(12 November 2006)
One of the basic guidelines I use when meeting new people is to never ever trust someone who identifies themselves as a “Christian” within the early throes of casual conversation. They believe they are communicating their higher moral standing, but what I hear them clearly saying is “I have a serious mental disorder.” – DBSHOLES
The National Archives recently either uncovered or strategically published (in the hopes that someone would recognize a corresponding zeitgeist when it stared them in the eyes) some 800 photographs that Dorothea Lange took of the more than 110,000 people of Japanese descent whom our government imprisoned in filthy horse stalls and drafty tar-paper shacks back in the so-called glory days of patriotic yore. Like Lange’s Depression-era photographs, these images capture a shameful moment in US history at a very personal level.
The War Relocation Authority hired Lange to document the internments, then restricted her lens before finally confiscating her internment photography altogether. Their instructions were clear: No objects that might identify a concentration camp as a concentration camp—no wire fences or watchtowers or searchlights or whips or starving people or armed guards herding detainees—allowed. Instead, she was allowed to capture the sale of interned people’s belongings while giving a human face to the enforced poverty and misery that our government imposed on these people’s lives.
Imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to be captured and imprisoned by your country merely because your racial heritage has suddenly become suspect and to watch as your very personal belongings—that funky clock you purchased from an artist in grad school, the painting your ex gave you on your first anniversary, your laptop, your photographs, your grandmother’s rings, your prized first editions of all your favorite books—are sold.
I try to ask myself who benefits from specific exertions of power, especially when they involve fear-mongering—and fear was definitely behind the frenzy of post-Pearl Harbor Jap-hate editorials and speeches that spurred this round-up of Japanese American citizens, just as fear and the flimsy promise of protection are behind our current willingness to neuter habeas corpus in a post-9/11 world.
Bush&Co would of course argue that Americans benefit when this administration imprisons and tortures Others because their coerced confessions could stop a terrorist attack on our consumer-driven way o’ life. Of course, most thinking people would argue that Bush&Co have done more to threaten our way of life than anything bin Laden or Saddam could ever do.
Question: Who benefits when a president claims that Americans do not torture prisoners, then pushes through legislation that forgives the torture he has already authorized?
Answer: A lot fewer people today than did on Monday, thanks to the American people, who have spoken and spoken loudly ... despite the GOP’s attempts to silence us with robo-calls; despite the officials (in mostly Democratic precincts) who had no clue whatsoever how to operate those pesky voting machines; despite the conservatives who threatened Latino Democrats in Colorado with arrest if they attempted to vote; despite the Maryland GOPers’ false ballots; despite hate radio encouraging callers to tie up the Democratic fair-vote phone lines; despite Bush&Co’s ridiculous assertion that a vote for Democrats is a vote against your country or any of those other jaw-dropping GOP fascist declarations.
... which reminds me: I saw a bumpersticker this morning that said Bush won’t stop lying until you stop believing.
Here’s what I believe: Ted Haggard’s outing (as a hypocrite) hot on the tail of Mark Foley’s outing (as a hypocrite) hot on the tail of myriad other GOP hypocrisies hot on the tail of all this GOP truthiness may have convinced the Oxford English Dictionary to finally designate truthiness a word (and they SHOULD have convinced Republicans that their leaders are hypocritical shucksters who are sending democracy down the tubes a a very fast rate).
So now, a partial list of other conservative hypocrites:
• William Bennett, who attempted to remold our free-thinking founders as Bible-thumping conservative moralists and espoused the importance of moral conduct while on an out-of-control gambling binge;
• J. Edgar Hoover, who publicly persecuted queers while maintaining a forty-four-year homo relationship (and, probably more than any recent American, branded the idea that gay men are lurking pedophiles into the American psyche)
• those conservative Catholic priests who place restrictions on women’s bodies (despite having now clue what it is like to have to choose) and blame queers when they get caught covering up for pedophiles
• those GOP leaders who turned a blind eye to Foley’s trolling while running ads that accuse Democrats of being “soft on child molesters”
• hypocritical fundie religious leaders who accept illegal trips to Scottish golf courses from lobbyists
• Bill Frist, who feigned the ability to diagnose brain function from a video even as Terry Schiavo’s doctors insisted that she was in a persistent vegetative state. (As Molly Ivins says, “that whole Terry Schiavo debacle was like waking up one morning finding Fidel Castro in the refrigerator.”)
• Republinazi Rush Limbaugh, who describes himself as a moralist while popping pills uncontrollably
• Ralph Reed, the baby-faced fundie hypocrite who manipulated people of faith for his own financial and political gain for so years (and probably while jerking off to pictures of those Northern Mariana sex slaves he secretly supported)
• Sen. Sperm Thurmond (from Medea’s very scary state of origin), who promoted racism while secretly supporting a black daughter he shared with the then-underage African American woman who worked in his home
• those holier-than-thou GOP assholes who demanded Clinton’s head on a silver platter for his extramarital relations but who have since been revealed to be adulterers themselves
• those holier-than-thou religious freaks who succeeded in passing the so-called marriage protection amendments in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin on Tuesday by citing the sanctity of their so-called holy unions EVEN THOUGH evangelicals have the highest divorce rate of any group in this country and EVEN THOUGH our Constitution plainly states that ALL citizens are entitled to the same rights.
And now, let us celebrate
• the South Dakota voters who defeated attempts to ban abortion and
• the Arizona voters who defeated their state’s so-called marriage protection amendment and
• the Missouri voters who, like Californians, voted to pay for stem cell research themselves since their so-called national leaders are too beholden to the fundies to back this vital research themselves.
And let's close with a song: Ding dong. Santorum is gone. The evil Rick is gone. (And Rumsfeld too. Ha Ha.)
Goodbye and good riddance to a few representatives from the current crop of fascists.
(Oh and by the way maybe your marriage bans stand today, but New Jersey put the writing on the wall and openly queer candidates won in Alabama (!), Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, (over sixty-six elected) and HRC reports that the people also elected over 200 officials who publicly support equality.
So, as Susie Bright says, “Let the Corporate and DLC Ass-Kicking Resume!”
READING: The New York Times, which reported the Lange story. Alternet, which does a good job of outing the GOP hypocrites; HRC’s election coverage.