Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tell it like the Rustman

Speaking truth to power ain't gonna win any popularity contests with those who want to be powerful.

I don't see that as a bad thing. I want leaders who reluctantly accept power in order to do what they see to be their duty, as requested and required of them by the electorate.

But the electorate must do this - if they delegate their job to power brokers and special interest groups; those who bother to show up with their divisive issues and their contempt for the "silent majority,"

We will continue to be ruled by those who have no reason to fear an accounting, much less require it of us unless we take our power back unto ourselves.

Protest. Criticism. Discussion. We must debate among ourselves about real issues and real needs; the roots of our problems and the fountains of our civilization. It is a discipline that has been sadly neglected since the late seventies, and almost entirely died out in the years since 9/11.

As a result, the people in power grow complacent, grow arrogant and start believing their own propaganda, eventually flying up their own backsides into a dream-world of self-delusion.

Of course I'm speaking of the Republican Revolution that shocked the hell out of the Democrats, and rid the Capital of a bunch of corrupt sonsabitches much like the current crop.

Who were there, and yet did not pay attention, because the people that put them there - that would be US - did not do their job of reminding them that they got the ticket to power based on the promise to be different. They promised to be transparent. They swore an oath be honest. They claimed to be honorable, decent and compassionate. And when it first became evident that they had, well, lied – we let it pass.

Power corrupts - when it can be presumed upon. We have donated our power foolishly, failing to remember that we can and should attach strings, and each of us should jerk those strings hard and often.

Like Neil.

So get off your collective assets and do something. As Randi Rhodes has said - if you don't do anything else, at least wear a t-shirt. (Neil - where's your t-shirt links?)

I'm not talking left or right here - that's a stupid, false and irrelevant distinction. You want cynicism? Here's MY cynicism; Clinton won twice because he was a better Republican candidate than George Bush the First or Bob Dole.

Clinton kept the important Republican promises. It's beyond me why lefties love him, as much as it's beyond me why Conservatives sing the praises of Bush II.

I swear to goddess, how easily people are fooled by the simple choice of team jersies.

You need to start insisting on an end to "realpolitik," the idea that it's ok to kill people to "send a message." If that's wrong in South-central LA when a Crip or a Blood authorizes a driveby, why do we see a flyby cruise missiling as being "Presidential?"

I'm a Libertarian - and a bloody-minded second-amendment thumping beweaponed and security-minded Lib with a hard core of rational paranoia.

But I believe in the non-initiation of force, so that when I do use force, there will be no question and no hesitation; I will not need to fabricate a pretext - any more than the average Iraqi taking pot-shots of opportunity needs a pretext or an ideological excuse.

They don't NEED Al-Queda to tell them what needs doing. They don't need Osama Bin-Ladin or Iranian cheerleaders. They will be glad for the help, of course, just as George Washington was glad for the help of the French Fleet that bottled up Cornwallis's army of occupation.

But we would have got 'er done. As they will - and no thanks to us, we who allowed this idiotic bait and switch to go unquestioned; we who put this IDIOT in power, you who voted for him in the primaries, we who held our noses and thought him a marginally better choice than Gore, who spoke aloud of doing all the vile and intrusive constitutional trespasses Bush did in secret.

We need leaders who honestly reflect the common values and sprit of the American people, not the fringe values, the partisan issues; we don't need or want ideologues. We want a representative government that is actually representative of OUR values.

Our common belief that "America is Great because she is Good."

Our common belief is that when a neighbor needs our help, we help them. We don't quibble over pennies or ask for promissory notes.

Our common belief is that people, on the whole, are decent folk until they prove otherwise.

Our common belief is that religion - like investments, sex and politics - is a private matter, to be indulged with some discretion with consenting adults.

Our common belief that speech is free only if we are willing to be accountable to those we may offend by it, and if the only rational response is a sock in the jaw, we should not whine about the bruises.

We have, collectively, failed to live up to those beliefs. We have failed ourselves, but we have failed our nation, our principles and even our leaders.

It is no great thing to favor a weak man with power simply because he is "electable."

IT is no great thing to favor a good, but weak man who will be ruined by the load.

It is no great thing to support a man with no principles simply because his lack makes him a more "effective campaigner."

We have allowed mediocrities, the least of several evils, the wafflers, the compromisers, the spineless and the "adaptable" to become the definition of “Politician.” Are they to blame for assuming that we expect more of them than they actually are? Is it difficult to understand why people who deserve our support prefer not to seek office?

When was the last time you voted for a candidate of principle? Indeed, when was the last time you demanded to have a choice between two or more principled candidates?

When was the last time you decided to punish someone you supported for lying to you?

I haven't. Oh, I’ve complained. I’ve whined. But when it got to be actual work… I ran out of outrage. I've been shrugging this off for thirty odd years. For most of my adult life, I've been ignoring the problem.

No more.

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