WARNING: for those offended by political opinion pieces, you may want to skip the following and come back another day.
In general I try to avoid talking about specific politicians and stick to policy positions. This particular post will be about one particular politician, but as an example of what I believe happens with many of them. They put a hand out to the country which they hope can get them elected, but it's the hand behind their back that you have to watch. Sometimes it's someone who is ranting over how bad gays are while they secretly are one. Sometimes it's involvement with payola. Sometimes it's-- well you get the idea. So today's blog is about the 'other hand' but it is using one politician as an example. I am sure those of you on the right can equally think of examples from the left that are as bad. Well you could try...
For the last few months, since President GW Bush temporarily gave up his cause to take care of the elderly by gradually ending Social Security as we have known it, he has been going around the country touting democracy. Sounds good, right? I mean, it's such a worthy cause that it's worth fighting all over the world to force... er uh liberate other countries. With Bush, more than almost any politician I know of, you always have to watch what the other hand is doing. Just a quick example-- clean air initiative means less pollution controls. Healthy forests means more logging. So what is his other hand doing while he talks up democracy?
One answer: setting up as many states as possible with their districts gerrymandered to make it easy for Republicans to coast to election victories and maintain permanent control of the government. Then you look at who can get on the slate for the Republican party of today. If you want to run for president but are not religious as in Christian religious, if you believe in free choice on both birth and death, if you don't believe Bush's wars in Iraq and maybe soon to be Iran are about fighting terrorism, if you don't believe in cutting benefits for the poor to give tax cuts to the rich-- fugetabout being nominated as a newbie! (yes, you radical righties, if you made it this far, that all can be true for core lefties also.)
Bush's governing method leads to more irony. He talks up democracy when what he does is like a dictatorship-- secrecy, no compromising despite all that talk of working together, making speeches only to those who already are of his belief set, using executive orders when even his own party won't cooperate. With Bush, it's always-- look what the other hand is doing because it's more likely to reflect what's really going on.
Sometimes the other hand is obvious but sometimes it's hard to see or prove it's even active. People who want to think the world is a simple place, filled with those intending only the best will consider this a stretch but on the other hand-- The newest tape of bin Laden once again seems oddly convenient for those who don't want humanitarian intervention in Darfur. The genocide there is something the whole world should care about; but about the time the pressure in the United States builds for this country to do more to try to stop the atrocities, suddenly up pops bin Laden to say it'd be bad if we did and would prove Americans hate Muslims. His tapes in '04 right before the election was that year's October surprise . He popped out of the briar patch and said-- You people better not vote for Bush. I'll attack you if you do. Bush is the bad guy! So don't you dare vote him in again. Is there any chance he believed that would do anything but encourage people to vote for Bush?
It's thinking people are basically honorable that makes most people assume-- nah couldn't be a conspiracy or secret behind whatever happens. Nobody would do that, but some of the most dismissive nodded amen to books that implied Clinton was actually a hit man. To them, that was believable but Bush being connected to bin Laden under the table, that's not.
If you know history, you know about the East Indies Company, and how much control it often secretely exercised on what happened in the world of that time. Constantly we learn things that happened years ago weren't what we thought. Remember the Maine got us into a war. (If you don't know what really happened there, look it up before Ann Coulter writes a book redefining it.)
If you think it's nuts to believe there is some odd connection between Bush's people and bin Laden, consider some facts (yes, facts but the meaning of them is up to each person to decide if there is one). The Bush and bin Laden families' long-time business connections through oil. The fact that when the military had a good chance to get bin Laden in Tora Bora, the US troops were held back and locals given the job. That's the end of facts as the rest of it--why that happened, who ordered it-- who knows. Was there a meaning to it? Did someone not really want bin Laden captured just yet? Did they actually get him and not let anyone know? Can you keep such secrets? Beyond the obvious agenda to kill innocent people for his political goals, does bin Laden have another one? the one you don't see?
Before you dismiss what I just wrote as being crazy, think whether you'd have believed two years ago that the Bush administration would foster secret prisons in European countries, which not long ago were behind the Iron Curtain, and would use those prisons to hold people who have no rights to question why they are being held or for anybody else to know who they are? Did you believe a country like ours would do renditions, which means send people they have decided might be guilty of something, maybe, could be, to countries that torture? Did you believe Bush would sign a bill, which he fought, that ordered our government to follow the Geneva Conventions, which everyone thought we already would have been doing, but then he added a caveat-- personally reserving the right to order torture whenever he deems it in the nation's best interest? Would you have believed this nation, which claims it sets a higher standard than anywhere else in the world, would use a notorious prison in Iraq, known to torture people, to also torture people (and forget the ridiculous frat boy analogy because people died in that torturing; and if you don't think sexual abuse is torture, try it in this country and you'll be in prison wondering what happened to you)? Would you have believed our government would spy on American citizens; and when it was discovered, go after who leaked it, not explain what groups were actually being spied on? Were the subjects terrorists or just people who were damaging the administration's position? Who knows. But wasn't it even more amazing how Americans rolled over and said-- if it keeps us safer, I am all for it. Did anybody remember there is a Bill of Rights? Or think about what we used to believe this country stood for? Is freedom only important when nobody is crying the sky is falling?
Oh I know... all I just said is crazy talk to some. But, was there reason for concern when it was discovered the Clintonistas were gathering Internal Revenue records on people and everybody wondered what innocent reason could there be for that? Answer: none. They never did explain themselves; but they also didn't proudly admit it and say stop me if you can! Or was that evil, but current spying good because heroes are now in power and you know they'd never do anything unfair to anybody!?
With any politician, watch not only what they say but what is in the hand behind their back.