By Ruether, Rosemary Radford
National Catholic Reporter , Vol. 40, No. 38
There are critical, urgent reasons why George W. Bush should be defeated in the 2004 presidential election and his team removed from national political power. The trajectory of global crisis in terms of poverty, environmental degradation and monopolization of dominating power and wealth by a small, mostly Western elite has grown alarmingly in the last few decades. There is a growing world consensus about the direction that needs to be taken to ameliorate this crisis, manifest in assemblies such as the World Social Forum, which has met yearly since 2001. Humans must convert their economic systems toward more sustainable ways of living together with each other and the earth.
The Bush administration, however, represents a reactionary set of policies that opposes every aspect of what needs to be done to lessen this global crisis and begin to turn it around. They seek to set in stone a global imperial regime that will exacerbate the crisis and thereby assure violent inter-human conflict and environmental degradation. I will lay out five dimensions of this clash between two different directions of the human trajectory, the one represented by enlightened world opinion and the other by reactionary imperialism, represented by the Bush administration.
* Corporate wealth and world poverty: Since the 1970s, there has been increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a corporate elite at the expense of most humans and the environment. Eighty-six percent of the world's resources are in the hands of 20 percent of the world's people, mostly concentrated in the top 1 percent. This is a formula for extreme global conflict. The Bush administration determinedly bends its domestic and foreign policy toward reinforcing this concentration of wealth by giving tax cuts to the rich and by using the U.S. military to control world resources.
* Environment: There is an urgent need to reverse the trends toward global warming, air and water pollution, deforestation, the disappearance of species and the accumulation of toxic waste that erodes the fertility of the land. The Bush administration, however, has withdrawn from the Kyoto climate treaty and continually undermines the laws that have been developed in the United States and worldwide to ameliorate this danger to the environment.
* Militarism: There is also an urgent need to stop the arms race that developed during the Cold War and to convert the world political community toward negotiated settlements of conflicts. The Bush administration represents a determined escalation of militarism, doubling the American military budget from its Cold War high, reaching almost half of all world military expenditures. It seeks to use an expanded U.S. military for global political and economic dominance.
* Civil liberties: In spite of its claims to champion "democracy," the Bush administration has contempt for public opinion and self-determination. Under the guise of an endless war on terrorism, it seeks to undermine basic safeguards of human rights at home and worldwide. The Bush administration has worked continually to expand the powers of the president at the expense of other branches of government, for example, arrogating from the legislature the right to declare war. It has also claimed the right to strip those accused of being "terrorists" of their constitutional rights and to spy on citizens in many areas of private life. …