Does anyone else feel like they stepped through a time warp this summer?
Everyone seems to be into retro styles.
Peasant blouses, slit-sleeve shirts and old-school sneakers are all the rage. Bellbottoms are still around after several years of revival.
Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising was the number-one album and The Who had one of the season’s biggest tours.
With popular nostalgia on the rise, I am finding it harder and harder to believe the Bush administration’s assertion that it does not base its policy on public opinion.
No, I don’t mean that President Bush has taken to wearing a pair of Pumas around the ranch instead of his fancy cowboy boots.
What he has done is craft a domestic and foreign policy agenda reminiscent of the bygone days of civil rights abuse and overblown military spending.
John Ashcroft is leading this retro-policy trend with ’50s and ’60s style scare tactics. When he is not busy composing fundamentalist hymns on his electronic keyboard, our Attorney General is hard at work denouncing his policies’ critics as unpatriotic, a la Joe McCarthy.
Ashcroft also came up with Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System), a program through which utility workers, postal workers and truck drivers could report “suspicious” activities.
J. Edgar Hoover couldn’t have done better.
Fortunately, the Postal Service and Congress have rejected TIPS.
Bush himself is more into the fads of the late ’80s and early ’90s, although I doubt he is a fan of Nirvana.
Following the ways of his father, President Bush refused to attend the recent summit on the environment and sustainable development in Johannesburg, despite the fact that over 100 world leaders were at the meeting.
This year’s summit was nicknamed “Rio plus 10” because it was the tenth anniversary of the first summit, held in Rio di Janeiro.
When Bush’s father was president, he refused to attend the original conference, although he did sit at the meeting for a few hours.
One of the biggest agreements to come out of the Rio summit was to return global greenhouse gas levels to 1990 standards.
Bush (the first one) denounced this pact, as well as the bio-diversity agreement that came out of the meeting.
The accord on global warming was codified in the 1997 Kyoto treaty, which set mandatory greenhouse gas reductions. Bush #2 rejected Kyoto as one of his first acts of office.
Bush and company have one last thing they want to bring back: war on Saddam Hussein.
For the past several months they have been trying to convince us that Iraq poses a threat to the United States and that a preemptive strike is necessary, despite the lack of evidence to support their claims.
Fashion trends usually end up going too far, and our current obsession with retro is no different.
Let’s keep the platform shoes and classic rockers who still rock, but leave the environmental destruction and indefinite detention of suspected terrorists on the shelf.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org