Why I Switched Parties
Yesterday I listened to NPR all day, the hearings, you know -- all too much to absorb, plus I was in the car, I couldn't take notes, didn't have my recorder. Had the camera! No help.
Multi-tasking is bullshit. My mom used to call it doing everything at once. So I sat back and drove through the country. Nice. Hit 60 today. Gray day, misty. Wasn't Clarke terrific?
When I got back to the office I didn't feel like slogging through transcripts looking for applause lines, blogging on the big stuff. Besides, everybody else was doing it. So I decided to be a big picture guy. I took a nap.
When I awoke, I checked Blogcritics to see if I had any new comments to my last post. Yes, a few. Attached to my 600-word essay was the entire Republican briefing book, annotated. I'd made the mistake of being equanimous in spreading guilt around the various presidents who have dragged our country through their many misadventures, and I guess fellow blogger David Flanagan thought it was a barn door through which they could all escape.
It was wonderful! Like a party at my post! First time that's happened. And I really didn't have to do a thing, including participate.
Man, it was nice to be popular. I don't normally get a lot of comments. I mean, what's to say about the "Don't-Buy-It" diet? Come on!
So I walked around with a plate of cheeseballs and listened and wondered: What does one say to a Republican? "What kind of car you driving?" "Did your bonus come through?" "You ever played Oak Brook?"
Eventually something made me angry. I wrote some turgid prose, deleted it, wrote some more and backspaced through it, played solitaire, got depressed. Napped. Got over it.
Now I'm picking up where I left off. God, I love these hearings. It's such good clean fun to watch these big shot arrogant mothereffers get deloused by microwaves.
This stuff is every bit as thrilling as the Watergate Hearings and seems to be following a similar pattern: testimony unfolds, leaving in its wake newly minted heroes and villains. Either's and Or's.
Don Rumsfeld, cornered, retreats to his CEO roots and bizpeak, "healing the seams" between CIA and State, the phony, scared to death, only too happy to have Wolfowitz, who truly looks his name, step in and save the day, setting the record straight on some metaphor somebody used to describe him somewhere that nobody remembered but he wanted it on the record that he resented it. Twenty minutes of witlessness from Wolfowitz damn near ran me off the road. Narcissism is a word in desperate need of understanding.
Even though Condoleezza Rice hasn't testified in public, it's clear that Dr. Rice (just the fact she enjoys being called "Dr." is telling), is nothing less than an Executive Secretary whose job it is to protect the president from incorrect facts, inappropriate people and manners unbecoming. She replaces Karen Hughes, who replaced his tutor, whom he depended on through junior high and much of high school, who replaced his mother, who gave up early.
Sometimes I think maybe these hearings could help "heal the seam" between the two Americas. As our nation gradually radicalizes, slowly, the way a pot of pasta water gradually heats up, I see us heading for Lincoln's house divided.
It's not just us. Other houses around the world are dividing rapidly: Iraq, Israel, Spain, Britain, Russia.
What the hearings are exposing is the danger of radical ideology. The element that is creating the most dangerous radicals quickest is the compound created by three parts politics and one part religion.
This compound creates a third thing much worse than the first two, and entirely different from either. It is malignant, not benign, and this is always true.
It's true in every country and every religion: Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism.
Radicals are nuts. They don't listen. They have crazy ideas that are wrong. They have it in mind that they're right, end of argument. And there is something appealing in that position, especially to people who have been sidelined or beaten up a lot. It's called "having enough." Now the other side is radicalized. No one will live through it.
The problem with radicals is they kill without batting a lash. They won't say so but they enjoy it. They have given way to a raging id that literally sweeps them up and has its way with them.
Radicals are dangerous people who believe to the bottoms of their socks they are absolutely doing the right thing. They cannot be dissuaded from strapping a bomb to their own waist even as their children cry mama don't.
Vengeance will be theirs because they have crossed that point of no return and there is no turning back. And there is no stopping revenge killings, from Ireland to the Hatfield's and McCoy's, to George W. Bush and Arial Sharon, to Hamas, al Qaeda, Bill Clinton, or Harry S Truman.
Truman was Man with a Good Idea who thought up Israel. Everybody thought it was a Good Idea too, except the people who lived there already, who weren't asked.
After all the violence, I am personally so disgusted that I say enough. Everybody out. If you can't play nicely, you can't play at all anymore. You blew it. Get out of paradise. Get out of the Holy Land. This Promised Land wasn't promised to Israel by the United Nations; it was promised to Man by God. The three major religions who claim it holy defile it every day. The world, through the UN, should say as one: disperse. You blew it. Get out. And it should be turned into a World Park, owned by the unnamed God we all agree on, the one that smiles down like the man in the moon and acts just like a Canadian.
The J-man tried to tell us. But the promised land, and all the problems that have flowed from it, was exactly what he promised. If we had taken care of it, things would be ducky. If we didn't, things would go like this. It's why he talked about forgiveness, because it's the only way to stop the domino effect. If you're a domino with legs, you take a step to the left, you save the world. Get out of the way. Don't add to it.