Friday, October 27, 2006

Getting Used To The New America

Boy, have things changed in this country over the last six years.  Thanks to privately owned electronic voting machines and HAVA, free, fair and verifiable elections are no longer the method for choosing our leaders.  Thanks to the Patriot Act and secret NSA domestic spying programs, we no longer have the right to privacy in our homes, papers and communications.  Thanks to the Terrorist Detainee bill, we no longer have the privilege and protection of habeas corpus, meaning we can be imprisoned indefinitely without the right to contest the legitimacy of the charges against us.  Thanks to that same bill, we now condone torture.  Thanks to the Bush doctrine, we are an aggressor nation with a first strike policy.  And thanks to media consolidation, there is no longer any meaningful freedom of the press, only the freedom to propagandize for profit.  We’ve come a long way Baby!

That last one, the failure of a free press, has been the grease that has facilitated our slide away from democratic principles, but it’s not too late for them to redeem themselves.  This morning, MSNBC played a videotape of someone being waterboarded.  That is a great thing and a small step in the right direction.  Not great that we, as a country, endorse a policy of using waterboarding as an acceptable method of interrogation, but that a cable news channel is showing their viewers what that really means.  When you hear the President and the Vice President extol the virtues of waterboarding, you can almost imagine that it’s some kind of water sport, fun for all involved, rather than what it is, a form of torture that simulates drowning and can cause serious long lasting physical and psychological damage and can even result in death.  The only problem with the MSNBC tutorial was that there was no sound (here is a YouTube video of waterboarding with sound).  Mainstream media has no problem playing audio tapes of 911 calls made by victims of violent crime that put on display, in gruesome detail, the terror they experience, so why not use the very effective audio that would truly convey the horror of what we are, as a country, doing without apology?

The same is true of the Iraq occupation.  Americans need to see what we are supporting, with our tax dollars, with our children and with our vote that allows it to continue.  We need to see what an Iraqi town or city looks like once we have sent our troops in to “clear the area” of insurgents.  Show us the devastation, the blood, the dead children and screaming mothers.  Show us our wounded soldiers and the dead look in the eyes of the ones forced to perpetrate such crimes against humanity in this rich man’s war.  Show us the angry protests of the Iraqi people that want more than anything for us to get the hell out of their country while there’s still a few buildings left standing.  Show us that this conflict is real, and that “victory” will come at a very high price.  Show us the truth, the ugly and unvarnished truth.  That is supposed to be your job after all.

The occupation of Iraq and the so-called “war on terror” are not policies that we the people can detach ourselves from.  We are responsible and accountable for what our government does in our name, and the press is responsible for giving us the details of what that means.  A free press should connect the people with their government and should create a sense of ownership, encourage participation and make sure that the people are informed enough to feel engaged and determine whether or not we are prepared to “stay the course.”  The American press has fallen down on the job and they have made a lot of money doing it.  The only way that we will get what we need from them is if we make it clear that there is a profit to be made.  Appealing to their sense of duty as the only private enterprise to be included in our constitution has proven ineffective.  That they are a critical element in a thriving democracy, sadly, seems irrelevant to them.  But as Keith Olbermann is proving on a daily basis, there is money to be made in speaking the truth.  

We live in a new America and it’s time for mainstream media to reflect back at us, just what we have become.  If we don’t like what we see, we can be moved to change it, but if we are kept in the dark, never allowed to see the truth and never encouraged to take ownership of the society we are creating, then we will continue to deteriorate as a nation.  I honestly believe that if average Americans were given even a glimpse of the new America, they would reject it outright.  Then, together, we could move forward.  We will never be what we were, but from where we sit now, we can either choose to be better or worse.  In order to choose better, we must demand better from our press, otherwise, we choose to be worse by default.


Anonymous david said...

The Republicans --and let's not pretend it was Bush alone-- are playing a game of Three Card Monte with the American Public.

"Find Lady Liberty, if you can. Is she in the centre, no! Is she on the right, no! Sorry, you lose."

The American Public is the mark. Cheney is the dealer with Bush and the Republican Congress as his shills. Until the American Public wakes up and realizes it's been had, we are all losers.

12:53 PM  
Blogger amphimacer said...

"The occupation of Iraq"? The armed forces of the United States and its allies are not occupying Iraq. They are in a small part of Iraq, which they are having difficulty holding onto, while the rest of the country is in chaos. This is the result of Rumsfeld's Folly: the belief that a rush to the capital is the same as winning a war.

And as to the "war on terror": who is more terrified than the Iraqi populace?

As a frequent visitor and one-time resident of the United States, I can say without equivocation that the American people (at least, most of those I have known) are good folks, fine and decent human beings, who would not want to be represented in the world the way the current administration has been representing them. It's a sin, and you need to know that.

There is a better way to live, a better path to follow, and I can only hope that the American vote hasn't been so traduced by fixed voting machines and gerrymandering that a change may yet come. Good luck to you all in November.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

Are you preparing to accept the 'new America'?
Please don't say this is the new America. I won't accept that description unless Democrats in Congress refuse to roll back torture legislation, warrantless wiretaps,and pre-emptive wars.
If we continue to become the nation that George Bush started , it will be the fault of Democratic leadership in the House and Senate.
I pray you will be as vocal after November 7th as you have been the last few years and demand the Democrats reverse the legislation that has abrogated our civil rights and liberties. If that legislation is not overturned, the Democrats are not only complicit, they are enabling the future dictatorship of America.

5:15 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Kindlingman--Of course I'm not going to accept the new America as I've described it and I plan to be even more vocal if the Democrats take over Congress because you are right, it will be their failure (and ours) if we allow them to continue on with the country Bush has built!

I want to get past this election first, then I have a whole slew of issues and bones to pick with the Democrats. They have been part of the problem and it will be up to us to make sure that they are part of the solution. And if they refuse to do that, we need to make sure there is a hefty price to pay for their complicity.

12:01 PM  
Blogger jae said...

" I honestly believe that if average Americans were given even a glimpse of the new America, they would reject it outright. "

There is one blessed thing about the TRUTH, no matter how painful:

You cannot Un-know it.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous xenophon said...

I think the Military Commissions Act, and the culture of torture, and brutality and the poisoning of our political system Republicans, and Bush have legalized represents the last possible dead end of so-called "conservative thought".

Its a right wing "trifecta" Republican government. This is it. This is the absolute ideal of any political party, to be in unassailable control of all three branches of government.

And what is the result? What "thought" have they shown their fellow citizens?

They have faithfully followed a path set down by a man they approve of as a "strong man",(after 250 years of a tradition that passionately rejected the very idea of a strong man on its face), and have given him unlimitied powers over his fellow citizens. This in spite of their oaths of office which they apparently have either forgotten, or held in secret contempt even as they were raising their right hands, and placing their left hands on the Bible.

They claim the moral high ground on patriotism, and demand the right to be the only people to have a right to define that term.

Ok, but what has that gotten us? Wire fraud, money laundering, covering up a sexual predator, war based on lies, and snatching a quagmire from the jaws of victory, threatening more wars when we can't even win the ones we have going at trhe moment.

The same old corruption, for the same old reasons seen so many times before.

In short the end product of the right wing Republican's "thought" process, even when they have full power, is less than effective, less than efficient, less than victorious, less than secure, less of everything.

In the long term historical perspective I think the Bush admin's overall failure, and general incompetence will serve as a model, and lesson for the voters of the future when they are once again faced with a right wing cabal that makes promises it no intention of honoring, and seeks support from people it secretly ridicules.

For a long time the American political system has had a fascist virus in its blood stream. I hope the Bush admin will serve as a catalyist for purging that nasty virus.

After six years of the ideal "trifecta" government of one party, the average American is in much more danger from his own government than any so-called terrorist.

Democracy is the only way for America. Ours is the most important economy in the world, our country is too big, too diverse, too complex, and too elegant to be successful as anything but a democracy.

The Republicans as a party have failed American history, failed America's historical mission, failed the very ideas they swore oaths to upon entering federal service, and most of all they have failed democracy.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous rkelly said...

The most serious problem we have in America are the U.S. puppet governments (no different than Saddham), since before the ink was dry on our Constitution and these people who took oaths to protect our "Republic" are completely guilty - "Republican or Democrat, not a dime's worth of difference" of doing exactly as they are told by the "secret government" (CFR, TC, FED, et al) and as far as these "ruling elite" are concerned the Bush Administration is indeed 100% successful as far as the true agenda is concerned. Does "population control" ring any bells and what better solution with respect to global warming caused by the mega-conglomerates now known as the "multi-nationals" and "bring it on" - globalization. Period.

Unfortunately our greatest obstacle to overcome - it was bad enough when we believed it was "follow the money" - but no, it's follow the food.

PLEASE send this to everyone you know and have them send it to everyone they know and then send it over and over again to everyone on the planet who isn't a "ruling elite" because it is what's coming up fast - December 2009.

1:22 PM  

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