Friday, December 08, 2006
In Praise of VOLUME
" If my discourse puts a sour taste in your mouth, then so be it. That's what real life tastes like, my friend."
That summed up my reply to a commenter of Buffalo's who suggested that we work in the shadows of politeness and decorum to right our wrongs, lest we suggest to our enemies that we do not think in lockstep with one another. This is the same mindset I equate with those who received reports of abuse at Abu Graive, of mental illness manifest in the ranks of Irag war veterans, and decided that such things best be dealt with in the shadows, not out in the open where the horror of examination can test their validity. Tyrants and oppressive regimes all over the world wonder at our relatively transparent style of governance, puzzled that our leaders would tolerate dissent and not crush opposition, even mere vocal protest. They think us fools, and then lick their wounds in frustration when push comes to shove and they come out on the losing end of confrontations with us. At least that's the way it used to be.
Now I can imagine Vladamir Putin smiling when he reads the papers and finds that our president, an elected leader of the freest nation on Earth, convinces the coddled and self-important American people that they don't need to know what he does in the name of protecting them. I can imagine the premiere of the "Peoples" Republic of China grinning ear to ear when he is told the lengths a conservative republican will go to to keep up the pretense that he's fully in control of a losing proposition, that proposition being that you can shove democracy down the throat of a sectarian tribal society egged on by terrorists who win wars by having us search little old ladies for bombs before they get on a plane. Yes, such stories are quite telling. They tell those who value power over freedom that there is more than one way to stifle dissent. Just claim that one is not "patriotic", or even suggest we love our enemies more than ourselves when we raise our voices louder than we should in polite society. Yes, my friends, when one is witness to a fire in a crowded theatre, these people suggest that we should whisper "fire", rather than be boorish and unsophisticated enough to bellow it out in no uncertain terms that it's due to get hot around here real quick if we don't do something NOW.
Yes, I am fully aware of how this mechanism called democracy works. We elect people to represent us. They make promises to us concerning what they will do in our name if they are elected. If they do something that seems totally counter to what they promised during their campaigns, we are expected to write letters to them asking them to reconsider their positions. However, lately it seems that all bets are off once the winning vote is tabulated. It seems that special interests pay more than our votes are worth, and more often than not our "representatives" loyalties are sold to the highest bidder. However, there is a line that even in this day and age a politician will not cross, and the press keeps a close eye on that line, daring them to cross it. That does not, however, keep them from trying to do so, and it is in the shadows of double talk, deception, and the cloak of blind patriotism that these outrages occur. I truly believe that most Americans (well, nowadays maybe 53% at least) have had their fill of these naked emperors assuming that we are ALL sheep who can be led around by our noses. And they are getting more and more vocal, which apparently still offends those who believe that wife beaters should be dealt with by their buddies in privacy rather than paraded out in the criminal justice system where they should be dealt with openly for all to see. We can't pass judgment on what we can't see. We can't tell our sons and daughters to go and do their patriotic duty and serve their country proudly if all they are really doing is being fed to a meat-grinder with an insatiable appetite that can't be sated.
Remain politely silent and gracious if you must. Bear your grief equally in silence, for if you didn't have the guts to speak out before your sacrifice, you have precious little right to complain after the fact. Early on, in the days after 9/11, I might have allowed you your eagerness to be hyper-patriotic in your justified outrage. These days, however, I personally cannot allow you the excuse the Germans gave after Hitler committed suicide in his comfortable little bunker as the Russians closed in on him. "We didn't know......." Like HELL you didn't!