Monday, November 23, 2009

Journal for Monday November 23: Decry Irrationality! These People Work For Us!

I object to the asssumption of public officials that I will blindly, quietly accept the irrationality and lies put forth by our government, members of which are, in effect, our employees. 

I observe in utter disbelief the way large segments of the population agree to have their emotions, fears, and supersitions appealed to, and are led willingly to make choices against their own best interests.  Power-seekers have perfected this ominous art, and we see the results...our public discourse, or at least that which gets covered in the popular media, is filled with mistruths and wrong-headedness.

A couple of my friends in the blogosphere have posted intelligently and eloquently on the more visible manifestations of this blight on our political and social discourse. Torqopia discussed the irrationality of politics, citing an example, with video evidence, of the way our political parties, especially the RNC, will defend their own against all common sense.  And the amazing Sophisticated Lunacy wrote a brilliant original essay on the lies being told to stop health care reform simply to derail ANY initiative sought by our current President, even though it could further destroy our economy and put citizens in real jeopardy.

(Interesting that in both, Sarah Palin is the poster child for these outrages.)

My own incredulity was aroused last week during Attorney General Eric Holder's appearance before a Senate Judiciary Commitee to defend his decsion to try accused 9/11 terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammad in Civil Court in New York.  Opinions differ strongly about whether bringing the trial to Manhattan is prudent. Apart from that debate, however, I was troubled by this incredible exchange (from an article in the New York Times):

"....Senators of both parties also pressed Mr. Holder to say what would happen if Mr. Mohammed or another detainee considered to be a dangerous terrorist was acquitted on a technicality or given a short sentence. Mr. Holder has said he will direct prosecutors to seek a death sentence in the Sept. 11 case.
Other Justice Department officials have said that even if Mr. Mohammed is acquitted, the Obama administration will keep him locked up forever as a “combatant” under the laws of war. But Mr. Holder largely sidestepped such questions, instead simply asserting that he was confident that Mr. Mohammed would be convicted.
“Failure is not an option,” Mr. Holder said...."

As much as we may believe that KSM is guilty and deserves prosecution, to assert from the start that any outome other than prosecution will not be tolerated would seem to fly in the face of the rationale for holding a civil trial in the first place: that is, it “shows the world that this country stands firmly behind its legal system and the Constitution.” (Russ Feingold, D, Wisconsin).

There was a time when I would have turned the other way, resigned to the fact that our government is irretrievably corrupt and that there was no point troubling myself.  But I can't, in good conscience, allow our elected officials and those who work for them to continue to insult people of good will and useful intellect. This journal is one of the best methods I have to continue to reinvent myself, and I hope it to be another tile in a global mosaic of positive change.   

I applaud those who speak out on their journals and blogs and in the public arena.  And when our media keep distracting us from these issues by sending out pseudo-alarms about Adam Lambert on the American Music Awards kissing (oh! the moral outrage!) another man, we must cry foul and force the news outlets to bring their attention---and that of their audience---back to what matters.  Our lives depend on this.


  1. Hey Tom, Great post! Thanks for the kind words and the shout out. My cup runneth over!

    Every day I see stories in the news where they interview people marching in protest and shouting out the same, tired anti-Obama slogans. And every time they are interviewed, they all choke when they are asked to defend their angry stance. The result is always the same - the usual nonsensical sputtering hyperbole learned by rote and disjointed smear-campaign catch phrases - almost as if they were channeling Ms. Palin! They don't actually know what they are saying, but by yelling insults they are doing their best to convince everyone that they do.

    So sad that people have allowed themselves to become brainless tools of big business and the Republican party and aren't even smart enough to know it.

    Over twenty-five years ago a dear friend wrote an inscription in a book he gave me and I will never forget it. It read "...always have the courage to light one small candle to help remove the shrouds of ignorance."

    Tom, your candle is burning brightly!

  2. Tom Goette:

    Your views here are so well expressed. I thank you for gracing my journal with them.

    I appreciate the kind words too... Readers (and friends)like you keep me fired up!