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The horror of democracy - Ed Brock

There I sat, my hands covered in pumpkin guts, watching a documentary about President George W. Bush and the Moral Majority.

It was pretty scary, and I ain't talkin' about the eviscerated vegetable at my feet.

I think it's quite fitting the Election Day comes so soon on the heels of Halloween and indeed I had my own scary movie marathon. The first horror show I watched over the weekend (actually it was Thursday) was "In God We Trust: George W. Bush and the Rise of the Religious Right."

Actually the movie was about religious groups meddling with American politics since the 1970s, but it came to the conclusion, and rightfully so I think, that Bush is the just the president of whom the evangelists have dreamed.

Scary, yes, but it's just a movie. It was a documentary, but then again so is "Fahrenheit 9/11" and its antithesis, "Fahrenhype 9/11," but taken together they both horrified and annoyed me.

However, perhaps the scariest thing I saw over the weekend was Osama bin Laden's latest video. It left me convinced that bin Laden wants to see four more years of George W. Bush. I'll explain that in a second.

First, on the much-hyped Michael Moore film that, yes, I finally saw.

This might surprise many of you, but Moore is the last person I would allow to influence my decision today. I've had my doubts about him since "Bowling for Columbine" and having watched "Fahrenhype 9/11" my doubts are secured.

Moore will do anything to make his point, including stretching facts or just ignoring them, and that is inexcusable even if I do agree with his final analysis that Bush must go.

However, the last half of "Fahrenhype"'s name applies to itself as well as Moore's movie. Along with pointing out Moore's distortions and highlighting his idiotic statement that "there is no terrorist threat," the movie swerves far too much to the other side of the equation and ends up being an "America can do no wrong, just feel good about yourself" opus.

And it fails to really counter the fact that Iraq was a mistake, even if Ed Koch doesn't think so. I've been saying that since long before Moore's movie came out.

Indeed, it was Bush's mishandling of Iraq that really cost him my vote, along with his disturbing affiliation with those who would legislate morality. I was with him on Afghanistan, maybe not on some of the details but in concept it was something that had to be done.

And if he had simply persisted in finishing the job there, dedicating our every resource to killing or capturing bin Laden, I might actually be voting for him today. He presented his "Road Map to Peace" for Israel and Palestine, and that was a good first step. Saddam Hussein could have waited for the second Bush administration.

"Fahrenhype" makes the point, once again, that our allies France, Germany and Russia all had cut deals with Saddam for his oil once the UN sanctions were lifted. Do they expect me to believe that couldn't have been handled? Those three nations, like every other nation on the planet, are motivated by self-interest.

With time, we could have made them see that it was in their own best self-interest to overturn Saddam, especially if we had agreed to honor the oil contracts they had made, to cut them in on a major share of the pie.

After all, we were just in it for the security, right?

So my vote isn't swayed either way by any of those movies. And it certainly isn't swayed by bin Laden's wheedling "You guys started it" television appearance.

A CNN commentator made a legitimate point when he said that bin Laden's video may not have been intended to influence our election either way, but simply to capitalize on the heightened publicity it would give him.

But if he is trying to push us in some direction, it would definitely be toward Bush.

How? Well, he dismisses Kerry and Bush, but then goes on to mock Bush, saying he inherited his power from his father just like they do in the Middle East.

And apparently bin Laden has also seen "Fahrenheit 9/11" because he makes a point of saying that Bush's hesitancy in leaving that classroom on the day of the attack gave bin Laden's people more time to do their dirty work.

Now, I think Bush should have gotten up as soon as he heard about the second plane despite Ari Fleischer's advice for him to stay put. He could have done so in a fashion that would also allay our growing panic and make us feel like he was actually doing something about the situation.

And considering the fact that Bush had to know that he was a primary target, I think it would behoove him to get clear of a school full of children.

But I don't want to hear bin Laden saying that, and I think bin Laden knows that. I think he knows that by insulting Bush, he makes it very difficult for Americans to vote against the president.

After all, bin Laden is the enemy. We don't want to do what the enemy wants, so if Bin Laden doesn't like Bush, well, we should vote for him, right?

The thing is, I think bin Laden loves Bush. Bin Laden knows that Bush's handling and timing of the war in Iraq has been a tremendous boost to bin Laden's cause. It has made us look like a bunch of evil, oppressive demons because, in a war, it's hard to seem otherwise.

Thus, we have given al Quaida a country, if not a world, full of new recruits.

So as I write this I plan to get up early today and hit the polls. Hearing about the two-hour wait times for last week's advanced voting and the fact that the wait may be just as long today, my heathen socialist wife told me it wasn't worth it, that my one vote wouldn't matter anyway.

Sure, statistically my vote won't have much impact on the final result, especially since I live in a state that Bush will undoubtedly carry. But my vote means a lot to me, especially this time, and it's definitely worth the effort.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com .