I was having an ordinary conversation about a federally-mandated program related to the work of Day Job with another Day Job Employee when our respective frustration about the President, the Vice President and their responses to the Amnesty International report led us to a shared catharsis. Who do they think they are? And do they think we Americans are that stupid? was the thrust of it. In a couple of moments we simmered down and got back to business, but the immediacy of the response startled me.
I felt as if the American people have been under a nuclear — make that “nookaler” — winter cloud of self-restraint since 9/11. The kind of cloud that makes compassionate people forget themselves in a wave of self-consuming, destructive fear. Tie that to the baseball bat of Bush moralism, and its easy to see how one wouldn’t want to speak up. After all, it isn’t a long road from those “who hate America” — the President’s catch-all justification for a lawless incarceration at Guantanamo; he makes Castro look like a champion of justice in contrast — to those who defend the most basic of their human rights. We’re supposed to take as given that the detainees are as bad as they say, but who can trust the Bush administration to be anything other than self-serving. Add the volleys of attacks from the right and it is easy for anyone less-right to be caught off balance.
Let Cheney be insulted or Bush grieved. They’re liars and violent men. They’ve degrade the trust the people have in the office. They need to be called out and condemned before they do more damage to this country, its most vulnerable, and those it can victimize in silence and in shadows. They make us liars and violent by proxy, and hateful in millions of eyes.