Wednesday, November 27, 2019 3:01 AM
A Flat Denial of the Nose on One’s Face (2019Nov27)
I think what I miss most of all is the shared-reality world of pre-9/11. After the WTC attack, I clearly remember being afraid for my own country. It had nothing to do with the terrorists—I was afraid of what Americans would do.
It became clear that this was an attack by a small group of criminals, with contacts throughout the Middle East—but with no specific government behind them. They staged from Afghanistan—and were linked to the Taliban.
The Taliban were once called the Mujahideen, back when they were being invaded by the Soviet Union—and we were only too happy to arm them and train them to fight the Reds for us. We didn’t mind the Taliban’s sharply uber-orthodox form of Islam—in fact, it fit right in with our own, Cold-War-heightened support of organized faiths.
I’m sure the Soviets just wanted the real estate—but it is nonetheless true that they imposed draconian limits on religions and their clergy (when they allowed them at all). But, once they were beaten back by Afghanis with US-supplied arms, the USA promptly lost Afghanistan’s number—a major example of where a stitch in time could have saved nine.
Had we continued funding the Afghanis’ recovery and modernization, with even a tenth of the money we’d spent arming them, the Taliban would never have taken flying lessons. But that’s all milk under the dam.
What had me scared, back then, was knowing that Americans saw this (as Bin Laden had intended) as an attack from the Middle East in general—and we would not be satisfied with an unsuccessful manhunt for an individual—we needed to declare war on a major Middle Eastern nation.
This was the beginning of all the Republican’s bare-faced lying (and the backing up of each others’ bare-faced lying). Bush-43 claimed there were WMDs in Iraq. Bush claimed links between Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden. Journalists started seeing inconsistencies between our shared reality, and Bush’s wish-fulfillment filter of ‘things as they are’.
Bush’s tenure would continue to tend a garden of Republican zombie-lies, which would continue, through the Obama terms, as shrewish rumor-mongering and the most thinly-veiled racism of any party ever. But that was all just warm-up for the piece de resistance –Trump’s 24-hour Lie-cycle, and the Greek chorus of Senators who hear nothing, see nothing, and say nothing.
Now, granted, the media makes it far too easy for the Republicans to play these games with the truth—and the fact that their bullshit is working on millions of Americans must, also, encourage them to think there may be some sanity to lying-as-a-long-term-plan.
But it should be clear to these people, who so blithely manipulate people themselves, that all it takes is a well-placed sound-bite or two. Suddenly, the entire country will see Trump and McConnell, et. al. as I see them: opportunists who are very clever at bending rules, but hollowed-skulled when it comes to big-picture, long-term stuff—like America.
So, I dream of a near future where Conservatives and Fat Cats once again have the decency to see a flat denial of the nose on one’s face as a bridge too far—as it used to be, and always will be for folks of common sense and goodwill.