Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A dose of grim reality on the eve of post-Bush America

Watching The Countdown tonight, as always, and this is Olberman's most stirring comment since the one he made on Prop 8:

Yes. Exactly.

I' m all for post-partisanism and reaching across the aisle, but Jesus date-raping Christ, there has to be a line in the sand, a line beyond which America does not torture prisoners. If Bill Clinton had sanctioned this kind of evil--I'm not his hugest fan, but he mostly didn't screw up too horribly, especially in light of his successor--I'd have been calling for his head on platter.

Believe me when I say, I would like nothing more than to not see a US president convicted of war crimes. I do believe it'd break my heart--my country's heart--to see even this failure of a president and a human being be convicted of such a crime.

Not this crime, not my president, you know? Even though he's isn't mine and isn't truly president, election-stealing tendencies very much not aside.

But the only thing that'd be worse than a nation's broken heart--and those do heal, if slowly--would be letting this travesty slide, like he's Wynona Rider, and torture's just shoplifting. What's worse than a broken heart is broken honor, and breaking faith with the ideals this country was built on.

Our nation has been damaged enough without this final, realpolitik coup de grace.

I understand wanting to focus on the future, but Olberman's right, hit the nail on the head. As have so many. We can't let the Bush version of history, the revisionist dreck go on record unchallenged, unrighted. I've had very few occasions in my lifetime to be proud of something great my country has done. Something honorable. Something shining. But on the heels of such a milestone election, I can only hope I'll be given another occasion. That Obama has the stones--though I seriously doubt he will; to be fair, I doubt Kennedy or FDR would've, though Lincoln might've and Teddy Roosevelt probably would've--to give his DOJ its head, and the DOJ in turn is as blind as the Justice they supposedly represent. That charges will be brought against the upper echelons of the outgoing administration. It can't be any other way, and America regains some of the honor she's lost. If some other country has to uphold our own laws for us when one of these criminals takes it in their head to go abroad, then . . . whatever rebuilding of our honor and reputation is beginning with this fledgling administration will also die there.

This is not a death history will judge us kindly for. Nor should it.

We're approaching a moment of truth--possibly one of the first for this new administration. Here's hoping that, in their headlong rush to smooth over the rough bits of America, they don't fuck it up and fuck us all over.
::raises a glass::

"If wishes was horses, we'd all be eatin' steak."--Jayne Cobb


  1. Thanks, I enjoyed that.

    I think there's another slightly more sinister element to the atonement which Olberman touched on, and that's the personal responsibility of every citizen. He said that in a people's democracy, the people are responsible for what its elected officials do. If the DoJ chooses to prosecute members of the outgoing administration, the nation as a group of 300 million individuals is going to have to face what that means. And, as individuals, you will have the nobler ones accepting it, but you will also get those who disclaim involvement having never voted for Bush in the first place. And worse yet, you'll get those who subscribe to Bush's delusions and don't see state-sponsored torture as a bad thing. If the prosecutions go ahead, Obama will have a tough line to walk between convincing the population of the grave wrongs that have been committed and not making them feel more downtrodden than they are already. How to put a positive spin on that?

  2. They should all hang, but it won't happen. The general sentiment will be 'why are you dicking around with this when I still don't have health care, the economy is in the toilet, we have no answer to oil dependency, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.'

    Just as those fuckers got away with everything under the fog of 9/11, they'll escape under a fog of economic woes and the foreign woes of their own making. They, perhaps better than bin Laden, understand they sentiment 'Americans have no stomach for war'. America simply doesn't have the stomach right now for the war which would be trying those fuckers.

    Btw, I like the header image. It reminds me of the Library of Congress from Logan's Run.

  3. How to put a positive spin on that?

    Well, if anyone can, it's Obama. When it comes to rhetoric, he's got the killer instincts of a freakin mastodon.

    And there's something wrong about a nation that expects every mirror held up to it to show Jeebus staring back at them and hugging a kitten. That's not this nation now, if it ever was. We've done Bad Things, and that doesn't make us Bad People (excluding the people who spear-headed the torture), but we can't become better people if we ignore it, paper it over with pretty platitudes. We're still letting Bush back us off a cliff, and the DoJ needs to be a little negative ("hey, stupid, don't take another step backward or you're dead") to help us redeem ourselves. Whatever it takes to drive the point home so, like Olberman said, it never happens again. And so we can start anew.

    America simply doesn't have the stomach right now for the war which would be trying those fuckers.

    If America doesn't have the stomach for war crimes, perhaps having our noses rubbed in it like a stupid, badly-behaved puppy will prevent it happening again. Economy, war, health-care--these are things administrations will always have to juggle. If they can't multitask, they have no business being in office. Justice can't just happen when it's convenient. It has to be blind all-or-nothing, or it's not justice.

    As a country, we're not in great shape, but ignoring one of the largest hurts we've caused and suffered won't make us better or stronger.

    To me, the pic looks like something I'd dream about if I had a more substantial imagination. And if I didn't mind rodents and bugs amongst my books.

  4. This is definitely one of Olbermann's best special comments ever. I hope this country has the stomach for what has to be done. If Obama has the stomach, I think he's capable of carrying many Americans along with him through what will be, if it happens, a painful process.

  5. It's kinda like the nation's a frightened kid that's done something wrong, and isn't sure how to make it right, or if it can be made right. What we need is a leader to take our hand and show us that we can be better and do better than we have been. Obama could be that leader, but he's first and foremost a politician--and a damned facile one. So I have my doubts that he will :-/

  6. If we don't seek justice, these mistakes will only happen again. Doing nothing only validates their actions and helps prove their point. This will test the leadership of the current administration. Let's hope they put justice, courage, and this country before their party's well-being.