[This article originally published 11/3/2004 in the German-English cyber journal Telepolis
is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.telepolis.de/deutsch/inhalt/mein/18722/1.html.]
For a long time, elections in America have not only been elections but intricate legal
disputes in which a host of legal election observers, hastily called judges and a law
expressly for voting could make the vote count after the election really
Help America Vote Act should help America vote by insuring the technical
conditions of democracy. 30,000 lawyers will pugnaciously flock around the election boxes.
Michael Moore himself dispatched 1200 election observers. Are these conditions like
conditions in banana republics where election boxes disappear and dictators
rule undisturbed to the end of their days?
The swing- or showdown states like Florida and Ohio are the focus of relentless scrutiny
and mutual mistrust since fair play and democratic self-understanding hardly count amid
gaining supreme power. Were ineligible persons allowed to vote? Were voters by mail from
foreign countries hindered from voting? Are the election machines only tin
drums? Did the US army brief its young republican voters for the election
while US foreigners were misled by blocked websites [Pentagon blocks access to
official election site for US citizens abroad (1)]?
How could this happen four years after the Bush-Gore counting disaster? At that time 537
votes tipped the balance in the swing state Florida. Bush gained power through
a decision of the Supreme Court that inevitably offended the generally accepted idea of
separation of powers in the most important act of democracy. The legal skirmish may be
less exciting this time. Bush won Florida and probably also Ohio this time [Update: The
White House declares Bush the election winner (2)].
The election battle for the most powerful office of the world was economically and
emotionally a battle of superlatives. The election participation at 60 percent of eligible
voters was a relative record. Only in 1960 was there 65% voter participation in the
election of John F. Kennedy versus Richard Nixon.
THE NEW IS THE OLD
Our own armies assemble to deactivate these weapons of mass destruction that we call
our presidents today.
Eminem, song text Mosh
Another outcome is subject to a waiting period. The new is the old. Thus four more
years, the slogan of the republicans, is still the watchword of a unilateral
hegemonial war policy that deeply shakes the self-understanding of the West and in no way
makes the world safer [The Iraq war increases terrorism (3)].
A rational model of politics that sets analysis before action and negotiations before war
as the ultima ratio is repudiated with this decision of US voters, at least in European
eyes [Bush supporters marked by denial of reality (4)]. A political morality that draws
the consequences and resigns when the lies  of an administration become very obvious is
no longer in effect. George W. Bush remains the war president that he wanted to
Can much be expected from him beside this war policy? In the past, Bush was not the
president who sought negotiated solutions but created his martial reality
one-dimensionally according to the simplest model of good and evil. Bush could
become more moderate after the reelection. Domestic political, economic and social state
problems await the new old administration. The constitution after a 1952 amendment no
longer allows a second extension.
Was the question of the election: What America will the world experience in the next four
years? First of all, the question is what functions still exist for a democracy lying in
the intensive care unit of a media public that doesnt see any categorical
differences any more between show-biz and political showmanship.
Shouldnt Europes citizens or the citizens of the world participate in this
election when US governments throw their weight around as the masters of this world and
wage wars single-handedly? In Germany, war president Bush has hardly any
support. But the
clocks of the patriots tick differently in America. Even Osama Bin Laden would have voted
for Bush since a more decisive confrontation is inconceivable and the fundamentalism of
every color must be thankful for energetic opponents. Was Bin Ladens
video a crucial election campaign aid for his archenemy [Bin Laden presents himself as a
statesman (7)]? This circumstance alone that elections can be massively influenced at the
last moment is evidence of a disgraceful mood democracy that loses sight of its own
Would Watergate have been conceivable under these presuppositions? Emotionally guided
democracies have the tools for fascism. Reality becomes a media construction to which all
criticism should submit or be subordinate. Bush, the son from a super-rich house who
presents himself as a cowboy and Texan, is a media configuration like John
According to insiders, the challenger didnt want to trail the superficially jovial
but rather unapproachable Bush regarding nearness to the people. The populist smartness
of Clinton was lacking to the Vietnam veteran and Vietnam critic, district
attorney, lawyer, governor of Massachusetts and US Senator John Kerry. He can hardly be judged as a
man of the little people according to his background. On his
website, his wife
Teresa was not described as the super-rich heiress of the Heinz catsup empire who had
hardly anything to fear from his announced tax regulations.
A camel can pass through the eye of a needle more easily than a non-propertied candidate
or a candidate not highly sponsored by the economy has any chance of becoming the US
president. Kerry was slandered successfully by the republicans as a flip-flopper,
a political quick-change artist or turncoat who may have pleased very discriminating types
of voters. As nearly always happens in media democracies, the identification model who
refuses the political ambivalences and opts for a hypocritical model of lifelong
stringency. Flip-flog is the specialty of Bush who first justified his war
with and then without Iraqi weapons of mass destruction against all legitimation of
THE DARK SIDE OF POWER
In his first term in office, US president George W. Bush was the political Pinocchio fit
for satire whose ever-longer nose of lies was denounced by critics in his own camp, not
only by Michael Moore. Criticism first melted away in the dangerous aftermath of September
11. The public hid submissively because martial governments accept joking just as little
as hysterical societies. In the course of his first home run, the US president
was the target of a criticism from American and European intellectuals that was hardly
different from mockery.
Bush-bashing shifts the indispensable criticism to particulars, that is global
fragile international security needs, highly explosive polarizations up to the worst
case, the clash of cultures. Bush is not the problem but the symptom of a democracy
that is gravely endangered in its open constitutional conception of itself. This politics
knows personal responsibility only as self-justification.
Democracy is not only control by the voter, this humorous star who can be seduced by many
follies. In old Europe, democracy in its best moments was also an expression
of a political culture in the self-control of the powerful. Admissions of guilt and
resignations were self-purifications of democracy that exceed the control possibilities of
Today neoconservative men and women  believe all the time that the end justifies the
means and the choice of political methods does not ultimately concern the citizen at all.
With the Bush administration, mistakes and striking negligence were marginalized and
seeped away in the labyrinth of the secret services . How Bush deals with transparency
was documented paradigmatically through his website blocked to foreigners [Non-US citizens
are not desired by Bush (10)].
With this administration, inquisitorial security measures and prisoner of war camps 
shaming free societies were prominent. The torture practices in Abu Ghraib  tolerated
or initiated with knowledge of high-ranking persons were shameful [Tortures for National
Security (13)]. This was the greatest paradox of Bushs celebrated commission to
rescue civilization since torture was one of the reasons for war against Saddam Hussein
after the other reasons dissolved in the desert sand. Alleged enemies received new
encouragement through such methods of the free West. In Abu Ghraib, the self-righteous
belief in the humanity of the West was definitively overtaken by the blood-and-filth truth
of war, a global ideology.
A counter terror that torpedoed the American promise of freedom began behind the security
mania that is now fomented by the US government. Constant alarm about terror dangers in
America was part of this anti-democratic politics, a clockwork orange
mentality that drove voters into the republican wagon fortress. The Bush administration
can hardly be imagined without the alert-patriotism that blinds [Obvious game with terror
warnings (14)]. This fear-mongering politics that was misunderstood by many voters
prevailed in America.
The atavism of a primal-paranoia that seeks to drive out foreigners like Beelzebub is at
work here, not emotional intelligence. A one-man-journalism-machine Michael Moore
with Fahrenheit 9/11 presented a film that may be a necessary subtext of a
thoroughly hypocritical self-promotion of the American super-rich as the guardians of
civilization, not merely a polemical reckoning with Bush and his family.
HOW COULD BUSH WIN?
Political fundamentalism and security rhetoric, American internationalism  and simple
boy-scout sayings , religious bigotry and sexual servility or hypocrisy were
successful. The American patriotism that emphasizes dynamic actions more than reasons was
certainly one reason for confirming this president who is more concerned with vague
concepts of American power and glory than health care and social benefits.
Give him an Ak-47 so he can go and wage his own war. This way he can impress his
daddy. No blood for oil any more. We have to win our own battles here at
Eminem, song text Mosh
Are we going through a dark valley where boy-scout Bush tells us where to go? Bush will
continue his brutish anti-terror strategy if it can be described as a
strategy. The past
lesson of this war is: one cannot defeat terrorists in wars either in Afghanistan or
War is the powder-keg always prophesied by war opponents. Us voters do not change war
presidents. To that extent the intolerable conditions in Iraq similar to civil war may
have changed from a weak spot of this administration to an asset of an untiring warrior
and election campaigner.
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE?
The world may not expect the continuance of American internationalism. The terrorism of
fundamentalist America-haters will be given more encouragement. Further legitimating
reasons for continuing its campaigns could arise for the US government. What is Syrias
fate ? What about the nuclear ambitions of Iran [The conflict around the Iranian
nuclear program intensifies (18)]? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is one of the
central global conflicts cannot really be found in Bushs hypertrophic security
agenda any more than deactivating the north Korean potential .
In the last days of the election campaign, Bush did not tire proclaiming that he will
bring freedom to the world again, his freedom that may be similar to South Vietnams
freedom. Being successful in forcefully dismantling foreign systems has only trifling
importance for this government. New democracies deserving the name have not appeared up to
Bush has put the sympathy of American friends to the hardest test: Is there a European
solidarity between old Europe and eastern expansion against a hegemonial America? How will
he relate to the UN in the future? Is a dialogue with Islam possible? How can terrorists
be combated? Is there an international equal right for everyone? Is there an international
jurisdiction for war criminals? How much constitutional state can we still
Questions upon questions were zealously raised and hardly solved. The American action-loop
has overtaken the European leisureliness in turning to questions.
Europe is taking the Bush drastic cure in the extended time of his presidency very well.
Now reflecting on ones own virtues and viewing European democracy as an
international form of rule not limited to periodic promises under the temporary pressure
of elections are vital. An everyday model of transparent self- and foreign control that
outstrips the enemies of democracy, Islamic fundamentalists and jihadists is essential.
Democracy attracts through its execution, not by decreeing top-down democracies (http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/mein/14960/1.html)
that has accomplished nothing in Iraq and stands on shaky foundations in Afghanistan. If
the blissfulness of forced democracies does not appear in the future, western
fundamentalism versus oriental fundamentalism could define the just war-future of the next