The feeble response of the Democratic majority in Congress to the war—meekly submitting to the threat of Republican filibusters, signing all the checks for fear of being anti-troops, etc.—made me wonder if maybe the Cheney crime syndicate had warned leading Democrats that their loved ones could meet with “accidents” if things went too far. (It’s a measure of how low we’ve sunk in the last seven years that I no longer dismiss such ideas as implausible.) A more likely scenario, perhaps, would be that some government official or other has whispered secret spook knowledge into Democratic ears—something so downright scary that the poor dears are willing to line up and salute whenever required. The public space, our space, has been stripped of all meaning and value, and “true” knowledge relegated to the realm of “intelligence”—that dark place that inspires fear and obedience in the hearts of sheep-like politicians. We citizens are outsiders now. We don’t know why, or how, or even what things are really happening in the stinking corridors of power.
In the larger scheme of things, however, the continuation of a war hated by a majority of Americans indicates a deeper struggle than our conspiracy theories can account for. Rational heads have been offering solid ways to pull out of
There seems to be very few lawmakers in
Why the hell are we still in
The Cheney gang represents such a hard lurch to the right that we now tend to note the differences between the two political parties more than the similarities. We’ve heard the anti-Nader folks sputter with indignation at the statement that there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Well, of course there is a difference. The trouble is, there’s not enough of a difference to really solve our problems. The members of the political establishment in this country are united, for the most part, in one thing: a faith in American empire.
There have been imperial tendencies throughout our history, of course. The
Between 1946 and the present, it has become virtually impossible to question the propriety of American empire in public and be viable among the political elites in
There is probably a sizable percentage of the American public—whether it’s a majority or not I don’t know—that doesn’t care about being a superpower, but just wants to make a decent living, have decent education for their kids, and live a safe, prosperous life. Many of us probably aren’t fully aware that we’re being duped, that empire isn’t really benefiting us in the long run. In any case, that point of view has been marginalized.
The mind-set runs so deep that it is practically unconscious. More than once I have heard local news anchors refer to our soldiers in
Garry Wills remarked years ago that the famous Stephen Decatur quote, “My country, right or wrong,” is truly patriotic in that it recognizes the possibility that my country could be wrong. The imperial version of patriotism, on the other hand, does not allow for such distinctions, or for any exercise of individual conscience against the assumed purity of “
What we’re seeing, then, in our present
Whatever happens in