Did my title today strike you as a bit high-falutin'? I meant it that way. What I mean to imply is that the media news and opinion has been getting on my nerves for quite awhile, and I am happy to recommend an upcoming program in a start towards remedying this.
I love my liberal op-ed news commentators generally, but what annoys me to a serious degree is the detachment that they affect when commenting. I relish the moments when they actually get agitated at something, like Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz when they were almost enraged at the lackluster performance of President Obama in the first presidential debate last year. At last, genuine feeling--they actually felt strongly about something! I am also sick and tired of the smirking sarcasm of Lawrence O'Donnell, who seems to think that no one on earth is as savvy as he is.
When momentous events are upon us, the last thing that I like to see is the announcers rubbing their hands together gleefully, remarking about how, "This will be fascinating." Fascinating? Really?
Sometimes I wonder if these talking heads behind their sparkling desks high up in the Rockefeller Center realize that issues like Social Security, Medicare and the death struggle between the Republicans and President Obama actually impact on the lives of the American people. The cavalier dismissal of the "sequester" of the federal government and the refusal of the Congress to fund programs on the state level has put entire families into foreclosure. Mothers are raising children in shelters. School buses are putting shelters on their routes, picking up and dropping off children there every day.
At least two people in Arizona have died because our Governor Jan Brewer defunded our version of the Medicaid program, a move that included stripping money from the transplant program. Two men died (at least so far), leaving their wives and children to go on without them. They were never to live a normal life again, never to work again, never to provide for their families. They simply died when their overburdened bodies could no longer sustain the struggle to stay alive. So how is this "fascinating?" It should have been cause for a massive uprising in the last Arizona election.
Get this: these were not condemned criminals. They were loving family men whose wives and children needed them. They died simply because Governor Brewer didn't see any point in funding a transplant program.
We waste time asking if this is a reality to the GOP--obviously, it isn't. The daily struggles of retirees and families to keep food in their refrigerators is of no concern to Mitt Romney and his 47% of "takers" who deserve nothing in his view. Of course that conversation cost him the election, but has even that impressed Republicans who think that the only thing they have to do to get Christians to vote for them is to mouth platitudes about family values and ignore real families who are floundering in the midst of a recession?
You can see by the reaction of the right-wing media that they are sensitive about this because of their reaction to the questioning of bank-oversight officials today. Newly-elected Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked some embarrassing questions of them, in that they were unable to name one bank or high-level bank official who has been brought to trial in the worst fraud operation in the history of the world. "Shameless grandstanding" is what you'll read in the media, but Sen. Warren knows that America is cheering her on from the middle class on down.
So it is with hopeful anticipation that I recommend that those of you who watch cable television check in with MSNBC this coming Monday evening at 8:00, or at whatever hour it airs The Rachel Maddow Show in your area. Maddow is hosting a documentary called Hubris: The selling of the Iraq war. It is going to focus on the outright lies and collusion within the administration of disgraced President George W. Bush, who has kept a remarkably low profile since he left office.
The last I heard of Bush's speaking engagements as a former President, he was in Canada, where he entered the building by a secret door and left the same way, avoiding protestors in the streets (if there were any; his secrecy was announced beforehand). Last week former disgraced Vice President Dick Cheney was treated like an elder statesman when he emerged from his well-deserved obscurity to make punitive, insulting remarks about President Obama before he disappeared again into his bunker. The fact that this man--who was disastrously wrong about virtually every issue and who disgraced America with his embrace of torture--was even covered by the media is an outrage.
But there will be an accounting of the conniving, mendacious Bush Administration this coming Monday evening, and I'm sure they will give a thorough accounting of just how the Iraq War was sold to the American people.
But on a larger ethical scale, this is what happens when you abandon your principles. I was born in the Forties, after the Second World War, and at that time it was believed by every American that our country did not attack smaller, weaker countries. America did not engage in wars of aggression--that was for Nazis and Fascists.
When I was in elementary school I recited the Pledge of Allegiance sincerely, believing as I did at the age of eight that in America we have liberty and justice for all. Did I begrudge liberty to anyone? No.
But when I was in college in the Sixties I learned that African-Americans had a complaint about liberty and justice "for all." It seems that America had never really held that principle with regard to citizens of color. I remember thinking that we ought to just move over and fix that--until I saw the news coverage of Selma and Birmingham. That was enough to propel me into the struggle, which I will always be glad that I entered on the right side.
But it wasn't over. I hardly knew of the existence of gay people until I was even older than my college years. I remember being stunned when I saw the ferocity of the attacks against LGBT citizens. Apparently the principle of liberty and justice for all doesn't mean ALL. We are witnessing the end of that era today, finally, as a generation or two of bigots are all we have left. When they die off, bitter and unrepentant, they can take it up with God for all I care, as long as Americans can live their lives out as our Founding Fathers intended: with liberty and justice FOR ALL.
This is what happens when you have no principles, as the Neocons and right-wing reactionaries show us. Their loyalty is to each other, to emptying out the United States Treasury and putting it into their checkbooks, to tax breaks and politicians who are bought and paid for. Is there money to be made by having a war? Then let's get one going--that is the message that is coming up on Monday evening.
You want to catch Hubris this coming Monday night; it isn't too late for former government officials to face charges of war crimes. Did you know that's the reason that former President Bush doesn't travel abroad?