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Saturday, November 12, 2005

John Cusack for President
Posted by Jill | 9:59 AM

Those who know me personally know that John Cusack and I go way back -- even farther back than my history with Mr. Brilliant, who is Cusack-esque in his boyish good looks and charm, combined with his snarky sense of humor. While Mr. Brilliant never stood outside my window with a boombox playing In Your Eyes, he did buy me a cassette of Bob Marley's Babylon By Bus and Elvis Costello's Trust the first summer we were dating, so it all evens out.

These days, Cusack, who desperately needs a good movie, and soon, makes a rare appearance in the political arena with a terrific essay at The Huffington Post.

Conservatives love to blast Hollywood and music industry types who are political activists -- as long as they're liberals. Charlton Heston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck, Bruce Willis, Toby Keith and their ilk are perfectly OK, according to conservatives, but let a liberal stand up, and suddenly they should stay in their own sandbox.

I have no patience for people like Sting, a multimillionaire with six kids telling me to "learn to be happy with less" and leave a small footprint on the earth. And I'll be the first to admit that Sean Penn can be a bit bombastic and self-important, but Penn's heart's in the right place, and I didn't see Bruce Willis knee deep in toxic muck in New Orleans, pulling people out of their houses. Bono is an insufferable stage presence, but I'll cut him a lot of slack too, because he puts his money where his mouth is.

If John Cusack doesn't get a decent movie soon, I wouldn't mind seeing him dip his foot into the political waters, or at least pursue a second career in journalism, if he's going to come up with stuff like this:

Bush 2. How depressing, corrupt, unlawful and tragically absurd the administration's world view actually is...how low the moral bar has been lowered...and (though I know I'm capable of intellectually lazy notions of collective guilt) how complicit our silence as citizens is...Nixon, a true fiend, looks like a paragon of virtue next to the criminally incompetent robber barons now raiding the present and future.

But where are the Dems? American foreign policy is in chaos. We are now left in the surreal position of having to condemn American-sponsored torture as official policy while a deranged President Bush orders his staff to attend ethics briefings -- a "refresher course" -- from the White House counsel. The very idea of America is in chaos and this chaos has created a vacuum. One question for any Democrat: Who will have the balls to get us out of Iraq? If the Democrats don't step up and fill this vacuum, the Republicans will. They will take us out of Iraq. And then the Democrats will be left holding the bag -- first as the enablers who let the Republicans take us into an unnecessary and immoral war, and then as the whipping boys who stood by while the Republicans kept justifying what was clearly an unnecessary and immoral war. They were so worried about positioning themselves as hawks, not being seen as soft on terror and war, that they lost the capacity for outrage when the person responsible for a legal memo that denied the validity of the Geneva Conventions was appointed Attorney General. And it was downhill from there.


Yes, there is a difference between the McCain/Hagel Repubs and the neo-con/White House Iraq Group lunatics. But it's also good to remember: no matter what he does from here on out, McCain stood by the president, a man (and his machine) who smeared him viciously on the 2000 campaign trail, and then, at the GOP convention four years later, campaigned for him when we were well on to this disastrous course. And thinking men -- of which McCain is surely one -- knew the neo-cons were exploiting 9/11 for their hideous misadventure in Iraq, and knew this was an administration that would not allow photos of the dead. Etc. etc. etc. Every man who stood by Bush should be forced to answer for it. 

The problem isn't with Jon Stewart, who's a hero. The problem is that he's the only one (with ratings at least; none of the right-wing heavyweights are going on the Al Franken show, are they?). And we are pouring too much concrete under his pedestal. But I must admit that he's far too polite to the architects and enablers of the tragic last five years. If I hear one more asshole say, "The issue isn't whether I would send my own children to Iraq, this is an all-voluntary army...National security is at stake... There are monsters in this world." Well, thanks for telling us that -- and for lying about the war and profiting from it. And trying to privatize Iraq so corporate interests could have a free-market laboratory without all those pesky questions about "who owns what" and "who gets a piece of the action." (See Naomi Klein's excellent Baghdad Year Zero.) 

This is indeed a league of bastards -- these men are human scum. There were many who would have given their life to fight al-Qaeda. Many parents would have sent their children on that cause. It is the issue...of course that is the issue... Here's an American thought: Arab life has as much intrinsic value as American life. We are SUPPOSED to be better than the horrible regimes we must fight (not choose to fight). Due process is a fundamental tenet of civilization. The law is supposed to be better than us.

We have veered so badly away from sanity that re-reading an Eisenhower speech or two puts him to the left of Howard Dean.

My own parents had deep faith, they saw the earth as a gift from God. They took Christ seriously -- the gospel, his words and acts -- and thought it their Christian duty to speak out against the desecration of God's great gifts: life, earth, freedom, and civilization. Nowhere could they find any endorsements of "wars of choice." Jesus was a radical to be sure, but in an opposite way from the war mongers and profiteers who use his name today. I can't get past "thou shalt not kill" and look at this carnage and see any rational way one could say these men follow Jesus Christ. Alas, the money lenders have well and truly invaded the temple.

John, if all they're going to give you is dreck like Must Love Dogs, I thing you've found your next career.
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