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Friday, May 14, 2004
I'm not ancient or anything, but I'm old enough to recall that there was a time in the United States where every single issue couldn't be explained away by being good or bad depending on your party affiliation. Politicians tended to look at things as either good for the country, or bad for it. Now, an issue only matters if it positively or negatively affects the standing of a party.
I know it's not new, but it's really been crystallized in the past couple of weeks with this Iraqi prison torture story. There is simply no way to defend this type of systemic breakdown, period. And yet...
Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma said he was "more outraged by the outage" than by the photos themselves. Apparently we should not be disgusted by anything that Americans do, because we are good, and they are evil. End of story. And I would be so callous to suggest that Inhofe's opinion is colored by the fact that he and the president share a party affiliation, and this scandal is an enormous stain on Bush's presidency. Not that it needed another one...
This type of reflexive defense happens on both sides of the aisle, no question. There are exceptions, and some Republicans have been very vocal about their dismay at the actions of the soldiers in question. Senator John McCain of Arizona, in particular, has been extremely critical of the administration's attempts at obfuscation and deceit. McCain, as you may know, spent five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner camp after being shot down during the war in Vietnam. This issue is certainly personal to him, but knowing the man's record, I know he would be every bit as vocal without his tragic experience. McCain tends to stand on the RATIONAL side of issues, not the Democrat or Republican side. Sadly, this makes him a rarity in today's politics.
I said in 2000 that I would have voted for McCain if he had been in the general election, but alas, his brand of honesty prevents him from ever being President. It's terribly sad that as a nation, we can't handle the fucking truth, particularly when it's unpleasant.
"I'm cutting taxes! Enjoy!"
"But how will we pay for roads and schools and police?"
"We have a plan!"
"Can we see the plan?"
"Of course not! It's none of your business!"
"Oh, thank you then."
This of course, is utter fiction, because no American would ever ask three consecutive questions that didn't involve American Idol, or J-Lo's ass.
We are treated like idiots because we show no interest in being told the truth plainly. If we knew the truth, we might get up off our asses and overthrow the government.
This Iraqi prison thing will pass, as all things do. In the meantime, Americans abroad and at home will die at the hands of fanatics, and we will only bother to be outraged if the other team's guy is in charge.
posted at 7:37 PM
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