Super Bowl drug commercials embody larger Bush agenda
The commcercials aired on Super Bowl Sunday linking American drug users with terrorism made for a particularly baleful chapter in the Bush administration’s ongoing crusade to use Sept. 11 to emblazon a conservative agenda with the colors of patriotism. Bush rose out of the rubble of the WTC, and he has bounced back from a controversial election to enjoy the highest approval ratings of any US president since Roosevelt. With God, America, and some semblance of international sympathy on his side, the Bush administration will ride this patriotic wave to the shores of any country or policy that it so pleases.
Bush is currently capitalizing on the heightened emotions, fear, and frailty of the nation to push his personal political agendas in the face of international sympathy and American patriotism. He is prodding a prone people and his negligent opportunism should be infuriating students at Washington University. In pugnaciously polarizing every issue to “for us or against us,” “West vs. East,” and “‘axis of evil’ vs. Operation Infinate Justice”, Bush is taxing international sympathy and reinforcing ignorant and arrogant American stereotypes.
Since September, Bush’s rhetoric has mirrored bin-Laden’s in its religious overtures and blatant manipulation.
To speak against Bush in America displays an unfashionable and even treasonous lack of patriotism, at least in the US. Internationally Bush is a great leader, harnessing all the fear and frustration of foreigners by sticking his face on the screen and talking the tough Texan-line, alienating sympathizers and stirring up enemies.
Just as the term jihad has been perverted by bin-Laden to apply to violent sacrifice not taught in the Koran, the loaded word patriotism is being used to sell cars, beer, and the War on Drugs. As most of America saw super-bowl Sunday, the national government aired a series of ads that linked the War on Terrorism to the War on Drugs. Mimicking a MasterCard commercial, these anti-drug ads claimed that American drug users were responsible for funding terrorist organizations. This may apply to the 10% of poppy-processed drugs (opium and heroin) sold in the US from that area, but the claim is not applicable to anything approaching a sizable percentage of the drug use in this country.
Most anti-ads use scare tactics, but these anti-drug ads aired during the Super Bowl tapped into fear while simultaneously pulling a patriotic guilt trip on socially conscious users, again polarizing drug usage to pit the clean American patriot versus the substance-using terrorist sympathizer. According to The Washington Post, the $3.5 million dollars spent on these commercials comes out of the $10 million dollars allotted for just that: uniting two domestic wars.
This is an example of how fear acts like a snowball; gaining support, saturation, and controversial issues as it speeds down Capitol Hill and throughout society. Bush is having a heck of a time throwing snow around, but let’s wait to see how long it is until his fingers get cold. He has thick gloves though, for the aforementioned $10 million dollars is nothing compared to the total $180 million dollars set aside for a PR campaign for the War on Drugs.
This attack on American drug-users, and Bush’s expanding international agenda, are the first signs of America spreading blame beyond an illusive and infamous bin Laden. It is about time he shared the limelight gallows, but if anyone should take blame it should be Bush Sr. for funding, training, and endorsing the Taliban and bin-Laden’s insurrections against the Soviet Union. Conscientious and patriotic students should question our representation. They should ask why drug users are tagged for funding terrorism while the CIA, car companies, and military contractors have pro-America PR campaigns.
These tactics are reminiscent of the McCarthy era, only terrorism has replaced communism as America’s outside and unifying threat. Pull the tails of the American public to wag the dog.
While Bush’s polarized porkbarreling of private agendas is not contained to the War on Drugs, it is one of the most controversial domestic topics today. Such subtle and subversive steps call for conscious skepticism in the face of sweeping patriotism so that politicians don’t pour any more water on a raging grease-fire. To keep America rolling, as GM so eloquently corrupted, people need to challenge the simple and the rash to remain bold and free.
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