"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Riot police because a few blockheads got upset with some fine, brave umpiring in the Bronx last night? Couple of baseballs on the field and we get...riot police? Everything did change on 9/11, I guess. The object is to demonstrate overwhelming force at the first sign of trouble (or of dissent, I fear). It was like watching a game televised from Argentina. We don't believe in the Powell Doctrine in Baghdad, apparently, but we believe in it enough to use it at the ballpark, or in the streets, especially if this election goes as lunatic as it's shaping up to go. We believe in it enough to use it against our fellow citizens. Nice.
Which brings me to, well, fear. We are hearing a lot of it from the White House these days. They are, as you know, the party of hope and the party of optimism and the party of great rivers of strawberry wine in the sparkling sunshine down by the Dingly Dell. (Thanks, Eric Idle, for that last bit. The next line, as all Pythonophiles will recall, is "There, they sold prophylactics," and I guess the parallels to this White House break down.) The problem for them, of course, is that they have used a great appeal to ill-defined, undifferentiated fear for so long that it's begun to turn on them. The basis for their use of the 9/11 atrocities for domestic consumption and in service of their messianic vision of the world was twofold: they had to make us afraid, and they had to convince us that they were the only people who had things, you know, under control. That's the ungainly straddling that enabled them to concoct the otherwise nonsensical political syllogism, "Terrorists Are Everywhere So Go To The Mall NOW!", which later was amended to "We're In A War On Terror So We Need Another Tax Cut NOW!", which made even less sense.
Well, things are pretty clearly not under control, here or there or anywhere else. There were an awful lot of lies told for the purpose of ginning up a useful anxiety. So what's left is the fear that was once so useful, and now seems to be seeking to revenge itself upon its creators. So when we hear Dick (By The Way, His Daughter's A Lesbian) Cheney tell us on one day that John Kerry is using the politics of fear and then, on the next, tell us that only he and C-Plus Augustus can keep us safe from a suitcase nuke at the Orange Julius stand, we can conclude that the Avignon Presidency is reaching that perilous period of Bushite incoherency that we political historians like to call the Nitty Gritty Dirty Bird Band Stage -- after that moment when ol' 41 was trying to be hip and come up with the name of, I believe, Edison Lighthouse, although I could be wrong.
There, that'll show him. Bastard.