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From exploiting September 11 to whipping up anti-gay bigotry
Bush has no shame

March 12, 2004 | Page 1

IT'S HARD to find words to describe George W. Bush's cynical attempt to exploit the suffering of September 11 to sneak back into the White House. This month, Bush kicked-started his re-election campaign with a slew of TV ads featuring scenes of the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center. When the firefighters' union objected to footage of its members lifting a flag-draped coffin, Bush's White House attack dogs had the gall to accuse the union--which has endorsed Democrat John Kerry--of "partisan wrangling."

Adding a new twist to these already twisted ads are reports that the Bush campaign team staged several scenes--and hired actors to play two "firefighters." "There's many reasons not to use real firemen," explained a Bush media adviser. "Mainly, it's cheaper and quicker."

Family members of those who died in the Twin Towers expressed their outrage at the Bush team's campaign maneuvers--led by members of the group September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which formed shortly after the attacks to oppose the Bush administration's drive to use September 11 as a justification for war. "It's an insult to use the place where my brother died in an ad," said David Potorti, a member of the group, whose brother Jim died in the North tower.

The Bush White House--and, in fact, the whole Washington establishment--has been exploiting September 11 every day since the attacks. In the immediate aftermath, while most people were still grappling with the enormity of the human losses, Bush and the politicians were already beating the drum for war--on Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries on earth.

They stoked fear of future terrorist attacks as an excuse for tearing up civil liberties with the USA PATRIOT Act. And when the drive for a new war on Iraq hit a snag last year, the administration peddled the lie that al-Qaeda had ties to Saddam Hussein's regime.

The Bush gang is determined to stay in the White House--and there's nothing they won't stoop to in order to do it. That's why Bush is ready to whip up bigotry and hatred with his support for a constitutional amendment to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. That's why his administration stepped up its assault on women's right to abortion. That's why his p.r. mouthpieces are spreading disinformation about the economy to pretend that Bush's tax cut giveaways to the rich have led to a "booming" economic growth.

We can't trust Democrats like John Kerry--with their mealy-mouthed campaign dodges--to present a real alternative to Bush. It will be up to us to take a stand on the real issues facing us. And, almost overnight, around the issue of gay marriage, people have.

From San Francisco to Chicago to New York City, gays and lesbians and their supporters are demanding the right to marry. Their actions have forced politicians to deal with an issue that no one wanted to--and set off a new civil rights movement across the U.S. This is the way to send a real message to Bush: Back off your attacks on our rights!

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