RANGER AGAINST WAR: Grits Ain't Groceries <

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Grits Ain't Groceries

Its time for me to talk a little philosophy, although I know philosophy "don't cook no potatoes". My editor-in-chief (read know-it-all) wants this blogger to jazz up his site with the new Beta option, to revamp my overall image.

Well, first of all, it's too late for that, and secondly, I flatly refused this option. Since being with the Federal government, I've found that appearance always trumps substance, and I will not go gently into that good night. This is not a dog-and-pony show or a power point presentation--all show and no go. I'm simply trying to present an alternate take on the pablum being forced down our collective throats by almost all of the news media.

Having said that, I want to apologize for getting caught in the quagmire with the whole Haditha episode. I lost my focus, got derailed, bought into the administration game plan. I see where I've focused lately on the details rather than the Big Picture.

Since 9-11, I keep thinking, "What is really happening here?" I try and reach beyond the what-seems-apparent presentations of the media and maintain a disinterested and analytical approach. I try to tame my strong personal reactions to the conventional wisom of the day. Conventional wisdom is an oxymoron.

My central thesis is, what are we as a nation, and do our actions meet the criterion of humanism that is the litmus test of liberal democratic action. This is the essence of America, and I believe it is rapidly slipping away. Haditha is meaningless in the overall scenario.

Why are we as a nation doing what we are doing, and why are good Americans accepting extralegal renditions, obvious torture, unprovoked invasions and regime change, ignoring the Geneva Convention, not to mention supporting undemocratic regimes while hypocritically removing Saddam Hussein because he was, well, evil. (Shouldn't Saddam be enjoying a new incarnation as the darling of the evangelical circuit? After all, the Lord loves a sinner.)

I believe that our blindness to all of these transgressions is the logical culmination of our desensitization as a result of bombing civilian targets in Hanoi, running CIA death squads in Nicaragua, FBI warrantless phone taps on war protestors, IRS harrassment of administration (Nixon) critics, support for Bin Laden, Noriega, Hussein and then later deciding they are evil, and then effectively turning them into embodiments of evil. In short, we enable and exploit the worst of the worst, then use them as bogeymen to scare the American public into complicity with our own questionable policies. A 2-for-1 policy, if you will.

It seems that government of/by/for the people is a thing of the past. Our present Commmander-in-Chief stated recently on Larry King Live that he totally ignores opinion polls, and never even thinks about them. And why should you, really, when you're The Decider? Foolish me--I had always thought that it was the American people who did the deciding via their electoral choices, and the Constitution that was the final arbiter of the legality of actions taken by said representatives.

Do the American people actually want, need or support wars with no endgame which strain our economy, military and moral strength, and offer no positive benefit to the average citizen? Bush stresses Social Security problems, but then spends the funds that should save the system on unrealistic wars. All this while cutting taxes for his cronies and cutting social benefits for our neediest citizens.

Our Federal, state and local governments no longer minister to the well-being of the average citizen, but rather the enhancement of the privileged status of the haves and have mores. And to my chagrin and mystification, the public believes that America is still a democracy.

The erosion of the central tenets of our democracy are all around; things are falling apart. The Irish poet Yeats wrote in his "Second Coming" (1921):

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

. . .

(T)wenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The nightmare is the warfare ignited by religious zealots. Could the "rough beast" be the immature and brutish Toby Kieth form of democracy that we are exporting, and fancy we'll hatch? While Yeats was contemplating the Irish Troubles, his anarchic vison is as relevant today. To borrow from another source of truisms, Pogo, we have met the enemy, and he is us. We're really laying an egg.


Anonymous pzykr said...

Nice Keats quote.

Can't agree with you that Haditha is "meaningless." It is a symptom of the systemic problems which seem to be what really concern you [and me and your other readers]. It is helpful to this reader for you to state so explicitly what your focus, your "central thesis," is. Thanks for sharing your introspection and keep up the good work.

Friday, August 25, 2006 at 2:32:00 PM GMT-5  

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