What is a traitor?
A traitor betrays and harms his own nation, his own religion, or his own people. Note that I use the masculine form because of probable historical preponderance not because I doubt the abilities of females to match males in this capacity. In this reflection I want to consider the hierarchy of lying, betrayal of trust, and treason.
A traitor will almost certainly lie, but he far transcends lying. Lying, itself, is far from trivial, and the foolish expression "mere lies"conveniently conceals that lies cause tragedy, ruin, suffering, and death. A traitor does betray the trust of others. However, betrayal of trust, although heartbreaking and disillusioning to those betrayed, generally does not cause the damage to multitudes of people that the act of treason does. Acts of treason weaken, harm the nation, and cause the gravest setbacks to the spirit of those betrayed - feelings of shame and uncleanliness.
In the above sentences, I have briefly outlined my perceptions of the distinctions and gradations between the acts of lying, betrayal of trust, and treason. I think we all would accept some sort of hierarchy of these actions, albeit, possibly expressed somewhat differently. It is a truism to say Bush and Cheney lied on numerous vital issues. It is clear that they betrayed the trust of our troops, of their families, the American people, and our friends and allies worldwide. Similarly, the betrayed the trust of the unfortunate poor citizens of New Orleans. However, beyond their lies, their betrayal involves their certitude of the untenable, their smearing of their unconvinced critics, and their deceitful duality of us or them, good or evil, black or white in a world of smudgy gray.
But beyond even the enormity and gravity of this betrayal of trust lies the deliberate and calculated harm they have inflicted on the American people. The selling and exploitation of federal lands owned by the people to benefit big corporations, their disregard of the growing inaccessibility to decent health care and higher education, the non-maintenance of industrial safety standards, their tax cuts mainly to those with incomes in excess of $200,000, their kowtowing before the big energy companies, the installation of a corporation-owned Supreme Court, the outsourcing of government, the squalor of Guantanamo, the degradation of Abu Ghraib, the bungling of the Katrina aftermath are merely a few of the uncountable ways this pair of scoundrels have willfully harmed and damaged our beloved country.