Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Death of Cynicism

Bush has now announced that the United States, once the land of the free and the home of the brave, is now a corrupt Soviet-style police-state reliant on a network of secret prisons instead of a system of laws and justice.

May God have mercy on his twisted soul.

Cynicism can not survive in a world where reality so closely matches our nightmares. When I was growing up, a nation that spied on its own citizens, that locked people away in secret prisons, that employed torture to extract information, that attacked countries which had not attacked it, that rape-murders families in a country it is occupying - such a nation was an abomination. Such a nation was an enemy to the good and upstanding nations of the world.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

What's left that we can consider cynical? Is it cynical to believe that corrupt corporate entities would doctor electronic voting machines? Is it cynical to believe that 18 families have bought enough Republicans to get the estate tax repealed? Is it cynical to believe that political hacks would use a national security warning system to manipulate our fears for short-term political gain?

Whatever you think of these claims, you can no longer say that believing them is unjustifiably cynical. No. Not in the brave new world where the American flag flies over secret prisons. Not in Bush's America.

Cynicism requires a certain innocence to define itself and contrast with. Cynicism can only exist where the conjecture is beyond reasonably justifiable expectation. Bush and the Republicans have destroyed that innocence. Bush's sick, Stalinistic impulse to imprison people in secret prisons deprives us of any reasonable belief that our nation is better than that.

12 Comments:

Anonymous travelingal said...

I can hardly believe what I'm reading. Have you no knowledge of history? Of a country that tested drugs on citizen prisoners right here in the U.S. ... of a government that rounded up and imprisoned tens of thousands of Japanese citizens of America after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor UNDER A DEMOCRAT and finally did you know that those "secret prisons" started under Clinton! Don't believe me - here's a fact sheet from the ACLU.
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/extraordinaryrendition/22203res20051206.html

9/08/2006 7:37 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

And "cynical"? I don't think so. I think it's more like Bush derangement syndrome.

9/08/2006 7:40 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Democrat, Republican, they're ALL hacks. And usually old white men. They take advantage of anyone who isn't white, old, or a man.

9/08/2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger dolphin said...

What travelingal and the rest of the Bush worshipers fail to see is that I don't object to things on the basis of who does them or when they are done, but rather the actual action happening.

In otherwords, I think secret prisons are wrong whether they are done by Bush, Clinton, or Mother Theresa.

9/08/2006 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

"Bush Worshippers?"

I don't know any of those. What I do see is a tendancy on the left to classify anyone who disagrees with them as "Bush worshippers," as if such a label summarily dismisses their contribution to the debate. And certainly many on the left would blame the current administration if a comet struck the earth - it must be Bush's fault.

Certainly there is legitimate criticism of this administration. True enough, as a conservative, I'm not particularly happy with him either. But Travelingal is correct in pointing out that much of this criticism is short-sighted and ignorant (certainly purposefully so) of historical realities.

And Dolphin: don't kid yourself. I have NO doubt that we would not be seeing this kind of criticism of those actions were they done by a democratic administration; in fact, most WERE done by previous administrations. No renting of the clothes or gnashing of teeth there. This is far more about WHO is acting than WHAT is being done. Note the uproar over ABC's "docu-drama" - Moore was an honored guest at the Dem. National Convention after his fantasy hatchet piece Fahrenheit 9/11 (is that how Fahrenhiet is spelled, Dan? XO? Oh, never mind . . .), but the left is beside itself over the ABC piece? Which is more balanced? Please; that's not even a close call. Free speech for me, but not for thee.

Much of this criticism is nothing more than Chicken Little the-sky-is-falling balony. "Oh heavens, we're about to lose our democracy; soon they'll be rounding up the intellectuals and . . bla, bla, bla." Or to quote Dan: ". . now a corrupt Soviet-style police-state. . . . where reality so closely matches our nightmares."

Riiight. This republic has been through far worse than this, and survived; indeed, come out stronger. Criticism is legitimate; comparing the current administration to the Nazi regime (as is common in the left blogosphere)and comparable hyperbole undercuts the legitimacy of the criticism itself, further, it diminishes the reality of the crimes of the Nazi (and Soviet) regimes. While we may well criticize the administration's actions, this is hardly the revival of Soviet gulags. The reality reflected by Godwin's Law is equally apt here. We then delve into JFK-esk conspiracy fantasies ("corrupt corporate entities would doctor electronic voting machines?"). Do you fear the knock on your door in the middle of the night, Dan, after this little exercise in the 1st amendment?

"Whatever you think of these claims, you can no longer say that believing them is unjustifiably cynical." Yes, I can.

Though cynical is not the word I would use. Borderline hysteria is the term I would use.

9/08/2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

I think what bothered me so much about Dan's post was that he compared Bush to Stalin and that I thought the post in general was very anti-American. What I tried to point out was that things in my opinion have been worse in this country but what I failed to say is that I think we are the greatest nation on Earth and it upsets me, saddens me really, to see so many people who denegrate this wonderful country as if we've turned into some kind of monster. We've done things we shouldn't be proud of .. bombing Hiroshima for example .. but we do an awful lot of good things too and I think we are a better country than we used to be.

9/08/2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Anon - "Do you fear the knock on your door in the middle of the night, Dan, after this little exercise in the 1st amendment?"

I can't speak for Dan, but I certainly do.

When I know that our government is illegally monitoring the phone conversations, banking transactions and internet sites visited by ordinary Americans, and these blogs; yes, I fear the "knock on the door in the middle of the night".

When I see SWAT teams covered in bullet-proof armor and wearing black masks that cover their faces carrying military weapons kicking in doors of a residential home when everyone is alseep before a judge has even issued a search warrant; yes, I fear the "knock on the door in the middle of the night".

When I see cameras on every street corner recording every move of private citizens going about their perfectly legal, daily business; yes, I fear the "knock on the door in the middle of the night".

When I see innocent people stopped in the streets without probable cause in the hopes that MAYBE, just MAYBE, the Police MIGHT find someone drinking and driving or with outstanding warrants; yes, I fear the "knock on the door in the middle of the night".

We are already living in an Soviet-Style Police State. Being stopped at a DUI Checkpoint and being required to show your identification is no different WHATSOEVER than being stopped on the street in East Germany and being told to "show your papers". The procedure is the same and the goal is the same.

The really, really sad part is, we did this to ourselves. We allowed the general populace to become so ignorant, so dumbed-down, that they handed over their liberties on a silver platter in exchange for the illusion of safety and then they thanked the people who took their freedom away.

Travelingal - "we do an awful lot of good things too and I think we are a better country than we used to be."

I wish I could agree with you. There is nothing I would like better than to be able to agree with you with a clear conscience.

But I just can't. I love my country. I think I love it more than those rabid "patriots" who turn a blind eye to all of the harm that we do. I love my country so much that it pains me to see what we are doing.

George W. Bush isn't the sole cause of all of our problems. I'm a student of history. It goes all the way back to the beginning. We had lofty ideals, and we met most of them. And we have done a lot of good in the world. A lot.

But in business they say that a customer that has a good experience might tell two people about it. A person who has a bad experience, will tell eight people about it.

The same is true of our dealings with other countries.

The "Islamo-Fascists" that we are fighting, are still pissed off about things that "The Christian West (England, France, Germany, Spain)" did to them a thousand years ago!

How long do you think they will remember what we have done to them in the last six years?

We couldn't kill them all a thousand years ago. We can't kill them all today.

Maybe we should consider a different approach.

Ya think?

9/08/2006 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you could put Dan, XO, Anonymous Me and Me in a room and we could probably somehow get to agreement on privacy laws that we all could live with. (For a moment questioned my sanity on that statement, but..)

Point is, that doesn't appear to be the case with our elected representatives. I truly think we need a viable third party in this country.

Freedom is extremely important to all of us, no doubt about that in my mind.

9/09/2006 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you could put Dan, XO, Anonymous Me and Me in a room and we could probably somehow get to agreement on privacy laws that we all could live with. (For a moment questioned my sanity on that statement, but..)

Point is, that doesn't appear to be the case with our elected representatives. I truly think we need a viable third party in this country.

Freedom is extremely important to all of us, no doubt about that in my mind.

9/09/2006 12:24 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Oops, above comment was from me.

9/09/2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger les said...

The thing I am the most tired of among the Bush...ok, not lovers, how about apologists...is that they don't even bother to deny the facts of Dan's post. It is somehow sufficient justification for executive lawlessness and disregard for constitutional rights to say that sometime, somehow, someone else was as bad. I'm surprised no one mentioned "we're not as bad a Sadaam." I guess to expect more from my country is pointless, when it's citizens accept such standards.

9/11/2006 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

XO:

Does the phrase "mindless paranoia" come to mind?

9/19/2006 9:19 AM  

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