Take a gander at the debate going on in America right now. People so partisan in their political outlook that they refuse to acknowledge that their leaders made mistakes…or worse, committed crimes. People out there, particularly leaders and pundits of the Republican persuasion, are actually trying to rationalize and justify torture. Torture! There is no question about it. Many of these methods have been outlawed for years! What’s more, every seasoned interrogator will tell you they’re ineffective for eliciting information.
Still nightly the Republican stooges creep out and parrot the same canards spewing from Dick Cheney…hardly a icon of veracity in the world. How much video tape do we have of this man caught in bald-faced lies? When do news organizations just ignore his cynical, self-serving bleatings?
My favourite bit of the torture defense is: “The proof that this works is because we haven’t been attacked again since 9/11.” Sorry, folks, you can’t prove a negative. And if we’re going down the speculative road, try this one: Maybe if Al Gore had been president, he and his staff might have actually read and paid attention to memos entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack the US” and maybe there’d have been no 9/11 and we wouldn’t have been attacked at all.
But haven’t we crossed a line somewhere here? It was bad enough when we all sat idly back and let the Bush/Cheney thugs winnow away the constitution and eviscerate our civil liberties. I don’t recall much outrage from any pundit, either liberal or conservative,…let alone the public…pointing out the hypocrisy of saying we were democratizing the Middle East while at the same time we were trampling democracy here. I didn’t fear the terrorists! I feared our government! The terrorists didn’t have to destroy our way of life when our own leaders were doing precisely that-- by denying us our freedoms and almost gleefully moving us to a dictatorial demographic, where they did what they wanted whether it was legal or not.
Fortunately, our system of government appears to function and when it goes too far into one extreme, it does seem to correct itself…as the last election proved. So maybe we’re not teetering on the abyss of Nazism just yet.
In fact, the Democrats are probably pissing themselves with utter joy at the entrenched stupidity of the Republican Party…which just doesn’t seem to have a clue how to save itself. Trying to justify something as despicable as torture only further marginalizes them.
I suppose defending yet another Bush administration abuse plays to the dim-brained, gun-hugging, “my country, right or wrong, love it or leave it” pseudo-patriots incapable of pondering a complex thought and who march in mindless lock-step (or is it goose-step) to party doctrine without ever questioning it. But does it really play with anyone who has the rudimentary ability to think?
Remember when Nixon’s crimes came to light. I don’t think there were a lot of Republicans who were trying to justify those. Mr. Nixon resigned because everybody, both Dems and Republicans, was bi-partisanly aghast and ready to impeach him.
Yet during Bushie’s reign, things were done that were far, far worse and, despite the fact, that the incompetency of the last eight years helped banish the Republicans to the wilderness, the rank and file remain recalcitrantly loyal. Another reason they are clueless: party loyalty to people and behaviour that has dishonoured your party is not honourable; it only continues to tarnish your party and you! It’s like someone remaining loyal to a relation who is a mass murderer. Real party loyalty is being able to speak truth to the party, not just echo the party line against all logic, and to be able to honestly assess and address the party’s flaws and mistakes.
Granted, Americans have short memories, but the folk now saying torture is a good thing and trying to whitewash the arrogance, crimes, and vileness of the last eight years are the same yahoos who were screaming, “Rule of Law!” when trying to impeach Clinton over his sexual dalliances. Let’s juggle that on the scales for a minute. Which is worse? Lying about an illicit blow job or starting a false and costly war on a litany of lies, undermining the constitution, using outlawed torture methods, and a host of lesser crimes and misconduct? At least nobody died when Clinton lied. Where are those Republican cries for “Rule of Law” now?
But again all this just works to the advantage of the Democrats. The GOP ought to stand for Grumpy Old Poops…largely a lot grey, angry old men clinging not to the ideals of their own generation, but the generations before them…and not realizing that the world has passed them by and they have become irrelevant. A much younger, integrated electorate is moving in…one that doesn’t care about racial divisiveness, ole time bible-thumping religion, or whether gays marry or not. Nor are they stupid enough to believe you when you say black’s white, torture is okay, cut- and- dried laws can be twisted to meaninglessness by clever lawyers, and the constitution and civil liberties can be ignored when convenient.
I confess. I’ve voted Republican in the past…it’s been the looong past, because the Republican Party of today is not one I at all recognize. They used to be the party of less government. Today they want to be in your living-room, bedroom, your church (or your non-church, if you so chose), your library, your computer…even your mind, if they could figure out a way to do it. Frankly, I wish they’d find their way back to the mainstream, the moderate, and the reasonable. I’d like to have a legitimate choice in the voting booth again. But…
...I fear they are bound to blunder about the wilderness on a long arduous trek until they finally get it. As long as they continue to pander to the lowest common denominator of their party, inflame ignorance instead of embracing intelligence, kowtow to the hacks of Faux News, and quake in fear of offending a cretinish clown like Rush Limbaugh, they will keep on awanderin' and the Democrats will have a field day. As long as they remain a party of fatuous flaks and flunkeys who prize party loyalty over common sense and stump for heinous ideals like torture, they will shrivel their base until it includes only mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging slope-heads and extremists of all stripes who are not so much their base as their embarrassment.
***Well, I warned you in my welcome above that I'd dwell on anything that interested me or irritated me. The above qualifies as "irritated". But end of rant. Back to my less feverish dog and pony in a few days.
P.S.- Happy Birthday, Wild Bill Shakespeare!