Whatever one might say about Michael MooreÕs Fahrenheit 9/11, he sure got one thing right: the ending. Never have I heard and felt so strongly in my mind that lyric and call to action of the Who: ÒDonÕt Be Fooled Again.Ó
Texans know George W. Bush better than anyone. He went to the White House with our best wishes, our good will, and a large majority of the votes cast in Texas. But the presidency of George W. Bush has been a disaster. He has trampled on what he promised to do in 2000, and itÕs only going to get worse if heÕs re-elected.
And make no mistake about it: With all respect for his office, his family, and his public service when he was governor of Texas, President Bush is the problem. ItÕs not his aides, and itÕs not his cabinet. Harry Truman said it for the ages: The buck stops with the president. George W. Bush is in command of a failed presidency. He has violated our trust, our pride, and our honor as Texans and citizens of the United States.
Long ago, I tumbled out of a helicopter to a landing in the mud in front of marines who realized with alarm that I was the lieutenant sent to command their infantry platoon in Vietnam. Now my 26-year-old son is in an Air Force para-rescue special operations unitÑin his second combat tour of Afghanistan and Iraq. I am proud of him and terrified for him. ItÕs the pride and dread of any parent whose son or daughter who steps forward to defend our country in times of war. But my anxiety is compounded by my realization that I have more faith in my sonÕs character and the dedication of his comrades than I have in the judgment of the commander-in-chief who has put them in harmÕs way. IÕve never been much of a political activist before. But IÕm convinced this presidential election is the most important in my lifetime.
Why elect John?
On the issue of Vietnam and the garbage peddlers who think they can fool voters by slandering the war record of John Kerry, I can only say theyÕve sure got some gall. It takes plenty of nerve and skill to fly a jet fighter, but in that war Lieutenant Bush chose his enlistment to stay away from the duty station where bullets were flying. IÕve respected John Kerry for thirty-five years because he fought and led bravely and because he spoke up for brothers who were being asked to go on dying in a mission-less war that cynical politicians had already decided to lose. I admire John Kerry because he served his community as a hard-nosed criminal prosecutor. I admire Senator John Kerry because he and John McCain brought resolution and healing to the issue of American POWs-MIAs in Southeast Asia. IÕll vote for John Kerry to be my president because I know he has the conscience and range to address our enormous problems at home. IÕll vote for John Kerry because I know he has the backbone and integrity to defend our nation against all enemies and restore our standing among friends who fear weÕve forgotten our historic principles and lost our way.
Essay written for email promotion drive of the Texas Arts Community. All other rights reserved William Broyles, Jr. A native of Baytown, Bill Broyles was the founding editor of Texas Monthly and the editor-in-chief of Newsweek. He wrote about his experience as a marine officer in Vietnam in his book Brothers in Arms and as creator of the TV series China Beach. His screenwriting credits include Cast Away and the Oscar-nominated Apollo 13.
In this media-saturated age, sound bites stand in for truth, and image becomes reality. By virtue of the bully pulpit of his presidency, George W. Bush has become the image of Texas, and it appears to the nation--even to the world--that this man is the very ethos of the Texas mind and heart. Too many people believe that the President defines what it means to be a Texan, that his walk is our walk, that his talk is our talk, his politics are our politics, his values are our values.
The idea that Bush "represents" Texas is a widespread public perception largely because we haven't given the rest of the country, or the world, any reason to believe otherwise. We aid and abet this perception by withholding our protests to the contrary and by remaining silent in the face of presidential bad faith politics and presidential bad behavior that staggers the mind.
The Texas Arts Community political group refuses to be a part of this silence any longer. We are going to speak up and tell the world that this president doesn't represent us, and he doesn't own us. He doesn't own our minds. He doesn't own our voices. And he sure as hell doesn't own our votes. In fact, we boldly reject everything he stands for.
We plan to run our protest in the New York Times because we think an ad there will gain the greatest "echo" effect for our message. Other media (radio, wire services, other newspapers, network television, cable television, internet, as well as foreign media) routinely monitor the Times and pick up its stories to run in their own venues. We want to use that echo-chamber to spread the word about a different kind of Texas from the one the White House is promoting to the world.
Refusing to remain silent in the face of the Bush administration's deceptions is a kind of rebellion, and we want people to know that many Texans are, indeed, in a state of revolt. We want to spread the word that George W. Bush has trouble right here in his own back yard--with us, and with the many people who agree with us that Bush's vision of America is not our vision.
This is no small decision. Everyone is Texas is acutely aware of the infamous and legendary payback principle that operates in the background of the Bush political machine: "You cross us, and we'll never forget it. Someway, somehow, we'll get even." This implicit threat is so pervasive in Bush / Rove politics that silence has become a way of life for many in Texas. But that's about to change.
If there was ever a time to speak out, it's now. This is no time for silence. "Texans in revolt" is not just a Texas story, it's a national story. And within the context of this particular election, it is a BIG national story. If we speak up with brio and conviction, we can change minds and create new possibilities. And we can remind people that this noble nation was created by great ideas and great ideals riding on the shoulders of a revolution. We can do it again, by claiming our own independence from the selfish politics of this Texan president.
(c) David Lindsey Essay written for email promotion drive of the Texas Arts Community. David Lindsey, the author of thirteen novels, lives in Austin. His latest novel is The Face of the Assassin (2004). His novel The Rules of Silence (2003) was purchased by Universal Studios and is now in feature film development. www.davidlindsey.com
Texas Weekly, August 26, 2004
A gang of Texas artists, writers, musicians and assorted entertainers Ð some well known, some not Ð are trying to pull together $140,000 for a full-page ad in The New York Times. Their message: They're from here and they're not for George W. Bush's reelection. Officially, they're calling themselves the Texas Arts Community and they're raising money through a website Ð www.txac.org. So far, they've got almost 300 names and say they're close to having the money for the ad (a copy of which is on the website). They're also planning some high jinks during the GOP convention that they call the Saltgrass Roots campaign. They're hooking up with other groups Ð BushWatch.org and DriveDemocracy.org, to name two Ð to provide running commentary while their rivals convene.
Web Posted: 08/28/2004 12:00 AM CDT
Peggy Fikac, Chief, SA Express-News Austin Bureau
AUSTIN Ñ Natalie Maines isn't alone.
Several hundred Texas musicians, writers, artists and entertainers have signed on to an initiative opposing the re-election of George W. Bush. It includes a drive to raise money for advertising, including a full-page ad in the New York Times. It was launched Friday with an email to Texans through groups that include DriveDemocracy.org.
Members of the Texas Arts Community, which is driving the campaign, also will comment on Republican National Convention goings-on through postings on the DriveDemocracy.org blog.
Among those involved in the effort is singer Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, who last year angered a number of country fans when she told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The Chicks have signed on with a concert tour opposing Bush.
The proposed ad says, "We are Texans. The Texan in the White House doesn't speak for us. Join us, members of the Texas arts community, in rejecting the arrogance and recklessness of the Bush administration. America can once again be the hope of the world. Let your voices be heard on Nov. 2."
Gov. Rick Perry, who became governor when Bush moved to the White House, said: "The First Amendment's a great thing, and that's certainly their right.
"But the real hope of the world is a president that stops terrorists from flying aircraft into our buildings and killing our citizens. The hope of the world from my perspective is a president who has freed a country like Afghanistan and Iraq from brutal dictators ...," Perry said. "They are free to protest and to say what they would like. I think they are substantially misguided."
Author David Liss of San Antonio said he's part of the effort to "articulate my opinion on a large scale."
"My views are not necessarily being represented by mainstream media," Liss said.
He said he agrees with critics of "he said-she said" campaign coverage.
"One side might say, 'My opponent likes to eat babies,' but a spokesman of the opponent says that's not true. Each position is being given an equal amount of validity," Liss said. "It's not always easy to tell where the truth lies.
"By joining an effort with a large group of other people who are expressing their disapproval of this administration, it perhaps conveys a message that there are people who are paying attention and reached a conclusion based on valid evidence," he said.
Texas artists band together to oppose Bush
AUSTIN -- Writers, musicians and artists from Texas are banding together to oppose the re-election of President Bush.
The political action committee the Texas Arts Community began its Saltgrass Roots of Texas campaign on Friday.
The group wants to raise enough money to place a full-page ad in The New York Times.
It says the ad will "let the nation and world hear the voices of the real Texas."
The group claims to have more than 300 members.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he thinks the group is "substantially misguided."
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Lindsay Taylor said she thinks more people agree with President Bush than with the Texas Arts Community.