Strange Brouhaha

Saturday, April 16, 2005

More Adventures in Selective Democracy

The Bush Administration just LOVES outbreaks of the democratic spirit...unless they happen to come from supporters of left-liberal social-welfare dudes who want to bring higher wages and more social services to the poor. Then the cat mysteriously gets the Bushies' tongue. From "We stand by you!" to the anti-Syria demonstrators in Lebanon to....absolutely zero for the pro-Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador demonstrators in Mexico.

I tell ya, it's been a bad week. The repeal of the estate tax was made permanent and the rapacious bankruptcy bill was passed into law, thus bringing class war to a fever pitch; two sixteen-year-old girls were given the dictatorship treatment (i.e. taken away, held without charge, and denied access to anyone on the outside) by immigration officers. Wanton and brutal displays of power continue abroad with the indefinite detention and torture of vaguely-defined "enemies" who have not been charged. Bush is incredibly unpopular in the polls yet continues to act with abandon. The nomination of John Bolton sends Europe and the UN the charming message, "We shit upon your head and then laugh." We pay no attention whatsoever to the rapidly changing balance of power in the world (the rise of the euro, the stunning new alliance between China and India) which could shut us out, and we continue to act in ways which give everyone a very large motive TO shut us out.

Everybody go read Barbara Tuchman's The March Of Folly. I think if she had lived to see how terrifyingly relevant it would become, she'd have jumped off a cliff.

Seriously--Tuchman's book explores what happens when governments act against their own self interest. She shows how "the power to command frequently causes failure to think." That really is exactly what's happening now. The Bushies are drunk with power, and not only are they not thinking, they're glad about it. They're proud that all they want to do is ram through their plans and force their will on everyone else. They're proud that they ignore any sign of trouble, opposition, failure, or anger; to them, it's a sign of strength. And they surely do not care, as the torture scandals demonstrate, about anyone's suffering. Not at all.

We're going to be a long time getting over this.


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