Many of us can recall a time as children when we were gripped by irrational fears. Those fears controlled many aspects of our young lives. One such fear was our belief in the ‘Boogie Man.’ While we never actually saw the Boogie Man, we instinctively knew that he lurked in the dark recesses of our room and meant to do us harm. His evil presence was palpably felt and had a profound effect upon our mood, and our behavior.
Sometimes when my two sisters and I were especially rowdy—presumably in a vain attempt to frighten us into submission—our parents warned us that the Boogie Man was coming to take us away. Only our good behavior, our compliance to our parent’s wishes, could keep him at bay.
As Michael Moore aptly demonstrated in his documentary “Bowling for Columbine”, we have a long national history of being afraid of Boogie Men. The first white settlers to land here were afraid of everything. They feared the vastness of the North American continent, the unbroken wilderness, wild animals, Indians, and one another—a whole cadre of Boogie Men that continues to this day.
Once again, especially since the events of September 11, 2000, we witness yet
another attempt to frighten us into submission by self appointed authority figures—George
Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft. These daring and fearless warriors have
brought with them a vast array of Boogie Men designed to frighten us into submission.
In the latest incarnation of evil they have brought us such notable ‘golden oldies’
as Osama Bin Laden and their all time favorite whipping boy, Saddam Hussein. And
isn’t it wonderful to see that Bin Laden has come back from the dead to make headlines
Now, try not to be too frightened. I have it on good authority (my parents told me when I was twelve) that the Boogie Man isn’t real. Neither is Santa Claus or the Hamburglar. I know that this may come as quite a shock; but bear with me. This is important.
However, in order to justify their complete and utter contempt for working people, education, the environment, and health care, rampant corporate corruption, the faltering economy, the falling stock market, union busting, class warfare, racism and bigotry—the Bush regime has had to reintroduce the Boogie Man. This was tactically necessary in order to justify the hugely bloated military budget that usurps funds from worthwhile programs that would benefit the vast majority of American citizens. These tremendous expenditures can only be justified in the face of credible threats—such as the Boogie Man.
Bush’s corporate cowboys stand to make billions of dollars by waging perpetual war around the planet. In fact, these paragons of virtue have been getting rich for decades off the profits of crime, as well as the illicit overthrow of democracy both at home and on foreign soils. What is the murder of a few million people, most of them brown-skinned, when there is money to be made? We need that oil so that we can drive our SUV’s to the mailbox. What could be more just and right than blood for oil for such noble purposes? Perpetual war is good for the ruling class; it puts countless numbers of lazy poor folk out of their misery. We need that canon fodder too. Of course, it is purely coincidence that so many retired generals have found work as lobbyists for the defense industry. It is also purely a coincidence that they pander expensive high tech weapons systems that are not needed or required by the military; while the enormous expense is foisted upon unsuspecting American tax payers.
Meanwhile, thousands of Vietnam and Gulf War veterans are suffering from mysterious
health maladies that are almost certainly caused by exposure to toxins such as
agent orange, biological weapons, and depleted uranium-tipped munitions; sickness
that the government refuses to acknowledge and treat, much less pay for. And Bush
and Rumsfeld complain about Hussein—patron saint of virtue that he is—gassing
the Kurds? Think of these sacrifices as necessary collateral damage in support
of the corporate oligarchy. We all need to make sacrifices because the Boogie
Man is coming. The jaws of capitalism are insatiable; they require constant feeding
of raw materials such as oil and human flesh.
But these selfless acts of courage—including the bombing of defenseless third
world countries into oblivion—on behalf of rich white men are necessary. We should
all feel proud to be an American; we should all be grateful for the wisdom these
intellectual and moral giants bring to us; the enlightenment—the example—they
provide us is truly wonderful. Clearly, the ‘compassionate conservatives’ are
men of great character. We should praise them for restoring dignity and honor
to the White House. Their wit and wisdom is obviously—even blatantly—superior
to that of ordinary people like us.
They tell us there are Boogie Men out there. They tell us they are all over the place. I saw it on the news. I read about it in the newspapers. There were stories about it in Time magazine. So it must be true. The Boogie Man is coming; and he may already be moving among us. Beware!
What was that noise over there in the dimly lit corner of my office? Could it be the Boogie Man? No, it’s just John Ashcroft watching over me and keeping me safe. Isn’t it great to be an American?
Charles Sullivan is a wild forest activist, writer, muckraker, and cabinetmaker who resides in rural West Virginia.