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Riff on the Theme, "This is about evil"

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Someone wrote, in response to my piece "On the Mixtures We Are" ( ) that indeed we are a mixture-- with reptilian brain and mammalian brain still in there, not always properly governed by our more advanced faculties.

This comment has inspired me to write the following riff.

I think it important that we not see what we're dealing with here as human nature itself.

It isn't about the reptilian brain-- it's about evil.

The problem with Cheney is not that he's a reptile in human form, it is that there's something missing and wrong about his human form. Something sacred got eliminated, something got twisted, something bad happened-- the timeline traced backwards. This is primitive stuff in the sense of its being so spiritually starved and shallow that it cannot register anything of value except its own dominance. But it is not primitive in the sense that this is human nature.

We're difficult and flawed creatures. But given a decent world around us that supported what was best in us to support, we'd be much more beautiful creatures.

This is not about animal versus a more fully evolved human. This is about evil, which operates in a different dimension and universe.

This is about a systematic working of the spirit-- the spirit of the country--

---- as shown most recently in President Bush letting the ugly cat out of the bag in the one moment that he was before us ready to deal with something he does not control.

He gets asked about how many Iraqis have died because of his war. And he answers with a lie --says 30,000 when the studies last year suggested it was 100,000 at that earlier time. And then he feels compelled to make a joke. And people were willing to join with the president in this humor, or to let it pass unremarked.

Except for a perceptive few who have done us the service of calling it to our attention in recent days.

This episode says something very dark about the nature of the spirit operating in the country today, that is not willing to look at the moral implications of the mess in Iraq.

The Bushites unleashed a great deal of destruction on a dubious venture with little regard for the legitimate concerns of anyone else. And then they also made a mess of it. All this death and destruction. If it had succeeded --these guys did not intend to make a mess in Iraq-- it could be imagined that the international system could have done some healing.

But that's not what's happened. The WMDs were just a front for an imperialist grab for greater control. And it was bungled. And it is because the spirit of evil is so twisted that these people could not understand the world they were operating in, or move appropriately. I wonder""is stupidity a common by-product of evil?

The Bushites will not be straight about how badly they've bungled things. If I had done something as poorly as that, I would have a hard time not apologizing to everyone. I can't imagine continuing to act as arrogantly as all these Bushites persist in doing, as if they hadn't screwed up both in terms of competence (eight major blunders) and of morals (lies and arrogance combining).

For someone who cares only about power, having to face one's failures and defects has no value. So Bush persists in acting like he's the Hero of Iraq. Giving them all that freedom, that we love so much and that Osama hates us for.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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