Friday, April 20, 2007

Abu G

Mr. Gonzales' performance yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee was by any standard preposterous.

Well, not by any standard. The President, the one person who matterswas pleased with the Attorney General’s testimony today.

I have this image of the President sitting in his office watching these old fuss-budget Senators fuming and sputtering and stewing and full of righteous indignation, and the President simply enjoying the fact that there is not one goddamned thing any of them can do about it.

Mr. Bush has nothing to fear from the electorate or even his own party. So long as Mr. Gonzales is willing, my bet is that the President continues what is for him a ritualistic humiliation of pompous blatherers.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Things We All Know

There are certain things We All Know. In fact, quite a lot of things. The best example of things We All Know is that we all know that there is not an old white man living in the sky who looks out for us specially. We All Know that there is not an invisible Jesus who tells us what to do if we just listen hard enough. Whenever I hear Jesus freaks ranting about religion, I think there is no one they are trying to convince as much as themselves. They know, deep down, the truth. Their religious talk is a desperate cover -- a cover they feel strongly about because they so want it to be true. Even the Rapture: what better fantasy than that any day – tomorrow, even – one might awake to find all earthly cares swept away and replaced by truly transcendent bliss.

When these folks see secular media, they see a world that mocks them. The people they see on TV, movies, etc., are well off, educated, part of a meaningful group doing meaningful things, etc. They feel excluded from that mainstream society, and understandably they scorn it, mock it. And their legitimate feelings are manipulated and exploited by conniving men and women who see these dispossessed souls as a pool of money and votes to be commandeered for their own nefarious purposes, generally involving big houses, swimming pools and the odd private jet.

We need to acknowledge that these folks are our fellow Americans, and that those of us still feeling part of the mainstream have failed them terribly. Perhaps we have blame for defining society in such a way that it doesn’t include them. Perhaps we deserve blame for not fighting to address their real needs. Perhaps we should be ashamed that we have not treated them with the respect they deserve. There’s no shortage of blame. Only a shortage of clear paths to a better future.

There are a lot of Things We All Know. We all know that our society has lost the will to address our most pressing problems, even to the point of allowing our fellow citizens to die for lack of a modicum of health care. We seem uninterested in preparing tomorrow’s citizens for the world as it will exist. We seem determined to treat the least of us as a pariah whose misfortune is morally justified and whose amelioration is surely not our responsibility.

We All Know that the current regime is not in the least bit interested in doing what’s best for the voters. We All Know that the conservative movement is not really interested in lowering taxes, or reducing the size of government, or for preserving individual liberty, or for walking softly and carrying a big stick. We All Know that too many Democrats and most Republicans are so enthralled with the comforts of access to plentiful cash that they cannot be counted on to turn their backs on their paymasters and take up the cause of the people they purport to represent. We All Know This.

For today, let me point out something We All Know. We All Know that the President and his party have absolutely corrupted the US Attorney corps, just like they corrupted every other part of the executive branch. We Also All Know that the Attorney General was and is no innocent victim in this. By shifting the story repeatedly, We All Know these people are showing a guilty conscience. Finally, We Also All Know that however satisfying it may be to see Mr. Gonzalez removed in disgrace, the truth is he was a dutiful soldier, carrying out the wrongful instructions of his principal, whose continuing presence in the Oval Office is an embarrassment to us all.