Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hubris Over Easy

The Torture Guy finally resigned on August 27, and one wonders why it happened at this particular time. At first I assumed that Boosh’s “reluctance” to accept the resignation was pure bull, like everything else he says. Gonzales wouldn’t leave unless his master wanted him to, right? But emptywheel offers some interesting speculation over at The Next Hurrah. It’s possible that Gonzo was unwilling to perjure himself further. Not out of principle, of course. Everything is naked self-interest with these folks, never principle.

Understanding what’s really going on in Washington always means reading between the lines. It has become a simple fact of life that the public pronouncements of our “leaders” hide the truth rather than reveal it. It’s either empty rhetoric or carefully crafted code. This is because the government takes a stance against the public—its primary purpose is to hide the facts from their own people. No matter what kind of flattery and baby-kissing one may see on the stump, the citizens are seen only as a mass of stupidity, if not potential treachery, and everything is done to keep them passive and ignorant. One symptom of this is the casual dishonesty that permeates the public discourse at every level.

For instance, in Gonzales’s brief resignation speech, he said the following: “It is through their [the DOJ staff’s] continued work that our country and our communities remain safe, that the rights and civil liberties of our citizens are protected, and the hopes and dreams of all of our children are secured.”

Come again? Rights and civil liberties? Since when has Gonzales given a crap about that? Under his authority, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ was crippled and demoralized. Experienced attorneys were replaced by Bush toadies with no interest in civil liberties whatsoever. His role in the justification of torture, and the odious policies regarding “enemy combatants” is enough to make you sick just hearing the word “rights” emitting from his lips. Then there’s his participation in the subversion of our voting rights through voter suppression and other means, his undermining of the Fourth Amendment, and the list goes on.

But Gonzo can stand there and say “rights and civil liberties” without blinking an eye. Does he really believe it?

I had similar thoughts listening to Rove when he resigned last week. “At month's end,” he said, “I will join those whom you meet in your travels, the ordinary Americans who tell you they are praying for you. Like them, I will ask for God's continued gifts of strength and wisdom for you and your work, your vital work for our country and the world, and for the Almighty's continued blessing of our great country.”

Here’s a guy who would do anything, and did—slime McCain for having a “black baby” in order to win a primary in South Carolina; reveal the name of a CIA agent in order to punish her husband for opposing Bush; and undermine one of our most precious legacies, the right to vote, without a second thought. And this only scratches the surface of what this scumbag did to the country. And here he goes, talking about God and prayer. I would bet everything I own that Rove doesn’t believe in God or prayer. But when he stands up in front of a microphone and mouths these words, maybe there’s a part of him that believes his own bullshit?

I guess it doesn’t matter. When the only value is political power, and nothing else, then the very idea of truth becomes outmoded, or “quaint” (as Gonzo termed the Geneva Conventions). Since you don’t really believe anything, you can choose to believe whatever rubbish comes out of your mouth in the moment. You can choose to believe that you’re a public servant, that you’re actually doing something for the country, that you have a “cause.” And because your capacity to fool yourself makes you impervious to criticism, or indeed reality, thousands of people die.

The age of arrogance will not endure. We must hasten its end.

1 comment:

Maestro eXpressivo said...

“If anyone disagrees with anything I say, I am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also to deny under oath that I ever said it.”

~ Tom Lehrer