The town of Brattleboro, Vermont, will be voting on a measure that, if passed, would allow them to detain and prosecute George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes should they ever come into Vermont. Supporters of the measure typically use the same lines we've heard since the beginning that the Iraq War is an "illegal war" because the UN Charter does not allow for pre-emptive attacks on a sovereign nation. (Of course, nothing's been said about the other pre-emptive wars that have occurred prior to the Iraq War, but that's not the point.) Reading the message board on the subject in the Rutland Herald got me to thinking.
What happens to the Bush haters after he leaves office?
A lot will depend on the lead-in to when Bush leaves office. Bush has less than a year to be President, and every day that passes by closes the window for impeaching him a little bit more. At this point, the Congressional Democrats does not have the public sentiment behind them to push for the impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney. Unless Bush does something that gets the entire country behind an impeachment action, it's unlikely an impeachment will happen.
This will, of course, get the Bush Haters even more angry. Considering these folks are already pretty angry to begin with, the lack of an impeachment will push their hatred for Bush to all new levels. The question then becomes what will they do with that abundance of hate. That's the wild card in all of this.
Hate makes people do insane things. Remember the guy who tried to run down Katherine Harris with a car in 2002 as a form of "protest" against her role in the Florida recount? I get the feeling that some Bush Haters may take their hatred to that same extreme. Not all, mind you. Just the ones who will be pushed beyond the callback point. Thankfully, those folks are rare today, and I think it will be just as rare should Bush leave office without being impeached.
There is another possible target for the Bush Hate: Congressional Democrats. There is a line of thought within Bush Hater circles that the Democrats in Congress who have not moved to impeach Bush and/or Cheney are just as guilty as Bush and Cheney. Should Democrats retain control of the House and gain legitimate control of the Senate, the Bush Haters may turn their hate against the Democrats who failed to act. In an already fractured party, such a move would further the decline of the Democratic Party as we know it. And if you don't think it's possible, let me remind you that "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan is running against Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress using the same mentality that I just referenced.
The other possible outlet for the Bush Hate is far more disturbing. There is always the possibility that the Bush Haters will internalize the hate, which will only hurt the Bush Haters. Whenenver you swallow as much hate that has been expressed against Bush, it has lasting physical, mental, and psychological effects, and none of them good. Unless they find a way to release all of that hate, it will eat at them, damaging relationships with others.
George W. Bush has been one of the most polarizing figures in American politics, and as we've seen with people who hated Bill Clinton, that hate doesn't go away when he leaves office. How it is dealt with will determine how far the Bush Haters will go with their unresolved hate. For the sake of the country, let's hope they find a peaceful resolution.