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Monday, March 31, 2008

Our Lonesome Cowboy

If America had a collective urethra, it would be peeing in about five different directions by now. Because that’s what happens when a nation has had its prostate populi pounded by the Grand Old Party that was had by all. But you can’t say that we didn’t have it coming to us. Because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the majority of Humanity with an abstract, capital H is almost always in the wrong.

Humanity once thought that Vlad the Impaler should have been allowed to skewer his enemies on pikes.

Humanity once thought that human sacrifices kept them alive by appeasing the Gods.

Humanity once thought that a coward who hid under a table during his own beer hall putsch was justified in annexing Europe, murdering Jews, the mentally disabled and gay people en masse.

Humanity once thought using shanghaied Africans as slaves was necessary to the South‘s economy and, at worst, worthy of debate.

And Humanity thought that electing, for want of a better word, a man who actually used the White House’s greatest moment of failure as a pretext for indefinitely putting our constitutional protections and civil liberties in his pocket in order to protect us was a good, just and necessary thing, as was the invasion, occupation and subjugation of a nation that had played no role whatsoever during that Great Day of Failure. No matter how this man has openly shown, time and again, how garishly indifferent he is to his own crimes, all too many of us find it our collective bleeding heart to cheer him on as if his rule has actually been characterized by even a modicum of foreign and domestic competence or a bloody shred of humanity.

And when he tap dances before endorsing another man who promises more of the same and sings about his crimes and jokes about not finding weapons of mass destruction that hundreds of young American men and women died looking for, we laugh, laugh and laugh in a neverending, completely interactive Theater of the Absurd, an Alice in Wonderland nation in which the rabbit hole has become the Homeland, where the nonsensical is perfectly lucid and the sensical is subversive, seditious, treasonous.

Anarchy is unthinkable to the American soul so we keep a stiff upper lip, put our nose to the grindstone, put on our best face and attempt to make Koolaid out of the lemons with which this administration has pelted us since Day One because it’s much easier to call him the 43rd President. We laud his ability to throw a baseball better than any Chief Executive because it’s never a convenient time to bring up the fact that he resembles the paranoid King Lear more than an American President.

It always seems to be a gauche, inappropriate time to bring up the inconvenient fact that at his behest we have captured German nationals and even American citizens, have detained and tortured them indefinitely while denying them the means to defend themselves in a court of law. That he’s openly hectoring Congress for not giving retroactive immunity for giant corporations who have spied on us by the millions, for denying him the right to torture both the guilty and the innocent.

This is all subject to debate, just like the gassing of the Jews and the gays, just like slavery, just like the impalings and other human sacrifices. Because everything is relative.

Thank God for Overton’s Window, which makes the once intolerable and even blatantly illegal seem mainstream, necessary and, in the ultimate nightmare scenario, a matter of firmly implemented, institutionalized policy. We have wrenched Overton’s Window so far to the middle in our own way that people even seem reasonable on TV when they call for the return of the spirit of Joe McCarthy, rounding up and detaining people in internment camps built by American corporations on American soil with American taxpayer dollars.

We need to torture, we need to deny freedom, we need to monitor the innocent in order to keep us safe. Give us your most basic and inalienable rights. We’ll give them back to you when this decades-long ideology is hate is finally defeated. Scout’s honor.

How does this in any way not recall the atrocities of Nazi Germany or the darkest days of the Soviet Union?

And, when all is said and done, we will be left scratching our fat heads when the rest of the world asks us, “What were you thinking?” Like the people of post-Nazi Germany in the wake of the Nuremberg trials that are now a quaint notion, we will throw up our hands and say, “But, but… we didn’t know!”

Even while the man who is ultimately responsible for bringing about these dictatorial initiatives made no real pretense at reasonableness, joked and sang paeans in praise of some of his foulest crimes, called our most revered document “just a Goddamned piece of paper” and openly speculated about how great things would be if only he was dictator. A self-styled cowboy with the loneliest job on earth who thought he could lasso the world through sheer dint of manliness and God-given righteousness and bend it to suit his will.

How were we to know, indeed?
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Blogger Mauigirl said...
Oh, we know all right. But no one is doing anything about it. Just like in Germany in the 1930's.