The Republican National Convention will begin Monday and if historians were really as hip as they pretend, they would use the event to start the debate about what aspect of the Bush years, if any, qualifies as America’s Greatest Shame. Rather than having a week-long marathon of admire-the-emperor’s- new-clothes type fawning and hypocritical self-congratulations, historians, who have a proclivity toward iconoclastic behavior, could start the task of selecting what part of the decade of debacles could be suggested as the most likely candidate for earning the award for the greatest disgrace to the country.
History buffs would be less enthusiastic than the partisan participant and they could possibly offer oratory featuring these images: Robert H. Jackson, the lead American Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial would be distressed by the idea that the Invasion of Iraq met his criteria for a Crime against Peace, Edward R. Murrow would probably weep if he saw how the journalism community abdicated their role as reporters in return for adulation as celebrities, Thomas Jefferson would be in the depths of despair knowing how the electronic voting machines (guaranteed ahead of the election to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush) had made a travesty of the concept of democracy, psychologists are dealing with feelings of guilty about the role science has played in the advancements made in torture enhanced interrogations. They could also conjure up verbal pictures of members of the military cringing because the philosophy concerning the use of torture has done a quick about-face, and the talk show hosts who enthusiastically embrace, in the name of patriotism, their roles as collaborators.
The Republican National Convention will conveniently (for connoisseurs of irony) convene on the same day of the year that was chosen 69 years ago for the invasion of Poland. Wasn’t it called Operation Liberate the Danzig Corridor? Purists will argue that there is no similarity to the Invasion of Iraq because no Stukas were used.
Edward R. Murrow, if he were alive and in his prime today, would probably go into the Fox studios for an interview and, on a live feed, do his version of Jesus berating the money-changers in the temple. If they were honest enough to admit they are following in Goebbels footsteps, that would be their first moment of truth, but for them to invoke the spirit of Murrow while they try to foment a PUMA party revolt that is a figment of their imagination. Republicans had the raised middle finger type audacity to send propagandists to Denver and call them the “Ministry of Truth.” Such shenanigans would sicken Murrow.
The electronic voting machines are to democracy as a card-sharp with a stacked deck is to the spirit of “playing a little game of chance with a bet to make it interesting.”
The psychological world in Republican circles is all agog with speculation over which advisor for the advancement of torture enhanced interrogations will get one of this year’s Dr. Mengele Awards.
At first glance, the fact that America’s long tradition of not torturing or abusing prisoners of war until former Lt. Bush reversed the policy might not seem like a strong contender for receiving the honor of being America’s greatest shame, but for those who don’t think it likely, we have ways to make you recant your heresies, so do yourself a favor and agree with now before things get a tad nasty.
In a capitalist society wouldn’t almost all citizens see the advantage of accepting a $400 million for ten years offer to heap praise on the commander-in-chief no matter who was in charge. Heck, even if it was Adolph Hitler who would receive their admiration, wouldn’t large sums of money make it OK?
At the Republican National Convention expect to see ministers who will ignore the advice to refrain from killing and, instead, become strident in their loud and enthusiastic endorsements of a military action which kills as many as a million civilians. They will remind their audiences that Jesus died for their sins and only those ministers can deliver forgiveness for any sin . . . for a large financial offering. God-fearing Republicans know that selling forgiveness at a discount would be an insult to the sacrifices the Savior made.
Wealthy minister are more than glad (for the aforementioned large amount of bucks) to explain how the massive amounts of civilian casualties in Iraq have earned an exception from the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” advice from heaven.
Lately listening to the conservative talk shows quickly sluff over the particulars for things like the recent betrayal of Georgia, the invasion of Iraq, the continuing escapades of Obaama the fugitive, and the possibility that Senator McCain was a very cooperative POW is like hearing a verbal equivalent of the old con artist’s shell game. Listening to their defense of the Bush Junta reminds older folks of the ads on radio that featured a tobacco auctioneer.
People who think that the transgressions of the Bush era have gotten as unsavory as they can possibly get, might be in for something remarkable this fall when the Republican nominee (most likely it will be Senator John McCain) faces the first black American to be a leading contender for the next Inauguration ceremony.
Who knows how distasteful the attempts to use code words to inject racial prejudice into the campaign will become? Perhaps at the Republican National Convention rather than Band-Aids with a purple heart, they will hand out T-shirts with the old Sixties adage: “Burn, Baby, Burn!”?
Partisan supporters of Bush should note that this column was speculation about what historians might think if they attended the Republican National Convention. Odds are it will actually be a weeklong tribute to what happened under Bush in the last eight years.
It should be rather obvious that the Republicans are not now, nor have they ever been, a member of a party able to give an adequate reply to a famous question from Joseph N. Welch: “You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
Now, since playing on the emotions will be an integral part of next week’s charade, the disk jockey will play Judy Collins’ version of “Amazing Grace” and we will step outside to try and dry our eyes. Have a “historical” (not hysterical) type week.