Like so many people around the world, I've been spending a good amount of time watching the news and web surfing for stories about the Bhutto assassination. One of the best analyses comes from Juan Cole, writing for Salon.com, focusing on Bush's ever-worsening 'Musharraf problem.' The article is especially useful for recounting the various crackdowns and exacerbations of political tensions committed by Musharraf over the last couple years. Cole ends his article with a recommendation that George W. Bush insist that Musharaff reinstate the dismissed Supreme Court justices, and that a strong demand for accountability is his only chance of getting out of this mess. But that's almost the same as telling Bush to admit that he made mistakes, and we all know that will never happen.
It is at times like this, when the incredible blunders of a head of state and leader of a nation become freshly apparent all over again, that I sit at home and wonder all over again, what can we ordinary citizens do about this? Barring anything utterly catastrophic and truly world-changing, Bush and his administration are with us for another year, basically untouchable and, given the congressional track record, virtually unstoppable. Most citizens are focusing on what and who comes after Bush as our only realistic way to back the US away from the edge of total disaster.
Investing huge and/or exclusive amounts of time and resources in the upcoming elections is a double-edged sword. On the leading edge are the positives: you'll feel empowered and constructively involved. On the back edge–the edge that always cuts you when you think the fighting is over–is the inevitability of disappointment. For one thing, your candidate may not win. Even if your candidate does win, there's every expectation based on all past historical evidence that nothing much will change substantively anyway. After all, it's the presidency we're talking about–an office locked into historical realities if there ever was one. Therefore, it stands to reason that we, the regular folks of the upper midwest a wintry world away from the distress in Pakistan, should use this moment of crisis to reinvigorate our long term efforts in all those projects that don't depend entirely on representative government, and keep building that alternative infrastructure, whatever that means.
But we'll probably give the Barack Obama campaign another $25, just for the heck of it.