As others have commented, I’m sensing acceleration in the items of bad news for the administration, the way the raindrops fall faster and faster before the deluge.  The Teflon is starting to peel.  Dawn is coming.  The public awakens from their slumber.  Pick your favorite metaphor of hope.

And we who are the blogging prophets of the dawn, how can we best add our energy to the gathering momentum?

My mind goes back to the latter days of the Nixon administration, and how one simple phrase on the part of an embattled president crystallized it all in the minds of the American people, and made the blinders fall from the eyes of those who had been unsure or unwilling to face the cold hard facts of the evil at the heart of the government, the evil that had to be opposed, that had to go.  That phrase was:

“I am not a crook.”

Call it a frame, call it a meme, call it whatever, but suddenly millions of people “got it.”  The guy was a crook, and had to go.

So, what is it going to be this time around?  

What is the phrase that Bush has uttered that can be used with equal effectiveness to shine the spotlight of truth into the darkness where the powerful do not want it to go?  What utterance will make the scales fall from peoples’ eyes?  Or has it even been spoken yet?  Maybe we should identify it so we can watch for it, ready to take action when the moment of its appearance arrives?

I cannot think of one specific sentence already uttered, but there are folks that follow these things more closely than me.  It would be a simple statement along the lines of:

“I will never bring shame on America.”
“I have made America an example for the world.”
“I am not a torturer.”
“I am not a madman.”

It seems that the sentence must be an “I” statement, not a “we” or “my administration” statement.  We’re talking about George W. Bush and his personal accountability to his nation, to humanity, to the planet here.  We’re talking about the moment that will make the American people silently stand and turn their backs on this one man, which will make the rest of the administration fall like a house of cards in a strong, clean breeze from the northwest after a storm.

You know, all the crimes are one crime.  All the lies are one lie.  Call it greed, call it lust for power, call if arrogance, call it mental laziness, call it lack of curiosity or imagination, call it a lack of empathy, call it hubris, call it what you will.  It all comes down to one defining trait, one fatal character flaw that when pointed out will resonate in the soul of the American people. This is the key to understanding and defining this administration, and to bringing it down.  Pull the cornerstone and the tower falls.  

Maybe it falls all at once, maybe in bits, but I think that maybe this administration when it falls will fall like the World Trade Center, appearing as if only damaged on a few floors, then inexplicably, incredibly, falling all in an unbelievable rush that leaves the witnesses gaping open-mouthed, unbelieving their eyes, knowing in their hearts in an instant that the world has changed.  

Only when this tower falls, the world will be better, war will yield to peace, lies to truth, fear to hope, death to life.  And someday an achingly beautiful, azure-skied September morning will be not a painful reminder but an Indian summer day again, when our tears have dried and our hearts find peace in a world of new hope.

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I hope folks aren’t offended by the WTC analogy, but maybe we need to destroy “the one ring of power” that transformed Homer Simpson into Napoleon to make the reverse transformation.  Not by “waving the bloody shirt,” for that would be to wear the ring ourselves and be corrupted by it.  The ring must be thrown into Mt. Doom, its power given up freely so it can be destroyed.  Where is this volcano to be found?  Perhaps in the human heart.

All the crimes are one crime.  All the lies are one lie.  The puzzle pieces come together.

Can anyone with 100% total and complete confidence still deny that a junta capable of the cold calculations leading to a war – a war! – based on a lie might not be capable of turning a blind eye and allowing 9/11 to happen?  The folks that set the tone that allowed Abu Ghraib to occur, that wrote the rules for Guantanamo and brought us the PATRIOT Act?  Perhaps this is the dark and horrid place that our hearts are filled with dread to even consider.  Why Michael Moore was called “Over the top.”  And we’re the liberal intelligentsia!  How much more horrific and painful will it be for Joe Six-pack to give up the myth of American exceptionalism – that we are and always will be “the shining city on the hill;” that “it can never happen here;” that “we are better than that.”  As if the 1930 Germans were some lesser species of being than us?  Sleepers, Awake!

Each of us carries a personal “precious” that we need to transcend.  As a nation Americans now also have a collective “precious” we must throw into the volcano in order to be free, to allow the space where hope and peace and justice may have room and light and fresh clean air to sprout.

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What place have we come to that the rumor that the late pope thought George Bush might be the Antichrist isn’t immediately laughed off as a sick joke in really poor taste?  When has that ever happened in America before?  “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste…”

Now there’s a great old song!  But until this administration, I never really “got” the part about “…I shouted out, `Who killed the Kennedys?’ when after all it was you and me.”  Maybe I’m dense, or maybe it was being a mere child – and Catholic at that! – in the `60’s, but that line always seemed a bit over the top, inexplicable, and kind of offensive.

But now I get it.  All the crimes are one crime.  All the lies are one lie.  The puzzle pieces come together.  The light bulb goes on.  The scales fall from my eyes.  I knew it in my brain, but now I get it in my gut:

We collectively get the world we all co-create each and every day in every act and thought and purchase and vote.  That world might be one with assassins and terrorists and robber barons.  Or one with doctors, artists, scientists, engineers designing pollution-free power sources (to be given by the UN for free to third-world nations), and supermarkets filled with healthy food.  

“Healthy food” for our bodies and minds and souls and society and planet.  Here’s a Zen koan for you that I just made up:  “Which French fry caused the heart attack?”

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As we were so eloquently reminded yesterday, “War Is Over, If You Want It.”
To which I can only add:  “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and “Teach Your Children Well.”

As someone on the tail end of the Baby Boom, I can say that perhaps the biggest mistake of my generation was a failure of imagination and heart, a falling back and saying “those are just nice songs, but this is the real world.  We all have lives to live; we can’t be standing around singing `Kumbayah.'”  

We forgot that not only are all the lies one lie, but all the truths are one Truth.  

It’s certainly not too late, despite appearances. And there are generations of idealists coming up behind looking to work to make the Dream real, that we might offer to help (Not direct!  They will inherit the world of our failures; who are we to direct!).  I dare say there are few Boomers out there that didn’t feel a lump in their throat and a tear in their eye watching that clip of Bright Eyes singing “When The President Talks To God.”  That was the moment of hope and recognition that the Truth is ever Real, the Dream is ever Young, even though we have gray hair and bifocals.

The dawn is coming; each day our opponents give us more fuel for the fires against the darkness.  Each day we can gently offer cool water to neighbors so they can wash the scales from their eyes.  Soon the world will be ablaze with hope and change as we all find new eyes to see it.

But we can catalyze that change, to bring it about quicker and with less pain.  We must define Bush to defeat him, using his own words.  It worked once before in a dark time, and it can work again.

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