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Works and Days

We Are All Pods Now

March 30th, 2010 - 10:53 am

In retrospect, it seems a sort of nightmare these now serial outbursts of our officials — “typical white person,” “clingers,” “cowards,”,police who “stereotype” and act “stupidly,” “wise Latina,” “white polluters,” framed by the President’s pastor and once spiritual Audacity-of-Hope mentor screaming “God D— America,” bookended by hyper-racial comments of a Harry Reid or Joe Biden about Negro accents and cleanliness.

And, of course, soon followed the slurs and smears of those in the media accusing almost every opponent at sometime of being a “racist,” a word that now has as much currency as a German Mark around 1929.

Opposition to health care, cap and trade, illegal immigration, everything I think soon, is being reformulated as antipathy to some sort of Civil Rights issues akin to the legislation of the 1960s. Almost daily now a major media columnist writes an essay alleging someone is racist, or there are subtle racist thoughts behind a type of opposition or protest. “Racist” is a 1950s sort of allegation, an instantaneous judge/jury/executioner/no-appeal condemnation. How Orwellian that the most racist members of American society, who built entire careers of fabricating evidence and defaming opponents — an Al Sharpton, for example — have become go-to national referees of suspected bias. How weirder that one just pledges allegiance to the new agenda, and suddenly one is both more likely to say something racist in Reid- or Biden-fashion, and yet it is not racist at all.

Israel — We Hardly Knew Ye?

A year ago, I thought Israel was a trusted ally. What happened? Did racists and bigots suddenly emigrate there? It used to be that both Democrats and Republicans supported the uniquely pro-Western, capitalist, democratic, and tolerant society surrounded by radical Islamists, autocracies, and terrorists.  The rest of the world calculated oil, fear of Islamic terrorism, 300 million in the Middle East, and anti-Semitism; we alone valued consensual government, an enlightened society, and freedom as the basis of our support for a tiny state in a very hostile world — and protected the democracy against its countless enemies (there was a Holocaust once, after all, as the world slept).

But suddenly the U.S. government sends friendly videos to a theocracy that promises Israel’s destruction while snubbing the Prime Minister of the Jewish state? If a Middle East state leader wished to be courted by the United States by reverential protocol, an occasional bow, or kind words, then should not he be Iranian or Syrian, with the blood of American soldiers in Iraq on his hands? It is almost as if all the multicultural “anti-Zionist” campus and UN rhetoric of the 1970s and 1980s is now reified in Washington.

A year ago I had a vague idea that abroad to be democratic, pro-Western, capitalist, and friendly to the U.S. — a Britain, Colombia, Czech Republic, Honduras, Israel, or Poland — was considered good. And to be authoritarian, anti-Western, statist or  communist, and anti-American was worse: a Cuba, Gaza, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, or Venezuela was considered, well,  in the words of Robert Gibbs, “problematic.” No mas.

New Words, New Ideas?

A year ago I had never heard of “overseas contingencies operations” (what possibly could that mean?), much less “manmade disasters.”  (Power failures? Overfishing? Oil spills?). And before January 2009 I thought Khalid Sheik Mohammed was an enemy monster, who had planned the murder of 3,000 Americans, beheaded Daniel Pearl, and promised more mayhem if let loose — not a civil rights, water-boarded symbol of suffering, to be tried in a civilian court a few yards from the scene of his mass murdering.

From Subversion to Thank God We Have All This

A little over a year ago, I think I had it straight: an evil Bush and the nefarious Halliburton puppet Cheney destroyed the Constitution by wiretapping, intercepting, the use of rendition, tribunals, Predator assassinations, and fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I knew this to be true because of serial Hollywood movies, outbursts at televised awards ceremonies, novels, documentaries, comedy routines, constant exposés in the media, the provocative rhetoric (“if they bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun”) of statesmen like Barack Obama, and outbursts from the likes of Sen. Durbin that our own soldiers at Guantanamo were akin to Nazis or Pol Pot’s monsters.

But then I woke up and suddenly all of these anti-terrorism protocols, founded in such crime and hatred, had now evolved into necessary tools to keep us safe. Iraq is now good and the greatest achievement of the administration. Predator target killings have quadrupled; tribunals and renditions are legitimate. Afghanistan is no longer lost. We won’t see another Rendition or Redacted from Hollywood (Iraq movies now win Academy Awards!). Justice Department officials who sign off on targeted assassinations are still former sober and judicious Ivy League Law Deans and Professors.  The New York Times no longer leaks information about our criminal government’s anti-terrorism efforts, and surely does not headline with IED of the day stories from Afghanistan. Wow, what a difference a year makes.

Go to Sleep, Wake up a Pod

I am catching on to this new year-old society; I think I am at least. Paying an underwater mortgage is sort of what wealthy and dubious people do; defaulting on one is proof of legitimate victimhood. There is no more immigration law — unless you are a foolish German, Russian, or Aussie who overstays his visa without claim on a proper -ism.

Budgeting for your private health care plan is proof of privilege; a maxed out credit card is better proof of corporate conspiracy. And paying no federal income taxes is evidence that you belong to the good 50% of Americans — or are mega-rich, savvy, and able enough to pay on your income instead at the capital gains rate.

There is no more interest on your meager passbook account; just on your mortgage: you pay the bank 5% for a house loan; they pay you a tenth of that at .5% for having $10,000 in your savings. They are dubbed “evil” by Washington and given more perks and latitude than ever before. You are to pay higher local, state, federal, payroll, and heath care taxes, with the assumptions that you will not help to pay down the debt and you, the greedy bastard, should pay even more taxes than you do.

Wake up, and get with it, reader: either you are a pod now — or everyone else is.


[1] Some things, of course, never change. The filibuster is always bad when a party is in power; good when out of power. Recess appointments in power are necessary antidotes to the shanghaiing of Congress; when out power, proof of anti-constitutionalism. Street protests are subversive when in power; and grass roots democracy when out.

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