Thursday, August 30, 2012
I've watched about 5 minutes total of the big rally to take our country back to 1953, which is probably on the whole the perfect moment as far as "they're" concerned, all features considered: you have a new Republican President who's a war hero, you have Joe McCarthy and John Foster Dulles, and a raging cold war, and atomic testing, including the H-bomb, and Mickey Mantle smoking Camels in the outfield, and Miss Monroe on the silver screen, schools are well segregated, women are mostly quiet visual objects if they're young and pretty, or hard at work cooking and cleaning otherwise, gay people are secrets, and abortions are illegal or go by other medical names when necessary for those with money and in need.
Every speech I've seen or heard snippets of is laced with lies. There's no point in even bothering to counter them. (Edroso went and got married, and he's busy.) There is one speech, though, that really bothered me beyond all the rest. That was Mr. McCain's, last night. McCain decided to even bring our day to day foreign policy into the conversation. Here's what he said last night, in part (as transcribed by Fox News):
....When Iranians rose up by the millions against their oppressive rulers, when they beseached our president, chanting in English, “Are you with us, or are you with them?”, when the entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot and bled to death in a street in Tehran.
The president missed a historic opportunity to throw America’s full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world.
The situation is far worse in Syria. What began as peaceful protests has now become, 18 months later, a savage and unfair fight.
With the full backing of Iran, and Hezbollah, and Russia-with tanks, and helicopters, and fighter jets, Bashir Assad is murdering men, women and children.
More than 20,000 people have perished. Extremists are gaining ground. And the conflict is becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies, and for us. In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents – both Republicans and Democrats – have acted to help them prevail.
Sadly, for the lonely voices of dissent in Syria, and Iran, and elsewhere, who feel forgotten in their darkness, and sadly for us, as well, our president is not being true to our values.
For the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of people who are willing to give their lives so their fellow citizens can determine their own futures and for the sake of our nation – the nation founded on the idea that all people, everywhere, have the right to freedom and justice – we must return to our best traditions of American leadership and support those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and our enemies....
Mr. McCain does a grave disservice to our State and Defense Departments to bring such a blanket indictment into the political conversation. He knows full well that President Obama is engaged in these global matters, and that he makes decisions (as will a President Romney, or any rational President) with the considered advice of diplomatic and military professionals. McCain knows full well that setting out on some quest to save a country from itself is dangerous and almost guaranteed to be an act with an even worse outcome than doing nothing--unless all the many details that have to be considered are considered.
It's not like we don't have the adventures of the last Republican administration to take note of, not to mention the various adventures of earlier times. It's not like we don't have Vietnam in our past.
Maybe that's the trouble with being the party of 1953. In 1953 there was only Korea to measure against the wonder of World War II, which had by then been mythologized into a glorious and nearly bloodless victory for the forces of Light, lead of course by Ike, McArthur, and George Patton. In 1953 there was really nothing much to learn, and the gaping wound that was the American Civil War had been plastered over so effectively that only a few articulate black folks had anything to say about anything. In 1953 America still lynched people.
Maybe we're going to have to live the whole of McCain's lifetime again. How stupid is that?
[photo (c) Eugene Smith]
Friday Update: As I've just said, trying to counter the literally hundreds of lies with which the GOP is building this campaign is beyond my interest and time. But here's something to consider. One can, with historical detatchment, view this whole process as the meltdown of the mainstream media, and the failure of the media to do it's fundamental job--namely inform voters of the truth. If we do end up with a government run by deluded Christo-fascists aiming to bring on armageddon while making their fortunes in the military war market,we will have the media to thank as well as our own slothfulness. Because the information is indeed out there to find, even if it's not on CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, PBS, or even MSNBC, who's coverage of the convention has been over all as appalling as the rest.
And it's possible that Mr. Eastwood, last night, has saved us from ourselves. He's been aptly compared to Andy Kaufman, and it's possible. There are many commentaries to be found easily. I think Sadly No's might be the best one I've seen. On the other hand, my take on his speech is simpler. He was just massaging the base, and doing a little P.R. work for the industry he represents, to folks who pretty much think "Hollywood" is synonymous with "faggot communist," and who would gladly close the whole place down. Come to think of it, 1953 was pretty much a black and white world, not that they weren't making outstanding films back then too, and with a lot more guts and subtlety than the films that allowed Eastwood to become a Director. Watching Eastwood confronts another mystery. But it's not really new. It's just the mystery of unselfawareness, played out for everyone in the world to watch. And it's not like Mr. Romney doesn't trump Mr. Eastwood in that, now is it?