What is America?
I ask this not rhetorically nor even with irony. I really want to know what America is in 2006.
It's well past clear that the Bush administration and its zombie-like followers have gone past being un-American and have fully established themselves in the territory of anti-American. The Democrats and others on the supposed left are the ones sitting idly in un-American territory, sitting idly by in cowardice and lack of conviction, allowing the Bush administration, the Republicans and their supporters run rough-shod over everything this country is supposed to stand for.
This sounds hyperbolic, I know. But it's not anymore.
The extreme left and their hyperbole over so many years have lessened the impact of certain words and ideas have lost their impact, sounding automatically like absurd hyperbole to ears.
In a country where we've literally legalized torture and the Federal government spying on our own citizens is treated as something to be reasonably debated between honest folks, where the executive branch ignores the checks and balances of the other two branches of government and declares himself the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution, words like tyranny and Fascist are no longer the words used by people who've run out of reasonable debates and are flailing into the abyss. They are the natural words to describe this government.
Shrill, hysterical lefty partisan blogger, Glenn Greenwald confronts this to some extent, "Just look at the things we're debating -- whether the U.S. Government can abduct and indefinitely imprison U.S. citizens without charges; whether we can use torture to interrogate people; whether our Government can eavesdrop on our private conversations without warrants; whether we can create secret prisons and keep people there out of sight and beyond the reach of any law or oversight; and whether the President can simply disregard long-standing constitutional limitations and duly enacted Congressional laws because he has deemed that doing so is necessary to 'protect' us. These haven't been open questions for decades if not centuries. They've been settled as intrinsic values that define our country."
Buyer's remorse: The Bush story the press won't tell by Eric Boehlert is in many ways more frightening. It's tells how the press skews stories of the unprecedented lack of popularity the administration is suffer. "The issue of buyer's remorse is directly connected to a larger, twofold problem surrounding the ongoing coverage of Bush's polling numbers. First, there's developed a pervasive press obsession with trying to be the first to document Bush's rebound in the polls. (It stands in stark contrast to the press conduct during President Clinton's second term when reporters and pundits were forever hunting, unsuccessfully, for evidence that Clinton's popularity was slipping.) Secondly, and just as disturbing, is the categorical refusal by the press to put Bush's consistently dreadful poll numbers into any kind of historical context. he fact that Bush has been bogged down for much of this year with poll numbers in the 30's is nothing short of astonishing. In the last half-century, the only other comparable second-term collapse belonged to Richard Nixon, whose fall, of course, was fueled by the revelation that a criminal enterprise had been operating from inside the Oval Office. Yet Bush's second-term performance is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Nixon's."
Is it any wonder why, when we wake up to stories like Torture Victim Had No Terror Link, Canada Told U.S. by Scott Shane? "When the United States sent Maher Arar to Syria, where he was tortured for months, the deportation order stated unequivocally that Mr. Arar, a Canadian software engineer, was a member of Al Qaeda. But a few days earlier, Canadian investigators had told the F.B.I. that they had not been able to link him to the terrorist group."
Meanwhile Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat by Mark Mazzetti states, "A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."
In This report alone ought to dictate the outcome of the election, Glenn Greenwald wrote, "Only in the U.S., with its toxic mix of Bush administration propaganda and media listlessness, could it ever even be a question open to debate whether invading, bombing and occupying a Muslim country in the Middle East for almost four years would fuel Muslim radicalism, inflame anti-American resentment, and create far more terrorists than ever existed before. And only in the current political climate where up is down could the political party directly responsible for severely exacerbating the terrorism problem with a pointless, disastrous and seemingly endless war have their chances for victory depend upon maximizing the country's focus on terrorism -- the very problem they have so severely exacerbated."
We're deeply, deeply in this. We're well past even resembling the country whose flag and spirit I was raised to celebrate.
I've come to the point of agreeing with Throwing the Bums Out by Greg Saunders (as well as its predecessor Don't Vote Democrat), "If you're willing to vote Democratic every election no matter what's going on because they're always better than the Republicans, then you're just helping reinforce the cowardice that's plagued the party for well over a decade now."
Of course, how you vote may not even matter, according to Today's Video Link from September 22, even Mark Evanier, and his skepticism of conspiracy theories is weakening to the possibility that Robert Kennedy Jr. is right about our elections being rigged.
To remember a better day, here's Goldwater Wouldn't Recognize this Brand of Conservatism by Byron Williams and The Gentleman From Arizona by Mark Evanier, both discuss Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater by CC Goldwater with a reservedly positive attitude. It's hard not to think fondly of days when Goldwater's brand of extremism was the most frightening thing on the political landscape.
That place was America to me. A place where reasonable people disagreed with reasonable people, although not always in a reasonable manner, about how to uphold the principles upon which this country was founded.
Now we're stuck not only pretending that tearing away the centuries of ideals is a reasonable subject for reasonable people to debate, and we're dismissed if we treat the subject itself as wholly unreasonable.
Honestly, nearly all of us. Myself included, are bad Americans.
I sit and write about stupid movies and comic books because its easier than doing what I ought to be doing... but then I no longer know what that is. Many people will pass right by this blog entry, many others will dismiss it as more extreme lefty bologna and a few other will read it and nod, then go on with their day.
I also know that our forefathers stood up to tyranny. That they believed in their principles enough to starve and fight and die for them. We have allowed a single act on a single day to make us into such incredible cowards that we allow all of our most basic principles to be thrown by the wayside... and not even to protect ourselves, but, as was predicted by many who were shouted down as traitors and cowards, literally to severely exacerbate the danger.
Who are we?