Most people cannot tell the difference between cause and effect. They see the effect and, passively, figure that if they slash at that, they'll end the problem. Then when it returns again, they're baffled, and figure some evil conspiracy has made a fool of them. They're partially right - the "evil conspiracy" is the limits of their own intelligence, and this is why our ancestors created caste systems: most people lack the capacity to participate meaningfully in politics.
Back in the 1980s, when our actor-cum-president decided that a war on drugs was necessary to save the American people, we had a festival of confusion of cause and effect. Drugs were the cause: not prevailing misery at empty lives, an excess of wealth and a dearth of worthy causes, or an overall sense of decay like the scent of dead rat under a distant eve. So we fought drugs and let the causes slumber, to the effect that this day drugs are as popular as ever, but instead we have a paramilitary police hiring millions to fight them. Because we did not see the cause, we adopted it as a parasite.
Another situation of note is the war on terrorism: by the very nature of this name, we assume terrorism is the problem, and not our fundamentally broken foreign policy that will leave us boxed into a corner. Our allies are obligated to be friendly; when our back breaks in the next Viet Nam, they will begin edging away, knowing that when every bully gets weak, out come the detractors who swarm around him and devour him, such that only bones are left. We assume terrorists have no cause, and are both cause and effect in themselves, while idly supporting their enemies and bombing their countries in the name of two religions that history has taught them are hostile.
Right now, many people want to put their heads back under the blanket and go to sleep after having swatted off the alarm clock, and that alarm clock is G.W. Bush, our President. He is not a cause, but an effect; the cause is a fragmentation of America and a lack of real solutions, so people tend toward the guy with the most realistic and simplistic answer to our problems. It is a fond but delusional hope that got him elected, and an equal and opposite deluded response that impeaching him will solve anything. He is not the cause, but its result; impeaching him will give us several more years of palliative democracy, and make our problems even worse because, like cancer, the gravest problems cannot be immediately seen.
If we wish to extend the metaphor, even politics itself only addresses effect. We have become so detached from the cause - the decline of our values, the loss of a culture in common, the loss of belief in ourselves, and the adulteration of our population with morons - that we believe an election, a handful of laws, or maybe a good war can solve our situation. No; we have taken it beyond salvage, as far as those means are concerned. Politics in this age deals only with effects, because to address the cause is to unmake our current form of politics.
Impeachment will strengthen our disease by hiding its symptoms. It will make us feel good for some time, while our failings within gain strength and, not being appeased, will return with a vengeance. It will make us popular with people who do not ultimately care about our welfare, as they realize that under both Democratic and Republican presidencies they have been bombed, invaded, or taunted with financial aid that comes with many strings attached. They do not confuse cause and effect: we are the cause, their misfortune is the effect. Therefore, they wish to see us go -- and quickly.
We might feel better, as if watching a cartoon, when we slay the dragon and go home in a golden wreath of symbolic glory, but this is also a case of confusing cause and effect. The dragons and parasites and enemies are here because we invited them, as our system rotted and we fought increasingly among ourselves, and we continue to invite them, because we have no values system to replace our original one, and therefore settle upon "if it's profitable, it must be good." That is like sending a battle-cry to the hounds of hell to come here, dress in suits, and begin tearing up the prize to divide and scurry away with. Impeachment does not address these circumstances.
I do not write this article in support of Mr. Bush, but rather out of lack of support for any of the candidates, and recognition that deposing one figurative head of government for another who will not solve the problem is like taking a massive bong hit and pretending the real problem does not exist. You do not fix problems by addressing effects, but by tackling their causes, and if your current political system makes it "offensive" or "unpopular" to attack those causes, then your current political system is part of the cause. It is it - that political system that prevents you from taking action - that you must impeach.
June 29, 2005