Thursday, April 15, 2004

Is the Nightmare Over?

As my computer was down I had time to engage in that antiquated activity: reading stuff on paper pages. I re-read the Onion satire from 2000 on the Bush presidency ("Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over'"), and as others have said, what is scary about this satire is that it turned out not to be a satire at all, but a very good forecast of what has actually taken place.

If you don't believe me, read for yourself:

"Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of the hospitals and onto the street."

If this is satire, it's very weak. Now consider these more detailed predictions:

"During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years."

"On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further."

Both of these predictions have turned out to be true, though Bush is having the tax hikes done through the state taxes rather than the federal ones. I also found this prediction very relevant:

"Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as "a tireless champion in the battle to protect a woman's right to give birth"."

Once again, not satire at all. That's the problem with our current administration: it's pretty much impossible to satirize them by using exaggeration. It just won't work. I know this from personal experience: I once tried writing a satire entitled "The American Right's Advice to Mothers". What I came up with would have been regarded as a serious academic treatise by a very large number of right-wingers. This is most depressing, and yet another reason to vote in a Democratic administration come November.