Thursday, March 14, 2013

Teflon Executive

It must be nice to be Teflon.  You know that wonderful substance where nothing sticks to you?.  You get to operate with impunity and actually have people defend your actions.

You get to promise Hope and Change while delivering none of it.  Actually the former is supplied by the “Kool-Aid” drinkers while the latter is more a matter of style over substance.

You get to talk of looking forward and not backward, as an excuse not to investigate possible crimes of your predecessor and have most people cheer about what a wise and pragmatic decision it is.

You get to continue the very same policies of your predecessor – many of which you campaigned against, with the backing of people who are grateful that you are “keeping them safe”.

You get the virtual undying loyalty of people who look like me and whose parents suffered under the lash of Jim Crow, who never thought they or their parents would see the day when someone that looked like them would be elected to the highest office in the country.

You probably are able to chuckle inside about the irony of some groups being afraid that you might somehow promote polices that could be considered favorable to people who look like me or other minorities, when your answer to that is your belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  No matter any evidence to the contrary.

You get to threaten Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and blame it on the other party.  Actually you don’t even have to blame the other party, because many people simply refuse to believe it’s even happening.

You get to take “single payer” off the table, and pretend to offer a “public option” – negotiate it away in backroom deals, and have one of your spokespeople refer to those who take exception to this as “f’ing retards”, but not to worry, because nothing sticks.

You get to tell the “middle class” that you’re on their side and fighting for them, while extending tax cuts for the Power Elite.

You get to provide bail outs to our “too big to fail Banks”, while millions of home owners face foreclosure without aid resembling anything close to what the Banks received.

You get to assert powers that when used by others are described as tyrannical and have most of us shrug our shoulders, and say things like “well, hasn’t it always been this way?” And sadly, unless we become willing to scrape away the Teflon, and accept our responsibilities as citizens, I suppose it always will be.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Outrage Unexpressed

Why isn’t there more outrage over the Obama Administration reserving the right to kill US Citizens on foreign or US soil without due process as guaranteed in the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution?

Have we become so afraid of whom our government calls terrorists that we’re willing to surrender all of our constitutional protections?

It’s really easy to think that these powers are OK, because “I’ll never be targeted by them after all, I’m not a ‘terrorist’, it’s those ‘other people’.

But I would urge caution against that type of thinking.  The government’s definition of terrorist and “associated forces” can be very elastic.  And since they also don’t bother to make public any evidence that they possess in determining that one is a threat, any of us could very well fit the bill.

There were loud complaints from many quarters about the Bush Administration detaining suspects indefinitely without access to lawyers.  Where are those same voices now that a successor administration from the other party is actually putting people to death?

Maybe we’re all just worn out?  Maybe after participating in the “rat race” and doing our “make ends meet dance” – there just isn’t any energy or desire to express outrage.

Or maybe we just don’t care.  Maybe we believe in the notion that these actions actually keep us safe, instead of creating more enemies for us in the future.  Maybe we believe in the idea that any and all actions taken by our country to make us safe are so obviously noble, just and good, that this (drone strikes, no warrant wire taps, indefinite detention) doesn’t merit consideration.

Perhaps we simply defer to our government and believe that they must know more than we do and are undoubtedly doing the right thing. You know, to keep us safe.

I can’t help but think that some future historian will look back at this time and wonder where were the protests, where was the dissent?  Oh, I understand that everyone’s circumstance doesn’t allow  them to participate in such things.  But my sense is that there’s a fair amount of apathy surrounding what should be considered highly controversial. (Just as I was finishing this - the Administration gave a definitive statement that they do not claim the right to make drone strikes on US soil against US Citizens - but be careful when you go on vacation outside of the country.)

Maybe there would be more of a response if the Government somehow interfered with our “right” to purchase cable TV.  Heck, they’d better be careful – that could actually lead to widespread civil disturbances, you know an actual outrage.