The Iraqi people have voted. Despite turnout rates in some Sunni regions as high as 90% their attempts to block the adoption of the new constitution have failed. President Bush congratulated the Iraqi people and praised the expected results. “This is a very positive day for the Iraqis and, as well, for world peace. Democracies are peaceful countries” he said. But we know better.
Do you know why? Because in a strange way we’ve been there before. Democrats that is.
Let’s play a little psychological parlour game of regression if you don’t mind. (I promise we won’t rehash that time your older brother made you eat the booger) We won’t go back far, only to a little less then a year ago. To the first Wednesday in November 2004.
The alarm goes off like it has a million times before. After a few groggy moments, half in a dream, half awake, you stumble from your bed. You’re exceptionally drained this morning, but you don’t really recall why. You just know you feel like shit. Coffee!!! I need coffee, you think.
You make your way to the kitchen, turn on the light, and start to put up a pot. Then it happens, an emptiness in the pit of your stomach, a feeling both anxious and foreboding.. something’s terribly wrong …you’re starting to wake up and you remember why you feel so shitty… Fuckin Bush.
How the fuck can this be. There were like a thousand of us at the polling place waiting to vote. We waited for hours. I saw pictures on TV of lines stretching for blocks and blocks. We worked for months and months, organizing the vote, making calls, handing out flyers, registering voters. Nobody in their right mind could have voted for this guy. How can this be?.. How can this be?.
Remember that feeling? Remember how fucked up it was? How you hoped against hope that something would change in Ohio. How you just wanted to crawl in a hole. Maybe have a drink or ten. How you could have slithered into bed and never left for the rest of your life.
Good….now take that feeling ……. multiply it by….I don’t know…..maybe……a… gazillion.
That’s how a Sunni feels right now.
Except that he or she lives in a place that’s fucked beyond belief. People get blown to bits everyday. There’s no work, or prospect of getting any. Electricity and water are rare commodities. A foreign army roams your streets. Your fellow countrymen hate you. A corrupt government of your ancestral enemies runs your country, and the place is in total ruins. To top it off, the one and only natural resource your country has, the basis of your whole economy, has for all intents and purposes been given to your enemies.
On top of that, our Sunni friend lives in a country where average citizens are now armed to the teeth. Kids make bombs instead of playing with toys, and killing has become almost the national pastime. Shit blows up every day. That’s just the way it is
Now, I know the comparison leaves much to be desired, but given what we know of despair and disillusionment with a political system, will it really come as a shock when shit hits the fan, and Iraq turns into the biggest cluster-fuck we’ve ever seen, with even more violence and death. Will we really be surprised when each day more and more desperate Sunnis call for civil war?
Bush and his Republican friends and followers will be shocked. “How can this be?” They’ve got a new constitution and a squeaky clean democracy over there. How could there be millions of tera-ists, and so much turmoil?
While we will hopefully never know the horror of life in a hell-hole like Iraq, we as Democrats won’t be quite as shocked when the whole thing comes unglued. We now know, thanks to Republican one party rule, what it’s like to not have a voice in your government, to have leaders who work against your best interests and those of your nation. In that way we are like Sunnis, and can in some very small way understand their frustration and despair.