I remember visiting a Church in New Zealand and coming across an American priest. He was a mild mannered, educated man, and our conversation soon moved from religious philosophy to political philosophy to American politics. He told me then, in that shadowed hall outside the Crypt, that he had lost all faith in America upon Bush’s re-election, and had left the country before it was too late. This left me greatly shaken, though I didn’t express it at the time; it was only upon further reflection that I understood the source of my consternation. An educated, intelligent man, wise and kind, had quit his country for good and fled about as far as he could across the globe. Surely he was an exception, I thought, surely few men such as he would run from a fight. Would feel that strongly, but so wrongly about the issues of the day.
A couple of years have gone by since. The litany of wrongs perpetrated by this Administration have only continued to pile up. Torture. Denial of Habeas Corpus. Black CIA camps in Eastern Europe. Warrantless wire taps. Endless lies told to the public about the causes and state of the war in Iraq. Every month seems to bring us that much closer to some totalitarian state, some 1984 mockery. Congress seems unable to confront the Executive, and the Judiciary is filled with straw men who negate that branch’s oversight. The Executive grows ever stronger, tyrannical, and nobody seems to care.
That’s what gets me. Americans seem to fall into three camps. Cynical liberals and democrats who have grown so jaded to these outrages that they no longer even lift their eyebrows when the Administration does something heinous. The right wing die hards who will support these actions to the very end, and the vast majority of the public who seem uninformed, and content to remain ignorant.
Nobody seems outraged. Occasionally you’ll catch a Senator bellowing in anger at being stonewalled during an Inquest like Leahy, or an impassioned speech by a Democrat Presidential hopeful, but otherwise people seem to just shrug and carry on about their business.
Read the Washington Post’s latest series of articles on Cheney’s backroom dealings and manipulations. Read the minutae, force yourself to pay attention. Figure out whom is whom, and what it means when the VP dictates policy that declares the Geneva Convention Obsolete, what it means to cold bloodedly decide that Torture is necessary, and to have a President who OK’s it all without thought. Learn about how this Administration is run, sit up and pay attention.
When I think about that priest out in New Zealand, bitter and resigned, furious enough to have taken flight, I think him a coward but I also think he was red blooded enough to have a reaction, to have felt outraged. Which is more than can be said, I fear, for those who stayed behind.