A FEW MAD MEN-- WE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH
It surprises me how little good it takes to make a day pleasant. I have had times when I have been having a lousy day, and one happy exchange has put a spring in my step sometimes for the whole week. There are even times when a well placed compliment or an eager responsiveness in a colleague has led to a change in perspective that has brightened my outlook as a whole. I have often said, and might be known for claiming, a little good goes a long way. We all know that. We have experienced that. [Make a mental note to yourself to be a little more polite with folks and to really look them in the eyes and pay attention.]
The converse is also true. One bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch.
Of late we are bombarded psychologically and emotionally by the news of war and the inescapable realities that accompany it, the death of innocents. Not a day goes by that I do not mourn the deaths of the common people, the destruction of infrastructures which provide food, shelter, medical care, and a clean water supply to hundreds of thousands. As if the deaths caused by bombings and war violence were not enough, we forget to tally those caused in the aftermath of the killing, the slow deaths.
The media messages cannot make up for what is lacking in our human understanding of our existence on this planet. As human beings we find ourselves in an odd position amongst all of the species that inhabit this world. We alone among the species can cause the destruction of not only ourselves, but hundreds and thousands of others. We alone have the great capacity to enhance or to destroy all life, at least all meaningful life for the foreseeable future.
The appointment of George W. Bush as POTUS was a stark turning point culminating in our descent into his madness. Political spin is nothing new in the US. Secrecy? Not new. But, what IS new is the sheer volume of illogical and contradictory statements that pass for official statements from the White House and from other “respected” policy makers and commentators around the country. Not only that, but the actions and policies of this man have made the unacceptable (nuclear war) acceptable. The destruction of our infrastructure by cronyism and fraud might be taking place and the bankrupting of our nation is proceeding right under our noses.
Increased debt is being called prosperity. War is being called peace. Cease fires are being blocked as detrimental. Net job loss is being called job creation. Potentially life-saving research is being called murder. American refugees from war zones are being called whiney spoiled babies. Investigations of criminal acts are being called un-American. The American president is insisting he is above the law and always right. And, reports indicate that there is no tolerance for any other view than that. George Bush has created a closed system. No information gets out, and nothing gets in. [Emphasis is the editor's, not the writer's. It means "please read it again; it's important."]
GOP members trot into congress with models of electrified barbed wire fences for our borders and others insist that family photos are important evidence for legislation. Still others display ignorance of the very issues over which they are charged with oversight. [We'll let this veiled attack on the increasingly-- and disturbingly-- senile senator from Alaska slip by.]
Increasingly the illogic and hypocrisy of the religious right is what rules the day. Members of congress do not hesitate to tell us that they are legislating the will of God.
Continually we find ourselves asking whether the Bush Regime is lying or incompetent. Is either option acceptable? The GOP refuses to take responsibility for its corruption or that of the President. They allow this president to hold himself above the law. They continue to "catapult the propaganda." We look on incredulous. Impossible, we think.
This is madness. I know there is no DSM IV official category labeled madness. How would a description of madness look? Denial, delusions of grandeur, lying when the truth will do, secrecy, closed systems, and preoccupation with violence and killing, not to mention the need to save face and be seen as right no matter what, complete self-absorption…we know that is madness. It is instinctual. We get that sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs. We know it when we see it.
Debt is debt. Death is death. Hunger is hunger. War is war. Only prosperity is prosperity and peace is peace, and only safety is safety. The truth is the truth. Lies are lies. No matter how many photo ops you see, no matter how many platitudes you hear, no matter how clever your slogan, you cannot change the truth. These realities remain. You cannot cheat reality. You can fool people, but you cannot cheat reality. Truth will out.
Wisdom and effective leadership come from real experience and successes built upon education, concern and real life experience with success and failure and an honest effort to avoid the latter. It does not come from being born surrounded by Bush family wealth or being lucky enough to be supported by the Bush family crony security net. Being a leader is not protecting oneself and ones illusions and delusions. It is protecting a nation. Influence is not threatening members of the media and the congress with punishment for exposing the truth, but it is making sure one publishes the truth. Leadership is not exploiting the 30 something percent of the religious fanatics among us as if they were representative of logic and rationality.
Insanity can exist only as long as we cannot see the reality. Madness requires us to gloss over the details. It requires us to not see the faces or ask the names of the poor, the victimized, or the dead. We cannot allow meaningless phrases to be repeated in place of the truth. We must ask more questions. We must insist on explanations. We must ask for clarifications and distinctions.
As a species human beings needs to pay attention. The time for reevaluation of our ability to destroy ourselves requires some truth telling. Americans are not the only ones capable of lying to themselves. People the world over show they are willing to be led down the war path.
But, truth is liberating. It may be unpleasant or as Al Gore says, Inconvenient, but truth will at some point liberate us. It will enable us to find real solutions. The truth is not a GOP photo op. It is not a PR move to make an incurious and misled president look presidential. It is not a euphemism. Truth is an honest appraisal. Truth is the laying bare of the real issues and difficulties. Truth is a commercial for working together to honestly solve problems and create real peace and safety. Truth calls on us all to be more than we think we can be. It assures us that our efforts will not be wasted.
Creating a false reality is the ultimate betrayal. It consumes our efforts and our resources for naught. It robs us of our faith in ourselves and our faith in others. Humanity is not evil. We want good things for ourselves and for others. We do not want to see children blown to bits. We do not want to see populations poisoned with DU. We do not want to see brutality by terrorists or by dictators. We, by and large, are a good and peaceful species that is being manipulated at the current moment by a few. If America is going to be a super power and a leader then it is time for us to root out those few mad men. We need to show the world we can handle the truth, and so can they.