Take to the streets

By By letter to the editor 2

By letter to the editor 2


Tomorrow, a historic event will occur in Salt Lake City. In the state in which President Bush has the highest approval rating in the country, citizens will come out en masse to mark Bush’s visit with a?broad-based protest of his policies. There will be a rally Wednesday at Washington Square (City and County Building).

Last year, 3,000 people came to a similar rally. This year’s rally is much better organized, and the response and press coverage are beyond expectations. Therefore, 5,000 or more can be expected. This will send a message to the other states, and indeed the entire world, that, even in Utah, people are no longer content to be mute. It is easy to see that Bush’s policies are bad, not only bad for the little people who always bear the brunt of things, but even bad for the U.S. empire itself. Bush hoped to use Saddam Hussein’s unpopularity as pretext for a strategic grab of an area rich in natural resources, but his failure shows how limited the world’s most advanced military is in practice.

His breach of basic constitutional guarantees for U.S. citizens and his disregard of the Geneva Convention has whittled away the admiration and goodwill the United States has enjoyed throughout the world, and maintaining U.S. hegemony will be much more difficult in the future because of this. His blatant transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich through his tax policies, his efforts to dismantle the Social Security system and his chipping-away of the welfare system have created a polarized society in which wages are so low that they are no longer sufficient to live. If wages are this low, profits suffer as well.

A mother who is distracted at work because the children are at home alone, unsupervised; an employee who cannot quit a job he hates because he would lose health insurance and would end up uninsurable; people who resent their work because they are so blatantly underpaid-all this is not good for business.

Finally, Bush’s denial and disregard of environmental issues may perhaps be good for the oil industry in the short run, but disqualifies the United States as a global leader and prevents us from taking leadership in energy-saving and alternate-energy technologies.

In short, no single individual has done more damage to the U.S. empire than G. W. Bush. We are witnessing a situation in which the ruling elite is too greedy to act in the best interest of the system that favors it. People sense that they are needed to give a counterweight. This is why ordinary people, who do not consider themselves as revolutionaries at all, are taking to the streets now.

One can only hope that people won’t stop there, but will feel the power that they have. They are able, if they want, to build a society that is no longer an empire that sucks wealth out of the rest of the world and destroys our environment. They are able, once again, to make the United States a country that can serve as a beacon of hope for others.

For more information on the rally, go to: www.utahvoices.org.

Hans G. Ehrbar?

Associate Professor, Economics