Where are the tumbrels when we need them? Dust off the guillotine. We need a new revolution.
As George "Let Them Eat Cake" Bush is sworn in for a second term in office, there's a reason why security for his coronation is so fierce. He's managed to make himself the most hated man in the world. He's giving Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin a good run for their money without putting one Jew in a concentration camp or eating one of his victims for lunch.
While Bush thinks the recent election was a validation of his policies, the real numbers are somewhere else. He begins his second term with the lowest approval rating - around 50 percent - of any two-term president since 1957. Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon tied at 59 percent.
The country is split down the middle, and instead of holding out a conciliatory hand, Bush believes he is beloved. From his point of view, he's probably right. We know his handlers have orders to keep bad news away from him. So what is a car bombing or two, with Americans and Iraqis littering the streets with their blown-apart bodies, when he can see a picture of people cheering as a school reopens - one that was closed when he bombed it and killed everyone in its neighborhood in the first place?
While the rabid right-wing Christians attack Darwin and the theory of evolution, Vice-President Dick Cheney has hung out his "America for Sale" sign.
The Social Security pool, which for decades has kept old people from begging on the streets, is being turned over to Wall Street; they have their straws out, ready to suck it up. The insurance industry is getting a lid on malpractice damages - God help the patients. The pharmaceutical industry - well, we don't even want to think what they're getting, but prominent among the drugs we will not see any time soon is one that increases female sexual pleasure.
Our armies are stretched incredibly thin, yet in his hubris, as we learned this week, Bush is preparing to attack Iran.
What are the 50 percent of us who did not vote for Bush - those of us who think a country should - at the very least - attack us before we bomb them into the Stone Age, who believe America is a compassionate place, who want a health care system that - gasp! - actually provides health care we can afford, who don't believe anything this administration says - what are we supposed to do?
It is not enough to turn our backs as Bush's motorcade passes, or to refuse to spend any money on Coronation Day. Petulance is not the answer. Action is.
I have said this before, and I believe it with all my heart: Bush and Cheney are bullies, and bullies back down when they are confronted. We must confront them - over and over again.
The other day, a woman I adore told me that she agreed with one of my columns. "Don't let me speak for you," I yelled. "You
do something yourself." I was speaking out of frustration, true, but if greed, arrogance, ignorance, selfishness, corruption, patriarchy, Christian demagoguery, homophobia, sexual repression and aggression are to be our country's prevailing culture, then imagine what a great counter-culture the other 50 percent of us can create if we get moving now!
We can serve as watchdogs so our local and state elections do not become as smoothly rigged as our national ones. We can find town and state officials who respond to our concerns and support them - in time, they may move up the food chain to Washington. We can run for office ourselves.
We can start taking back the Democratic party; Ralph Nader had the right idea, but starting a new party will take too long.
We can vote with our money. Friends don't let friends buy from right-wing Republicans.
We can organize. We can hold letter-writing and phone call parties. And we must write our own letters to elected officials and newspapers - not copy the ones from MoveOn. Our representatives may not answer back - they're too busy kneeling in supplication before the throne - but their staff reads and tallies constituent concerns. They all want to keep their cushy jobs, so if enough citizens push, they may cave in.
We can write checks. We can push the somnambulant organizations we belong to - the environmental ones, AARP - until they become totally activist.
And most of all, we can enjoy ourselves in every way. It doesn't do any good to feel helpless, to moan, groan and preach despair and gloom. These times are gloomy and despairing enough.
We might not be able to keep Cheney and Bush from invading Iran or selling off America at a big yard sale to which we - the people - are not invited, but down the road we may start to see results. At the very least we'll have a good time, and taking action will help us sleep at night.
Remember, anything is possible. Nixon won a second term and was forced out of office two years later.
We need a revolution, and we need to start it now. Otherwise we'll all be meeting at the concentration camps, where our options will be much, much more limited.
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who lives in Vermont and writes about culture, politics, economics and travel. She can be reached at email@example.com.