Thursday, December 01, 2005

Requiem for Decency

From Louis Black's Page Two column in this week's Austin Chronicle:

On national and international fronts, President Bush and his administration's simplistic sloganeering, hypocritical scolding, overt lying, disingenuous baiting of political opponents, and continually misleading responses render logical, historical, and/or ideological arguments so beside the point.

This leaves me feeling like a tape loop of attorney Joseph Welch at the Army-McCarthy hearings. Flabbergasted by the administration's actions and dishonesty, I find myself simply asking of it, over and over, in a helpless and deeply pained way, "Have you no sense of decency ... at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

More than anything else, the administration and its supporters find this question to be funny: Only limp-wristed, knee-jerk, bleeding-heart liberal Democrats (i.e., Communists and traitors) care about decency. In fact, they maintain, concern with decency is just one of those left-wing obsessions that have so damaged this country and left it at such a disadvantage with its enemies. Decency, humanist concerns, the welfare of innocent civilians, and the rights of prisoners being held because the government suspects them of anti-American and terrorist activities are all, in their view, binding handcuffs placed by weak-willed Democrats on our country's domestic and international policies. The U.S. could have won in Vietnam and can win in Iraq, they continue, if only those of weak stomach or overly obsessive affection for constitutional guarantees are shut down. Torture, the most advanced destructive weapons possible, and a commitment to military power over all else would find the war in Iraq over quickly, they conclude.

The right has returned to a new American vision, based on traditional American values, in which nationalism, chauvinism, casual racism, xenophobia, self-concern, and convenience trump any of the founders' original intentions regarding rights, responsibilities, and the evenhanded rule of law. Well, at least they're imagining that they've returned – since in reality their ideas are really based on bad history, failed policies, bogus memories, fictional ideology, and constitutional disregard.

Unfortunately, not only is asking "Have you no decency?" the best argument left – but we also know, all too well, the answer.


Post a Comment

<< Home