Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Truth on TV

Watch it. The simple, ugly truth.

Like the citizens of Argos in Sartre's The Flies, we have been wandering in sackcloth for five years, afraid to dissent or appear unpatriotic in a time of collective mourning. 9/11 was a decisive national moment. In the spirit of unity, we have allowed Bush & Co. to attempt to rewrite history. We did not want to dissent, to be thought of as discordant or lacking in unity or collective vision.

But enough is enough.

Once he gathered the courage to leave seclusion, and actually go to New York, after 9/11, Bush was a charismatic, if not eloquent speaker. He was the coach, who you want to make proud. He harnessed our despair, our shock, our mourning and anger and used them to create and drive a common vision. We allowed him to provide us with a unity of vision and common purpose, so that we could, through action, deal with our national rage and fear. We had been humbled as a nation, and our vision, our story about ourselves had been shattered. We thought Bush offered us a new vision, a chance to restore our pride, and a chance to make the world safer, not only for us, but for all of the world, who also mourned with us that horrible day in September.

Since that humbling blow did not strike them as deeply, our allies began to see through the self-serving nature and ultimately ineffectual negligence of Bush's vision, before us. We tried to laugh this off, as the fearful have always tried to laugh off criticism, by belittlement and bravado. But we are coming to see the truth of their critiques. We have not been regaining our stature in the world. We have been humiliating ourselves. We have disgraced the ideals of liberty and freedom, which we claim to be the inspiration for our deeds. We have made the world, not safer and more unified, but more deadly and divided than ever. We have gone from a nation who believed that "Right makes Might" to a nation that tells the world "Might makes Right." We have been living a lie.

That lie is the revision of history that Bush & Co. have sold us. It is time for us, as a nation, to reject that lie, whose falsehood grows more apparent daily. It is time, on this Yom Kippur 2006, this Day of Atonement, to atone for the lie. We must hold ourselves accountable for allowing ourselves to be lied to, just as we must hold those we allowed to decieve us accountable for their deception. We must find a way to repair the damage we have done to the world, and to ourselves. We must face up to lie maturely, and repentantly achieve a new vision, a new collective story. We must rewrite history, by removing the lie, which has closed our ears to the truth.

Listen to this man. Listen to (at least some of) the truth. It is time for us, as a people, to start being honest with ourselves. If we do not, that will truly be a national tragedy, and a humilating debasement of a once great people.

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