Are your Leaders.
One of the great, underlying themes of Orwell’s “1984” is how the State subjugates and perverts that last safe-house of liberty -- memory. How Outer Party members -- like Republican Party members -- are relentless reminded that the Past is not a fixed object. That “backwards looking” is dangerous and unpatriotic, in our case chiefly because that Past is full of the “evidence” of the “failures” and “lies” of the Dear Leader.
So we certainly don’t want people snooping around there.
We want them instead looking at an Invented Past, because then, when the Past has become the manufactured product of a political machine, it is magically transformed into a bottomless wingnut treasure-house stocked with an infinity of outrages and betrayals and wily enemies always just beyond our reach, and yet against whom we are always on the verge of Complete Victory.
A Past full of grievances and Righteous Christian Fury and predicates for war to keep the Hate that powers the Party strong forever.
Because in that world, the Leader has become the Enemy, and within the bubble of the Party the Past is nothing more or less than whatever the fuck Big Brother or Little Dubya says it is.
So when Dubya says something patently ridiculous like this:
Bush says Iraq war was worth it
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House
President Bush says he has no doubts about launching the unpopular war in Iraq despite the "high cost in lives and treasure," arguing that retreat now would embolden Iran and provide al-Qaida with money for weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States.
Bush is to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on Wednesday with a speech at the Pentagon. Excerpts of his address were released Tuesday night by the White House.
At least 3,990 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war in 2003. It has cost taxpayers about $500 billion and estimates of the final tab run far higher. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglizt and Harvard University public finance expert Linda Bilmes have estimated the eventual cost at $3 trillion when all the expenses, including long-term care for veterans, are calculated.
It just of hangs in the air.
Meaningless, quacking noises slurred for the thousandth time from the mouth of a liar and halfwit.
I mean, at long last who the fuck is he even talking to? Who is there left on the face of the Earth who has not already made up their mind?
And then I remember, yet again, that this liar and halfwit is the Leader of the Free World.
That this is a liar and halfwit who is still fervently worshiped as the Greatest Fucking Christian American Hero Evah by millions of my fellow citizens.
Millions of loyal Outer Party members.
And when Dick Cheney (who, after five years of war, still has to sneak into the heart of the Fabulous Iraqi Catastrophe he created) announces this (emphasis added):
Cheney again links Iraq invasion to 9/11 attacks as bombing victims are buried
By Hannah Allam and Laith Hammoudi, McClatchy NewspapersTue Mar 18, 5:20 PM ET
BAGHDAD — Amid tears and wails, mourners in the southern city of Najaf on Tuesday began burying victims from a suicide bombing that killed nearly 50 worshipers and injured dozens of others just before evening prayers Monday in nearby Karbala .
In Baghdad , a long-anticipated Iraqi national reconciliation conference began with great fanfare, then quickly dissolved into the usual sectarian and political stalemates that have marred several similar gatherings in recent years.
But Vice President Dick Cheney gave an upbeat view of conditions in Iraq as he concluded his unannounced trip to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion. Cheney also defended the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as part of the struggle against terrorism following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
This month, an exhaustive Pentagon-sponsored review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents captured during the 2003 U.S. invasion found no evidence that Saddam's regime had any operational links with the al Qaida terrorist network.
But Cheney, who spent the night at a sprawling U.S. base in the northern town of Balad, told soldiers they were defending future generations of Americans from a global terror threat.
"This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 . That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home," said Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne, and their daughter, Elizabeth.
It also just hangs in the air.
Another in such a long, long, long litany of ridiculous, bare-faced, treasonous lies by a man who, by all rights, should be rotting away the rest of his miserable life in federal prison wearing an orange jump suit with “War Criminal” stenciled across the back.
But instead is free to stride across the world stage and lie his ass off because he and Dubya have one more duty to perform.
Like the vile defenders of slavery, the final act to their hideous legacy is to reshape the world insofar as it is possible into a place where their unspeakable crimes cannot be undone.
Like the despicable authors of Jim Crow, their final aim is to rip the body politic so violently, and to grind their feculent, blood-drunk authoritarian insanity into our wounds so deeply, that America will never be rid of festering disease they leave behind.
Using torture, murder, economic catastrophe, the loss of whole cities and wars to sheer incompetence, the beatification of Teh Stupid, pardons, signing statements, illegal domestic spying, secret prisons, radical deregulation, the Feudalization of America, and on and on and on, the final transgression of the Bush/Cheney junta is this:
To try and make the rest of crimes of the last seven years seem normal.
In the most nakedly Orwellian way imaginable, they are seeking to smother any conception that it might be possible to have a President who is not a lazy and proudly ignorant sadist. A President who can actually be bothered to pronounce big words correctly and can actually be bothered to understand big ideas at all.
A President who doesn’t smirk and snicker at the catastrophes he has unleashed, as if Katrina or Iraq were some particularly mischievous fart jokes.
To kill any memory of a time when a Vice President wasn’t simply an evil, rapacious beast. Was something other than a genuine monster, left completely unsupervised to run murderously amok, lie at will, ignore the rule of law, and then order up Presidential Pardons for any of his traitorous underlings who got caught gutting the Constitution as causally as you or I might order Chinese take-out.
All of which provides (if you are looking at it from this angle) the most dramatic backdrop I could possibly imagine for Senator Obama’s speech.
Because today the President and Vice President each told horrendous lies.
They told them casually and for the hundredth time, and no one in the media freaked out, or fainted, or ran into the bowels of their building screaming “Stop The Presses!”
Because after seven long years of crime after crime and travesty after travesty, having leaders who despise our nation -- leaders who openly hate We The People and have done more than any foreign despot or terrorist to destroy America as we know it -- has become the New and Terrible Normal.
And so while many people have said many nice things about Barack Obama’s speech today –- for example, comparing it glowingly to speeches by Lincoln, Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt -- I would add one more adjective.
It was, on its face, a brilliant speech about race in America. Perhaps the brilliant speech about race in America.
However as much as we are a nation crippled by centuries of racial injustice and tragedy, we are also a nation traumatized by seven years of vicious, deliberate and continual battering at the hands of evil men.
We are also a nation that has lost cities, soldiers, treasure and our good name at the hands of those evil men.
We are also a nation that, after seven years of bombardment not from foreign shores but from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, has become dazed and exhausted and not a little despairing by the shrieking, 24/7/365 barrage of Neocon bullshit, threats, open lust for endless war and open contempt for our laws and way of life.
And onto that stage strode the Junior Senator from Illinois, who proceeded to remind us for 37 minutes that it is still possible to have leaders who speak plain, painful truths with honesty and eloquence.
Who reminded us with every word and gesture that we deserve so much better, so much finer, than the likes of Bush and Cheney.
That when the shitstorms come, good leaders do not drag the world into the sewer with them by playing on the people's fears, but instead rise to the meet the moment and rally the people to greatness by appealing to their goodness.
That although, as Churchill said,
“We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering”
Churchill also said
“But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope.
I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, ‘come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.’"
So while the national press could not be bothered to mention today that the President and Vice President lied to us, yet again, on matters of life and death, for 37 minutes all across the nation, just as in the days of old -- around radios and teevees in offices and cabs and cafeterias and gyms -- Americans listened and even wept as the Junior Senator from Illinois stood against the tide of filth and incompetence and fear that Bush and Cheney and their legions so desperately want us to believe is all we can ever have and reminded us of how much better we can be if we just demand better of ourselves and our leaders.
For 37 minutes the Junior Senator from Illinois looked America’s race problems dead in the eye, and at the same time managed to remind a beleaguered and exhausted nation that Hope Rocks.
And Smart is Beautiful.
And that, my friends, was something to see.