By Gary Corseri
Thomas Paine's Corner
“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
–Martin Luther King
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to my conscience, above all other liberties.”
The Romans had a saying: Mole ruit sua. It falls of its own bigness.
They knew a thing or two about Empire, over-extension abroad and decay at home.
Apparently, Americans are still learning. Hence, we’re shocked by a 9/11 event, the devastation wrought by Katrina, the collapse of a bridge over the Mississippi. We don’t understand how our health care system could have deteriorated into the “Sicko” joke of the developed world—and to be a lot less efficient and fair than systems in much poorer countries (Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica, for example). Within a few decades, how did we go from putting men on the moon to a nation whose cars can’t compete with Japan and Germany—nations less than half, and a little more than a quarter our size; nations we bombed to smithereens some 60 years ago?
Our school system can’t educate the next generation of doctors (we import them from India), nurses (we grab them from the Philippines), computer specialists (we outsource those jobs to India), journalists or editors. We no longer make our own clothes (China does), build our own ships (South Korea), or do our own thinking (thank you, Rupert Murdoch, Oprah and a pox of pundits!). In my lifetime, I have watched the culture gyrate from the wholesome, if naïve, 1950s’ sitcom “Father Knows Best,” with its strong, parental role models, to the whorish modeling behavior of insolent “celebs” like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsy Lohan, etc. Our kids are sugared up with awful food one moment, then sedated with Ritalin the next. For the past twenty years I’ve been asking my wife, “How low can we go?” And I can’t help thinking of Shakespeare’s answer: things are not the worst so long as we can say, “This is the worst!”
It would be easy to blame all of this on some clown-politician: Ronald Reagan, George Bush (pere or file!). But we ought not elevate their like too much. They are symptoms, not causes. It’s easier to treat symptoms than eliminate causes, and the current hubbub on the Left about impeaching Bush, Cheney and Gonzalez—as nefarious as they are!—is just the sort of band-aid solution to the manifest ills of a moribund empire that is certain to perpetuate those ills and that empire.
In politics, timing is everything. Two years ago I wrote a piece entitled, “25 Reasons to Impeach George W. Bush.” It was widely disseminated on the web, even made it to Congressman Conyer’s website. Two years is a long time as the crow flies, and what was bold, dissident and informative then is old-hat and shop-worn now. You’ve got to wonder: when Bruce Fein of the hyper-conservative American Enterprise Institute and John Nichols of the Nation magazine convene on Bill Moyers’ “Journal,” as they did in July, to present the merits of impeaching Bush and Cheney as a great civics lesson for the American people–a way to restore trust in our government—what is going on? Have the Left and the Right finally found a way to move the social agenda forward, to repair the bridges, establish durable living standards, and secure the blessings of life, liberty and justice for all? Can the Corporate State and Democracy really co-exist? And the answer lies in the simple act of impeaching the degenerates? Hallelujah!
But … not so fast …