Doug Giebel: Let Us NOT Praise Famous Men
Let Us NOT Praise Famous Men
by Doug Giebel
"No doubt we have the 'right' to own and use the earth as seems to us best if we can: but we might be thought to qualify a little better for the job if it ever occurred to us in the least to qualify or question that right."
-- James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1939)
Despite Mother Nature's best efforts to wipe them out, the poor are always with us. Governments despise the poor and less fortunate because they are poor and less fortunate, all the while depending on the despised Have-Nots to handle the"dirty work" scorned by the Haves, and who are urged to spend beyond their means in order to prop up the economy so the rich may get richer and the poor may stay poor. These Have-Nots are also expected to prop up politicians when election time rolls around, unless their votes go to the "wrong" candidates, in which case their names may be justifiably scrubbed from the rolls.
Although given plentiful warning, our politicians and their bureaucratic minions professed surprise when Hurricane Katrina stormed ashore on the Gulf Coast. In her wake, Ms. Katrina spawned a tidal wave of insensitive and idiotic comments from elected officials, pundits and others who had suffered no personal damage or discomfort (except irritation) as they tried to cover misjudgments and failures when responding (or not responding) to this suffering nation's needs.
Now, while cries of hurt, confusion, anger and outrage mount and as fingers are jabbed in various directions regarding the epidemic of government failure when responding to Katrina, those in charge plead that now is not the time to play the "blame game." As expected, however, those same artful dodgers wishing to avoid accountability have openly resorted to blaming others. Life is, after all, regarded as a "game," and it may be only a coincidence of nature that football season and hurricane season begin annually at about the same time of year.
If accountability for the nation's failures is important, however, then one must apportion part of the "blame" to the American people who persist in tolerating the outrageous actions of those whom they elect to office. Voters may grumble, but they continue to elect representatives who are openly beholden to the powers of cash and special interests, to corruption on an ever-more lavish scale.
It was folly for Hitler to invade Russia, given Napoleon's experience with the same misadventure. It was folly for George W. Bush to invade Iraq, given America's recent experience in Viet Nam.
It was foolish for the Congress and the public to support the Bush invasion of Iraq, but as the fictional preacher Elmer Gantry knew, Americans are suckers for the con-man's pitch. Fortunately for the Bush Administration, the public is only able to concentrate on one disaster at a time, so the growing debacle in Iraq is off the front pages, and once out of sight it is easily put out of mind. Voters who now claim that the Sprit of '76 will swell up to complete the rebuilding and restoration of our Gulf Coast region haven't a clue about the Bushvolk failure to rebuild and restore Iraq. Do Americans realize that the reconstruction of our Gulf is about to be handed over on another no-bid basis to the same greed-mongering and corner-cutting corporations who dissemble while raking in buckets of bucks in Iraq?
The buck never stops, the son-of-a-bitch that is Cash never sets where political interests are concerned. Katrina's winds had barely ruffled the palmetto leaves before lobbyists and administration cozies were on the scene lining up lucrative contracts by the bundle. George W. Bush and his advisors may have been in the dark about Katrina's impending damage, but somehow administration insiders sniffed a windfall in the Gulf Coast breeze. If the Iraq experience is an indicator, few of the poor and needy who lost everything in Katrina's wrath will be hired to rebuild their devastated neighborhoods; and those who are hired will be subject to President Bush's outrageous corporate-welfare order exempting contractors from having to pay the going rate for wages.
On the other side of the political aisle, Democrats are still aboard a ship without a sail, rudderless except for a few brave individuals with the grit to shout truth into a gale of insanity where almost everyone's "gone to the moon."
During five disaster-filled years, George W. Bush and his cronies have been responsible for a rising tide of egregious failure and idiocy including the cracker-headed notion that we must stay in Iraq to honor those who were killed there. In other words, Americans and others must continue to suffer and die in a never-ending conflict simply because we were foolish enough to begin the conflict in the first place. Apparently President Bush was sending the message that we will never leave Iraq because to do so would be to dishonor those who died and will continue to die, death upon death without end. Perhaps we can honor those who died in the Gulf by telling them they can't go home again-- ever. Just how much "honor" can one nation tolerate?
When Katrina raised her skirts, she gave the American people more than a Basic Instinct glimpse of the grossly vulgar incompetence perpetrated on this nation and the world by an administration whose message to all others is the f-word expletive delivered to Senator Leahy by Vice-President Cheney in the hallowed Capitol Building of the United States. When Cheney told Leahy, "Go fuck yourself," he openly revealed the Bush Administration's arrogant moral decay. In public, the Janus-faced Bush demeanor is one of joviality, of remote "caring" and religious piety. Privately, however, the president can be petty, nasty, vulgar, vicious and unforgiving. As his polling numbers drop, the anger, frustration and bitterness in the Oval Office could be spiraling out of control.
The time has come for The Other America, for the poor, the abused, the neglected, the ethical and all others who wish to "do the right thing" -- all those unfortunates despised and belittled by political arrogance -- to come together and demand in the interest of healing our national psyche the impeachment of President George W. Bush.