For any with doubts, please know I am not some knee-jerk peacenik. My heart is etched with Teddy Roosevelt’s postulate to “walk softly but carry a big stick,” and Colin Powel’s idea that, if you gotta, you do it with overwhelming force.
But you better “gotta.”
For example, I was so angered by the way LBJ did not respond to the seizing of the USS Pueblo and its crew by North Korea in January, 1968 that I couldn’t vote Democratic until 1992.
Here’s how I wanted him to handle it. Convene the top administration echelon, notify Pyongyang that he had obtained a battalion of Marine volunteers who would be entering the country, completely unarmed, to get our sailors back; all 52, including the body of the one who died. I wanted Johnson to let Kim Il-sung know in terms that permitted no misinterpretation that our sailors were all he wanted, that they could keep the damned boat, but if a single hair was mussed on either the captive crew or the volunteers, no one would be able to locate North Korea on any map of the world, because it would cease to be. One hair out of place, and the topography of the area north of the 38th parallel would be so deepened with craters that the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea would slosh against each other, all the way to the Yalu River.
And here’s what I want for the “better gotta.”
We live in a representative democracy. We send representatives to Washington to represent us. Notwithstanding there will be no purity in either, that can reflect one of two definitions: to mirror what we seem to want on any given issue, or to represent what our emissaries seem to think is in our best interests. The citizenry cannot have complete knowledge of every matter, nor are we entitled to it. The fine details of some matters must remain secret to us, but not to the handful of those with special clearance for them; the select defense and intelligence committees.
Then, there are some things the citizenry has an absolute right to know the details of: the membership of those meeting to set the nation’s energy policy, the how and why certain companies obtained no-bid contracts worth tens of billions and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, why there was no to scant inquiry when $8 billion somehow magically disappeared into the ether, why there was the same lack of interest in tracking down the whereabouts of more than a hundred thousand pieces of missing ordnance, whether the country has sunk into the depravity of sanctioning or conducting torture, or shredding the letter and spirit of our Constitution.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one reports its crash to earth, did it?
Yesterday, the FCC — well, not really the entire FCC, the majority members, id est: the GOP members who compose its majority — announced the decision to relax the prohibition that theretofore prevented broadcast and cable media from buying local newspapers. Regardless the facts — made public in yesterday’s meeting by Democratic member Michael Kopps — that the print media has enjoyed 20% net profits, considerably more than the single-digit profit margins for most companies across the business spectrum, or that the commission’s own public input data demonstrate conclusively how the public is solidly opposed to any relaxation of the prohibiting rules, the decision was solidly on behalf of Goliath. David would be left to tend the sheep. (See http://c-span.org sixth arrow down, “Open Meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (12/18/2007) under “Recent Programs” on the home page.)
What was most insulting to the basic intelligence of Americans was the syrupy dissembling by GOP member Deborah Taylor-Tate on how the commission’s efforts over the past year were the “most open, transparent, and thorough . . .” While she elected to cast her vote for cable-industry giants, she concomitantly chose not to counter Jonathan Adelstein’s charge that the new waivers adopted by the commission’s majority were “made in the dead of night, neither seen nor known about by anyone in either the public sphere or any of the minority commission members.” Ms. Taylor-Tate reminisced how the commission had traversed the country, listening to every opinion, and taking all perspectives into consideration.
Next month I’ll turn 62. I don’t remember everything. Some things I don’t remember at all. But I do remember being a teenager, and listening while not hearing a single syllable, when my mom or dad would be caught up in a lecture. Sometimes one or the other would interrupt the sermon to inquire “Do you hear what I’m telling you?” And I refuse to believe there exists a single adult who was once also a teenager with the need to ponder long either my response or the truth of the matter. The differences are: I’m not a teenager, and I know now, exactly as I knew then, what the difference between listening and hearing is.
I’m just sick and tired of George Bush and his GOP cronies suffering the delusions, as they pontificate the validity of positions that have no genuine validity, that I am so obtuse I can’t possibly grasp what the hell has been going on, what they’ve done, or what they’re trying to do. It’s like patting me on the head and telling me “There, there Little Boy, you don’t need to worry yourself about it, we’ve got everything under control,” as they push the country I love with all my heart and soul faster and faster toward the abyss of irretrievable demise.— Ed Tubbs