It has always been funny to me how the light can shine in different shades, the same as revelations of wrongdoing by State Department employees are described as "Imprudent Curiosity." During the travelgate scandal of the Clinton administration, Right-wing pundits were busy gathering wood for a public burning of the guilty. "Oh, the humanity!" they cried as they poured out their outrage and invective before any investigation could take place.
But, to be fair, that’s all they had available and the Clintons made themselves ample targets by their successes. While, with this administration, what with two wars, a subprime crisis, and a major bank failure or two, what’s a little passport snooping? Of course, the dates do look a little suspicious, being so closely tied to Obama’s primary successes. But, this time around, Republican pundits put the blame on big government.
Yes, it is all big government’s fault. Do you suppose that if the United States didn’t have a Passport Office or a State Department all of this could have been avoided? With the job Condi Rice has been doing there at the State Department, that might seem like a viable alternative. Obama’s camp is outraged, and rightfully so. A spokesman for Obama called it "an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years."
Maybe he’s being a little too hard on them; "There is no indication that there was any political motivation. It (appears to have been) prurient interest," said a State Department official who asked not to be identified. Of course, this is prior to any real investigation and besides, the State Department computer system has security pop-ups on them. Pop-ups that warn employees, "It is a violation of the Privacy Act to access these files without direct investigational reasons." Much like the pop-ups on the Internet that insist, "I do solemnly affirm I am 18 years old and wish to view this pornographic material."
The very idea that, after what we already know about Dick Cheney’s energy group, the machinations of the 9-11 committee, the lies and revelations about Iraq, and the complete and total lies and fabrications regarding the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, that maybe now we should just take their word for it? Come on, fellas, calm down. After all, we fired the guilty parties. How quickly they became "contract employees." You see, it wasn’t even government employees at all, just people hired to work for the government under contract. Just like the shootings of Iraqi civilians, heck, don’t blame the US government for that; it was those Blackwater contract employees to blame.
And, gee whiz, they fired them, after all. But, with Republican's political tentacles, where these contract employees land their next job will tell us more than anything else just how innocent an event this all was. Scooter Libbey lost his job too; does anyone fear for his future? Just like in basketball, you got the big guy whose job it is to trip up the opponent's best shooter; he fouls out and the coach pats him on the back and says, "good game!" So, if they end up working at the car wash or Wal-Mart, maybe it was all just innocent but, if they end up working at the Heritage Foundation or American Spectator . . .?
But, that’s just how the light shines. We don’t know their names so we will never know where they end up. This whole event only gained light at all when a reporter asked the State Department about breaches of Obama’s passport application. Ms. Rice made it clear that this was only brought to her attention on Friday when she returned from overseas. Apparently because State Department contract employees and senior management don’t know how to use the telephone. But, as always, wrong-way Condi tries to make it better by making it worse.
State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said, "After senior management (Condi) researched the incidents surrounding Obama, they decided to examine whether Clinton's and McCain's records had been breached. This morning it became clear that they had." You see! You suspected political wrongdoings and now it’s clear that they were accessing everyone's file. Feel better now? Or worse? Only this administration could try and worm their way out of political wrongdoing by making the excuse that everyone was doing it, mom! But, unlike mom, the media will let them get away with it.
Just as the media have made political hay about Obama’s minister's remarks, no longer is a candidate just responsible for what he says he or she is responsible for, but for what everyone at his church says, as well. But, only if you’re a Democrat. When the Mormon, Mitt Romney, ran in the Republican primaries, did anyone ask why the Mormon church, until 1965, had not allowed people of African American heritage to join and that the church hierarchy taught that people of African decent were actually a different subspecies of human being?
That wouldn’t be fair, would it? I have personally attended my wife’s family’s Baptist church and found myself personally outraged by the American flag on the altar of God, the melding of religion and politics. I’m just a guest there; should I tell them how that offends me? Or, should I afford them their religious beliefs in peace?
Now, John McCain, what should he do? He is staunchly supported by Reverend John Haggee. Haggee argues, Palestinians have no rights in Palestine; that God gave that land to the Israelites. So, the Palestinians should just move along now. He argues that there is no unique Palestinian language as proof of the defectiveness of their title. Of course, he forgets that there is no unique American language, either. Haggee believes in and supports a preemptive strike on Iran. I guess because, WWJD? Yet McCain is not held accountable for these outrageous statements because it is not his pastor, just one of his rapid supporters.
Obama’s Reverend Wright spoke about race and there’s nothing the right wing loves more than race. It is a central tenant of their philosophy, the belief in null racism. That because Obama’s minister made racially insensitive remarks, that somehow then white racism is justified or understandable. They fail to draw the distinction between talk and action.
While Jazz clubs in Harlem in the 1940’s might have been integrated, Country Clubs in Connecticut were not. I once worked with a white, redneck mechanic who railed because the city built a community swimming pool in a black neighborhood.
"They didn’t build a swimming pool in my neighborhood! But they built one up there in the black neighborhood! What if I want to go swimming?"
I told him, "It’s a public pool; take your 50 cents and your towel up there and go swimming."
"I don’t want to go swimming up there!"
"Well, then don’t complain. You’re upset because of the community, not the facility."
Just as the media is upset by Rev. Wright’s remarks, it’s the community, not the facility. McCain’s supporters can call for war and genocide without a peep from the media. John McCain himself can say, "The economy is not my strong suit," and it goes unquestioned by the press. Could you imagine a Democratic debate and Obama or Hilary Clinton making such a remark?
"What would you do, Mrs. Clinton, as President about the failure of Bear Stearns?"
"Gee, I don’t know, the economy is not my strong suit."
The entire Democratic campaign is framed by the media around race and racism; pollsters carve up the demographics to make arguments about race. Hispanic support for Mrs. Clinton versus Obama versus African American support versus White supporters. Where are the questions on the other side? What percentage of McCain supporters are African American? Or Hispanic? Why is only one side of the campaign held to such standards? Are the questions unfair or uninteresting to the viewing audience of the American public or is it, perhaps, just Imprudent Curiosity?