Friday, March 25, 2005

Couldn't stand it anymore...

I flatter myself to think anyone even noticed that I took a rather protracted break from posting in this space, but whether anybody noticed or not, I did. Frankly, dear reader, I reached a point of such frustration and despair, I just couldn't pick a topic to bitch about. Which from among the swelling ranks of lies and criminally arrogant stunts being perpetrated by Pres. Smirk, the ever vile Cheney, or their pernicious band of preening, right-wing Washington hyenas should I choose to rant about? The cabinet appointments (shudder), the judicial nominees, social security privatization, Iraq, ANWR drilling, the mounting deficit, gas prices, "freedom on the march", "town hall" meetings, Condi going to Germany wearing jack-boots? It was just too much for a while.

But finally, at long last, a dying woman in Florida has breathed new life into my disgust with the whole lot of them.

The freakish, cynical, disgusting sideshow that has ensued in the wake of the Terri Schiavo matter simply defies anything I could have imagined the uptight right to be capable of. By now I'm sure anybody reading this has heard all you want to hear, and I can add nothing new, other than to compliment Ann Coulter for actually surprising me by how friggin' bizarre she can really be, tagging the Democratic Party as the "party of death," and exhorting Jeb Bush to go in with the Florida National Guard and physically abduct Terri Schiavo from her hospital bed for her own protection. I'm sure he looked into it only to discover that the Florida National Guard are all in Iraq, spreading freedom...

All through the whole thing, what came to my mind was how truly vitriolic the public discourse in this country has become since the Rethugs came to power, especially since the 2002 mid-terms. There is no "loyal opposition" anymore. The conventional wisdom is that if you disagree with them, you're at best unpatriotic, and at worst, a terrorist. Tom DeLay, paragon of Texas virtue that he is, even called Judge Whittemore, the Florida judge who refused to order Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube put back in, a "murderer, and a terrorist." Jeez, dude. Chill!

I knew I couldn't be the only person to have noticed this marked change in our social contract, and then I read Mark Morford's latest column in the San Francisco Gate. Here's an outtake...

"There is a direct correlation between the violent and heartless tone and attitude of our country and the mental and spiritual health of its people and by way of comparison just look at the Clinton era, which brought eight years of unprecedented prosperity and peace and a nearly balanced budget and high economic flush.

"It's true. There was, we forget, a decided lack of sexual anxiety and uptight moral rigidity in the nation, minimal pseudo-religious puling from the uptight Right and much moderate lawmaking and I don't care a whit for what you say about the man's personal moral compass -- under Clinton, America had deeply supportive allies, intelligent foreign policy, more genuine concern for the planet and the health of our forests and oceans and air, and we had a president who was incredibly articulate and deeply intelligent and greatly beloved the world over and the nation enjoyed one of its most prosperous and nondivisive and peaceful periods in its history.

"And now, the exact opposite. Everywhere you look, the culture is fractured and divisive and mean. Everywhere you look it's war and pollution and more toxins, red versus blue, good versus evil, more garbage and less concern where to shove it, fewer restrictions on industrial polluters and fewer controls on corporate abuse and an administration that has so shamelessly leveraged the worst tragedy in American history to further its brutal and hawkish right-wing agenda it would embarrass Mussolini."

And there it is. The shocking truth. I unabashedly lay the blame for what's become of our social and political demeanor squarely at the feet of W and his fawning cronies. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Santorum, Frist, Gonzalez, and the rest. We'll all be long dead before even the most progressive leadership will ever be able to undo the unspeakable damage that has been done by these swaggering thugs, and not just to our civil rights, our standing in the world, our environment, and our wealth. The real damage has been to our spirit; our ability to come together and pull together as Americans; our trust of each other, and respect for each other; our ability to agree on a common goal, even if we disagree on how to get there.

They found us at peace, and flush with prosperity, and they will leave us at war on several fronts, and at war with each other, red versus blue.

Thanks a lot. Jerks.