Thursday, December 01, 2016

When I'm Wrong, Boy Am I Wrong

I was going though my archives I ran across this, which I wrote this back March of 2009, when, as the Rolling Stone put it, "Obama Overturns War on Science":
...Some years ago -- during the depths of the Dubya Administration and through absolutely no fault of my own -- I was asked pretty-please to attend the BIO International Convention which, for the first time, was being held in Chicago. 

So I went, and although I have thoroughly suppressed everything I learned about bioinformatics, I still have a lovely tote to show for it.

The highlight was a keynote by Bill Clinton held in one of the McCormick Place's cavernous, sit-down-lunch-for-12,000 halls. For over an hour, Clinton banished the smirkingly anti-intellectual pall of the Dumbass Dauphin and spoke compellingly and without notes (in complete sentences yet!) about how being smarter makes us safer. How using technology to do good -- like bringing clean water to Africa -- also redounded to our geopolitical benefit. Because if people like and respect us, they're less likely to hate and kill us.

And other suchlike subversive, crazy notions.

The lowlight was undoubtedly Neal Cavuto's speech some time later, given, as I recall, the same hall. It was as vicious, petty and vengeful a verbal sniping as you could imagine. Two of the more remarkable moments that I remember vividly were his snarling out to the pharmaceutical reps gathered there that filthy Liberals wanted to "piss in their hair", and his urging them to "withhold medication" from Liberals to teach us a lesson. 

Yes, it really was that bad (everything was taped by a bank of a dozen cameras, but thus far my attempts to score a video of his unhinged tirade has been unsuccessful.) Shit, even the hardcore, capitalist VC-types were creeped out by his gratuitous, over-the-top hate-mongering in the middle of a fucking trade show. But, hey, this is what happens when you give a True Wingnut Believer a microphone and a captive audience.

The other, more low-grade source of unpleasantness was completely understandable: the widespread-if-diplomatically-expressed astonishment by scientists, engineers, educators and investors from all over the planet that America had fallen so damned fast from a proud and profitable beacon of innovation and scientific advancement to a country governed by aggressively ignorant, toe-picking meat-sticks and big-haired, Bible-thumping inbreds.

More than almost any other question, "WTF happened to you people?" was the one I heard asked most often. Asked incredulously. Pityingly. Asked in myriad different ways, in many different forums and in different guises.

As much as America's reckless, neocon wars for oil and empire have driven away our traditional foreign policy allies, America's rapid collapse into a provincial Loutocracy of braying, boastful, paranoid yahoos has driven away our traditional philosophical and cultural allies.

They watched as the public dialogue in the United States sank into a sewer of xenophobia and Conservative-media-fueled rage where the worst thing a human being could possibly be was French, gay, muslim, Liberal and/or Darwin.

They asked for American help and leadership, and instead we offered them the Chimperor and his murderous Regent...
And that holds up pretty well.  I stand by that.

But then, in the next paragraph, I made a promise which was not mine to make. I thought it was, but it turns out I was wrong.  As wrong as wring can be...
Now, at long last, we have a different answer for those friends and allies who watched in horror as the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind; now we can tell them that it was only a temporary madness. That we will never, ever let anything like the Age of Dubya happen again...
Sorry, World.  We tried very, very hard, but the power of Four Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse -- Conservative Media, the GOP's indomitably ignorant and often bigoted base, The Right's Eager Little Helpers (both in the Beltway and in the Kremlin) and the various Protest and Purity Brigades who could not lower themselves to vote for Hillary -- was too much for us.

So keep copies of all those lovely, stirring speeches by Barack and Michele Obama somewhere safe and nearby.  Because during the terrible fever of the next four years you are going to need to many, many reminders of what it was like not to have a band of looters and lunatics led by a gibbering racist madman in charge of the most powerful country on Earth.


Unknown said...

Sure, but DROOOONES.

jbrzoska said...

Just heartbreaking, DG.

duquesnepdx said...


Well, now that we've elected the fascist oompa loompa, we can get back to polluting the shit out of the air we breathe and water we drink because, as we all know, climate change is a hoax created so that those damn librul commie symp sciencey bastards can rake in lots of moneys from a gullible public and Soros.

If you stand on the top of a not-so-tall building, you can see from here the unmitigated hellscape that's coming.

jim said...

Lovely stirring speeches are no small ingredient in what got you here, mes amis.

Action is a far warmer blanket than rhetoric any day.