Friday, February 22, 2008

LETTIN' OFF STEAM

Once upon a time, there was this ventriloquist’s dummy who believed he was a real puppet master at the controls of a cast of toads clad in the official robes of authority and enough initials behind their names to yoke a yak. The thing that convinced him most was that no one could see the knee upon which he sat much less see any lips move while he flapped his jaw hinge. Having been carved from the wood of a traditional hot house bush, he could function only in the rarified company of praise for which he awarded formerly prestigious positions throughout the system by which the people, who could see neither the knee or the lips move, swore. They could see the flag and the presidential office he sat in quite clearly and that was enough for them — the emperor has a fine suit of clothes and we don’t torture.



And we thought Alberto Gonzales was bad. Michael Mukasey outsquirms a whole compost pile of night crawlers with such a blatant thumb to his nose at demands that he get on the hook that Bush couldn’t have found a better rear guard for his bloody trail. He admits that if waterboarding was done to him he would feel tortured. Mighty white of you there, oh mighty white head word twisting lawyer of the land. In all other cases of water boarding, the USAG would have to know the circumstances before knowing whether to call it torture. No matter what the circumstances in the case of one person taking the life of another it must be considered murder irrespective of justification from accidents to atrocities, from serial cannibals to soldier combatants, from self defense to self destruction. The fair witnesses from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange land couldn't say the house was white until they’d seen all sides, but none would have argued against its being a house.

No one called him on the fact that, while admitting he would think it was torture if it happened to himself, he couldn’t stretch his imagination around the idea that it might seem that way to anyone else. He’d have to assume he was more sensitive than anyone else to deny that it was torture for them. What is he doing there?



What is our government doing in the hands of secret level clearances above elected representatives, ethically immune by sheer anonymity? In the beginning of his eight years as president, Dwight Eisenhower was shown the alien bodies and UFO remnants from the 1948 Roswell crash. Before he left office he’d lost access to that level of government secrets. Our real government is not elected and is obviously beyond responsibility to be candid with its subjects. Ike warned the nation of the formation of the “military industrial complex” (the American twist on fascism) which now consumes 44% of the national income and employs 22 million citizens (7.4% of the population). That’s one government employee for every 13 civilians, it’s a much heavier coverage than guards/prisoners ratio at Auschweitz.

The only reason governments need to keep secrets is to do unethical things either to enemies or to their own citizens. National competition need never loose sight of the benefits of cooperative cohabitation in the nature of a planet we are all learning our connection to. It is time for the pendulum to swing back toward coevolution with what we have been abusing for instant gratification as a worldwide paradigm of thought and action. Subsidized research into sustainability, release of long buried, beneficial technology, and abuse penalties are a few changes toward real transparency that might be implemented. Kucinich’s idea of a cabinet department of the future is an excellent start on that.

1 comment:

Princess Haiku said...

It would be wonderful if things came more back into balance but alas, the political landscape is disappointing.