I think people need to think about, and asking them to consider acting in a manner, based on those facts, that in another era about 30 years ago, was deemed to have saved America from the Constitutional Crisis wrought by the Nixon Administration. I hear mostly honks and yells of support (bikers and drivers), occasionally see someone clapping their hands (when was auto-pilot introduced?), and often wind up talking with bikers and drivers with open windows at the light.

But, once in a while, people will give me the finger, and not in a mild manner, either... a real "F**K YOU!!" that tells me, the messenger, that they really don't like me or what I have said with my signs, and that I may have ruined their morning, or something. That is the manifestation of the Bully Culture that I feel is somehow defending Bush's Culture of Fear. So...I made a sign that addresses these people, and it says, "Flipping the Bird (actually it is a drawing!) IS SAD!!" It is hard to pull it out in time, so if I feel personally attacked, I might just flip them back. Remember, I am just the messenger, regardless of how hard the Truth hits you!!

The thing that made me want to write about this phenomenon, however, is the more subtle Bully's way of exhibiting such sneering disdain, that I am often distracted with a vision of our sneering, insane Vice President, Dick "Shotgun" Cheney. These drivers, and I should just call them "guys", because no women have tried to bully me out there, will give me the evil eye, craning their necks as they pass, as though they are thinking that I will look away in fear, pack it in and just call it a day because they scared me so. The Bully stare is so easy to beat, but it does get tiresome if I have to deal with such juvenile behavior more than a couple of times in an hour.

One time though, a guy inexperienced in the faux-Bully stare, actually yelled with Doppler effect, that he "should slit my throat..." That concerned me a bit, so I called the cops to ask what I should do when weird stuff happens like that. I was glad to hear that though it is not a direct threat on my person, I should just get the license #, and the cops will give a call. An interesting note - Cops never give me the faux-Bully stare, nor for that matter did the four army guys in a military humvee during the Rose Fest week.

For the dudes that think they are tough-guys, like our brain-addled, fake cowboy, pathologically mendacious, egotistical, amoral puppet of a President... you really should choose better role models.

Either way, I do get a kick out of your Bully bravado, and if exercising it on me spares your family, where you probably got your Bully degree, I am glad to help.

Roger and out~~

Styve



Notes~

(1) Greenwald, Glenn, "How Would a Patriot Act? - Defending American Values from a President Run Amok", 2006

~~the sign-off is a tribute to Neil Young's wonderfully moving new CD, "Living With War"
A guy pulled over, got out, walked to me, and asked... 12.Jul.2006 15:44

Styve

..."what's your beef?" I turned while still holding my signs facing traffic, surprised to see this little, burly guy in overalls, tromping up to me, sort of in a huff. Immediately I had to judge if there was a risk of him being violent, and I thought the disparity in our size would rein him in on that score.

I responded that Bush had lied repeatedly and he blurted out, "About what?!?!" At that point, I straddle the fence between being very sarcastic, or just dismissing the looming argument for its unfairness. I simply replied that he should really follow the news. He seemed to be getting fidgety...probably nervous that his huge pickup truck 60 yds away was going to be stolen, but he blurted out that he is Israeli and that Bush had "saved" his country.

I thought, "huh...this has taken an interesting turn," realizing that I hadn't noticed the big blue yarmulke the dude had on. Surprised to hear uttered publicly what is one of the proposed "real" reasons Bush invaded and has occupied Iraq, the protection of Israel, I shot back, "Well, AIPAC is trying to ruin ours!!"

He was already headed back to his truck, but in retreat, he stated that he didn't know what AIPAC is, and besides, I was just a socialist...an educated socialist... I thought it an amusing statement, but that did not reduce my wariness of this little dweeb...as I ignored my audience, and picked up my bag, and started walking toward his truck.

My thought was that he is the kind of disturbed person that would be better prepared next time he sees me, or another protester speaking his/her mind. I asked pedestrians nearer the truck if they had gotten his license, thinking that he would take off before I could get it...it was obscured by some tinted plastic, which I would think is illegal. I wanted, and got, the license plate, and I believe that it is Oregon D12108, in case you are harassed by a little spark plug in a big white truck.

A funny thing happened after all the excitement~~ Two guys in blue frilly/feather wigs took the other corner with signs for the Junk Pick-up company, 1-800-YOU-GOTJUNK. I thought, here I am, urging that Bush be dumped, and these guys are efficiency-minded enough to offer a junk removal service, literally right across the street?!?! I got a chuckle, and I am conjuring up a new sign to salute the occasion.

So, this is the first person that has pulled by me, and because my speaking the truth so disturbed him, he felt he had the right to come threaten me, hoping I don't know what... Maybe the Bully left his Brain in the truck and he will tell me next time?! I think I will ask the cops if that tinted plastic over the license plate is legal, and either way, I might tell them that I did get a license plate.

Peace~~
Styve