If you believe in freedom and democracy, the 2000 elections could not have gone better. What we have in the USA is an occupation government, like the Nazi occupation of France except more subtle. But this occupation did not begin with the Bush coup in 2000. The Bush coup was a sub-coup, a coup within a coup. The USA has been fully occupied now for more than a hundred years.
The occupation took a long time and began much earlier. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 is only a wordy repeat of the Sedition Act of 1798, which criminalized "intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States" and participation in "writing, printing, uttering or publishing" anything the government didn't like. The American federal government was merely beginning to do what governments always do -- become a channel for abusive power.
If you think Bush is bad, consider another Republican president, who acted against the Constitution and in defiance of the Supreme Court to jail citizens indefinitely without giving a reason, who had people arrested and tried by military courts merely for publicly speaking against him and his war, who got 600,000 people killed so he could ruin the country, but because he was so intelligent and competent, got what he wanted and is credited to this day with saving the country. I'm talking about Abraham Lincoln.
In 1858, Lincoln said "I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." In 1862 he wrote "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it." Lincoln was finally compelled to oppose slavery only to popularize his crusade to brutally crush the legal secession of the southern states, which was itself a means for his totalitarian ambition to redefine the "united states" as one state, a single centralized power in which the formerly autonomous states are merely subservient divisions. (At the moment only right-wingers are bashing Lincoln. See Thomas DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln.)
Lincoln's successful centralization enabled the next stage of the occupation. By this time, capitalism was already being replaced by the economic system we have had ever since -- corporate socialism, where the government actively channels money from the people to very large anticompetitive monoliths of capital. And a big corporation can more easily control one central government, far removed from the people, than many smaller quirkier governments closer to the people.
The first big corporations were the railroads. In 1864, Lincoln signed the Northern Pacific land grant, giving railroads 40 million acres, or more than 60,000 square miles of public land, for conditions which the railroads failed to meet. Later, much of this land passed illegally to timber companies which still hold it today. (See Derrick Jensen and George Draffan, Railroads And Clearcuts.)
In 1886 the occupation became complete, when the convenient 14th Amendment, ostensibly written to abolish slavery, was interpreted to give corporations, giant machines for separating profit from responsibility, the rights of human beings.
By this time, the education system was already being turned into a mind control system to make Americans stupid and obedient enough to submit to rule by corporations and strong central government. (See John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education.) Look around and see how successful it has been! Except for a few minor loosenings, like the antitrust and labor and environmental movements, and the cultural half-awakenings of the last 40 years, the American Empire has just been getting tighter and tighter around the throats of its subjects, channeling more and more of the power to behemoth engines of exploitation and their elite human collaborators.
But in 2000, the occupying forces stumbled. Drunk and dull-witted with arrogance and hubris, they blew a critical move. Al Gore Jr. was groomed and perfectly suited to lead the occupation government. Cautious, sensible, extremely knowledgeable, an enthusiastic supporter of the WTO and corporate globalization, the man who personally persuaded Bill Clinton to sign welfare reform and screw the poor worse than any Republican, yet popular with liberals, Al Gore had the skills and disposition to work with a Republican congress and lay the foundation to keep the occupation strong for many more years.
Instead of following through with Gore, the ruling powers allowed a faction, associates of the sinister ex-president George Herbert Walker Bush, to install Bush's simple-minded son George W. Bush, a man who could have been a great gym teacher, as the disastrous and probably final president of the USA as we know it.
This is good! If we support the original American ideals of freedom and democracy, we oppose empire. If we oppose the occupation of the US government, we want its leader to be as buffoonish, as incompetent, as transparent as possible. And if he didn't even get the most votes, and was installed only by an obviously dishonest ruling by the five Republicans on the Supreme Court, well that's gravy!
President George III of America (counting Washington) should end up at least as unpopular as King George III of England, who became king only because he was descended from George II, and who was well known to be intellectually weak. But in a global context, a better parallel might be Adolf Hitler.
Germany in the 1930's was all set for fascism -- the most emotionally repressed people of all time, furious with France and England for the humiliating and exploitative Treaty of Versailles, in desperate poverty and ready to try anything, Germans were only waiting for some good fascists to come to power, as they did in Spain and Italy, and lead them on an old-fashioned war of conquest. Instead they got a cartoon evil dictator who led them on an insane Wagnerian fantasy suicide (see Robert G. L. Waite, The Psychopathic God), going to war with the two most powerful countries in the world, burning out on all fronts and collapsing, caught red-handed in shocking genocide.
Imagine what Germany could have done with sensible and rational evil leaders: kept peace with the USSR and the USA, conquered all of Europe and the Mediterranean, ended the war under good terms, and remained there to this day, practicing only cautious and moderate eugenics, purifying the Aryan race through sterilization and only a little bit of killing, maybe a hundred thousand a year of the poorest and darkest-skinned people.
I'm not suggesting our situation now is the same as Nazi Germany. It's a different holocaust, more tolerable and obscure: millions dying in hospitals from cancer and heart disease caused by the industrial lifestyle, instead of dying screaming in gas chambers; destitute women working in nameless factories in Asia, blind and crippled by age 30 from squinting at micro-components and doing repetitive labor, instead of educated European men going to concentration camps and living to tell; countries being conquered not by goose-stepping armies but by loan agreements that no one reads, not by killing their soldiers all at once in noisy battles but by killing their political activists, a few at a time, quietly.
This is the world eloquently and skillfully championed by Clinton and Gore and their neoliberal and neoconservative allies, and now, brutishly, clumsily championed by Dubya Bush, usurper, ex-cokehead, pretzel choking clown, fool.
William Blake said "If the fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise." With a little more luck, Bush will hold power long enough to fatally embarrass the New World Order, to do for corporate/military empires what Hitler did for eugenics. With more luck after that, when occupied America finally falls, the agents of its fall won't vengefully firebomb our oblivious asses like the English did to Dresden. And if we're really lucky, this crisis will break the backs of the big systems, and the USA will loosen up into what the colonists wanted and the Indians already had, a diverse patchwork of autonomous and democratic nations.
And maybe, the spirit that made America audacious and powerful, if not often good, will survive to stand up to the next global empire, and we will do with full knowledge and sincerity what we can now do only with aggressive ignorance or elaborate qualifications -- feel proud to be American.