Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where Yesterday Has Been Exiled

Lethe Beach
Memory is Rebellion.

You know what you don't hear a word about anymore?

The so-called Bush/Cheney "truth and reconciliation" committee.

From “The Nation” almost one year ago:
...
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, deserves credit for pressing ahead with his modest proposal to establish a truth and reconciliation commission to review the assaults on the Constitution and general lawlessness of the Bush-Cheney administration.

As Leahy said at the opening of Wednesday's Judiciary Committee hearing on "Getting To The Truth Through A Nonpartisan Commission Of Inquiry":
Nothing has done more to damage America's place in the world than the revelation that this Nation stretched the law and the bounds of executive power to authorize torture and cruel treatment. The Bush administration chose this course, but tried to keep its policies and actions secret, knowing that they could not withstand scrutiny in the light of day. How many times did President Bush go before the world and say that we did not torture and that we acted in accordance with law?

There are some who resist any effort to look back at all, while others are fixated on prosecution, even if it takes all of the next eight years, or more, and further divides this country.

Over the last month, I have suggested a middle ground to get to the truth of what went on during the last several years, in a way that invites cooperation. I believe that that might best be accomplished though a nonpartisan commission of inquiry. I would like to see this done in a manner removed from partisan politics. Such a commission of inquiry would shed light on what mistakes were made so that we can learn from these errors and not repeat them.
...
Of course, given the fact that the Cheney Regime basically torched the place, walked out in the middle of the five alarm fire they created and have been throwing bombs at the fire department ever since did make it harder to bring something a Truth Committee together under the kind of unflinching spotlight it deserves, but I think there is another, deeper reason: basically that such a commission is that it would involve two things that our elite media and the Conservatives despise the most --"truth” and “reconciliation".

You see, to get at the real roots of the problems that are killing us would necessarily required (to steal the phrase from AA) just the kind of fearless political inventory that almost no one in power is going to risk. Because once you open the door on that sort of thing -- once you set out to hold up the words and deeds of important people to the body scanner of history -- there is no telling who might end up spread-eagled in front of the digital panty sniffer.

And there is no telling what sort of hideously embarrassing Ziplock bags full of avarice, incompetence, cowardice and complicity one is likely to find shoved into the ass cracks of the wealthy and influential.

All of which is to say, when you start planning a Truth safari into the heart of professions run by imbeciles, criminals and nepotists (that have compiled a decades-long unbroken string of lies, failure and fuckuppery) you will not be treated by the gatekeepers of those realms (who make a handsome living doing what they do) as a Deliver, or a long-overdue Goddess of Justice but as the Angel of Death.

After all, what would ever become of pseudo-apostate Conservatives like Andrew Sullivan or David Brooks should they ever be truly stripped of their self-absolving Teflon fantasies about the real nature and history of Conservatism? (Think freshly shucked oysters in a convection oven.) Where would the punditocracy their pernicious be if their lies about “center-right America”, “independents” and Barack Obama’s of being “too liberal” were forcibly pried from their sticky little fingers? What would happen if the press were required to report the fact – unapologetically and repeatedly -- that the Tea Party movement was mostly armed White Identity idiots operating under a sponsorship agreement with Fox? That the Right completely lost its shit years and years ago? If Rush and Glenn and Bill-O weren’t around, who would help abet the aggrieved delusions of bigots and fundies? What would happen if every Blue Dog who preached mindless bipartisanship and compromise as the solution to every problem (“If we just bend over a litttttle further and grab our ankles a liiiitle tighter…”) were openly mocked as being simple-minded fools in “serious” venues every day?

But that will never happen, because once our political, social and media institutions decided to preserve their status and fiscal well-being by playing make-believe with ugly truths about themselves and their own behavior, they become hostage to the habit. And once it became clear that media personalities and politicians could openly and repeatedly lie to the public without swift and brutal consequences -- once they gave themselves permission to flush their own incompetence, cowardice and complicity down the memory hole with impunity – we were well and truly screwed.

Because after all, from what position of factual, experiential or moral superiority would people who lie more-or-less continuously about the last 30 years of American political and cultural history pass judgment on people who lie about where the President was born? Or Death Panels? Or…anything?

Once you take that Faustian bargain, it doesn’t matter how fine your suit is or how surgically superior your tits may be; you’re just another grifter, straining a different grade of ethical sludge for krill.

And so we find ourselves drowning in a vast conspiracy of forgetting.

Living in an American where larger and larger chunks of recent and inconvenient history are just being whisked away with the giddy recklessness of a four-year-old who has just discovered lying.

9 comments:

chris said...

"a searching and fearless moral inventory" is the phrase.
Like that's gonna happen...

Nicely done, DG.

karen marie said...

And of course, the Democratic majority is no more interested in "truth" than the Republicans. This was never anything more than Kabuki to excite the Democratic base.

invisible said...

I think what you mean to say, by virtue of the fact that this is how you made ME feel is, we are all fainting goats. I am a fainting goat filled with rigor and fainting.

Am I right, or am I right?

Suzan said...

Bless whoever made you, Dg.

What a writer!

What a gift to our world.

S

you’re just another grifter, straining a different grade of ethical sludge for krill.

Serving Patriot said...

Drifty,

But that will never happen, because once our political, social and media institutions decided to preserve their status and fiscal well-being by playing make-believe with ugly truths about themselves and their own behavior, they become hostage to the habit. And once it became clear that media personalities and politicians could openly and repeatedly lie to the public without swift and brutal consequences -- once they gave themselves permission to flush their own incompetence, cowardice and complicity down the memory hole with impunity – we were well and truly screwed.

Yep.


Yet another hit. And I luv the graphic!!!

It's all about the future now, friend. The future I say! Who needs to know about, much less remember the past?!

What I wonder is who learned the behavior from whom? The politicians from their constituents? Or the Citizen from his "elected" leaders?

You're right though about the outcome. We're screwed. Welcome to the Accountability Free Zone.

SP

JJHunsecker said...

Or to translate your great first line into Italian:

R(esistere).

Sachem said...

Give Leahy credit. He's still trying, but the presence of the dark one as political opposition muddles the process substatially.

Sign the Truth Commission Petition here:
http://ga3.org/campaign/btcpetition?qp_source=btc_aw

Gay Veteran said...

The simple fact is that this is a deeply immoral country. And no, that has little to do with genitalia.

pwapvt said...

As always you have a turn of the pen that inspires. They have a button, I think, that gets pressed at inaugurations of Dem presidents that makes the past disappear. A strange, and awful amnesia.