December 26, 2005
Republican double standard is outrageous, scarcely believable
Although it's clear that Big Brother Bush violated the 4th Amendment by authorizing secret snooping on American citizens -- in other words, egregiously broke the law -- most Republicans are pooh-poohing his crime. Small potatoes. Not grounds for impeachment, they dismissively contend.
Meanwhile, within seconds of New York transit workers going on strike to try to gird their endangered living standard, Republicans aided wealthy MTA bondholders and the Bloomberg bourgeoisie by calling conveyance drivers fighting for economic justice "criminals" who had to be punished at once.
And punished they were, with such Draconian threats of fines and jail time that the union's leadership abruptly ended the walk-out.
Sure, New York State's reactionary Taylor Law made the strike illegal. But are such pro-corporate means of repression actually "American" and truly Constitutional?
I distinctly remember learning in junior high civics class that collective bargaining and U.S. labor unions' right to strike were key components of what makes this country great, along with checks and balances, separation of church and state, etc.
You know, all those things conservative "patriots" grind into the mud with their hob-nailed boots...
George Bush's wanton, lied-about invasion and occupation of Iraq can't be distinguished, in any basic way, from Adolf Hitler's 1939 assault on Poland. They're twin travesties. Absolute mockeries of morality and law.
Certain questions must consequently be asked:
Did Germans who were duped by the bogus Nazi rationale for marching eastward believe the Werhmacht was bringing "liberation and democracy" to the frightened Polish people?
Did propagandized citizens in Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden regard as "terrorists" rather than "partisans" the brave Poles who waged a relentless, fierce resistance against their own country's fascist oppressors?
One would suspect so, since there are still some Americans here who blithely buy the load of bull Bush keeps feeding them, in militaristic speeches delivered before backdrops of numerous flags and other manipulative, nationalistic symbols.
Only "Sieg Heil" is missing.
We've got everything else, including shocking torture prisons that distressingly remind all but the hopelessly soul-dead of yesteryear's concentration camps.
We even have a president who savages legality and the Constitution itself by encouraging electronic eavesdropping on U.S. citizens.
Doesn't that smack of Hitlerism?
Rightwing "Christians" are damaging America.
The problem they present stems from their stubborn unwillingness to concede that the Scriptures contain more allegory and parable than literal, universal truth.
Thus they insist on imposing upon us all -- with determined forcefulness calculated to establish an iron theocracy -- Biblical edicts penned in a backward, biased age by quite fallible mortals.
We know from carbon dating, for example, that there was definitely a planet Earth and plenty of life (including human life) many thousands of years before God was supposed to have created it all in a miraculous six days, just a few, scant millennia ago.
From technological space scrutiny, we categorically know there isn't a bearded, omnipotent, old man ruling our affairs from a golden throne somewhere beyond the clouds. Not one NASA mission ever encountered the saints or angels of Heaven.
Profoundly negative consequences flow from demanding that what reality doesn't validate must, nevertheless, be abided by.
Extending "Thou shalt not kill" to fanatical fetus fetishism while turning a deaf ear and blind eye to massive, already-born, civilian deaths stemming from our aggression of Muslim Iraq, is cruelly absurd.
Among the over 100,000 Iraqis the Johns Hopkins/Lancet study of last year found had perished since the Americans came...were certainly a sizeable number of pregnant women.
Since desperate, date-raped teenagers in our own country getting abortions is a matter of far greater objective need than preemptively attacking Iraq without provocation or truthful cause, why is the "moral" focus on the former and not the latter?
The answer, of course, is that what passes for Christianity these days is in open cahoots with the neo-con New Herods. Together they stand right and wrong completely on head, to the exploitative benefit of rapacious, monopolized capitalism. And to the pained detriment of public welfare and the common good.
Political and religious smoke screening is the generated fog behind which it can all be gotten away with.
While watching NBC Nightly News a few days ago, I witnessed clear verification that the "liberal media" conservatives rant and rave over are completely, sadly nonexistent.
After hyping Iraq's parliamentary election so effusively, and for such an extended time, that the script could well have been penned in the White House, a story of profound significance sped past.
In, I swear, less than 15 seconds.
A coalition of true Christians was in Washington to protest Republican legislation that would cut food stamps, medical assistance, student loans and other programs vital to low-income Americans. (The wretched measure ultimately passed, with Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote.)
Here was a news item that ought to have been a major feature. It had all the Christmas connectedness of a political Scrooge shafting exactly those about whom Jesus said: "As you do unto the least of these, so too you do unto me."
But it came and went in a blink of an eye, little more than a segue for the next commercial.
If that's liberalism, we're all in deep trouble. As far as that goes, why don't allegedly liberal newspapers have "labor" rather than financial sections?
After all, workers outnumber business owners and assorted investors by a lopsided margin. Besides, they're the backbone of our country, while the latter are increasingly proving to be its sleazy underbelly.
A final word on Tookie Williams.
Arnold Schwarzenneger's clemency denial indicated that a reprieve probably would have been granted had Mr. Williams confessed and apologized for crimes he always maintained he didn't commit.
I dare say most of us would admit to anything to save our skins.
Tookie left this mortal coil with a degree of strength and integrity that belied the "monster" characterization that especially white reactionaries had tarred him with.
He wouldn't lie to live.
Meanwhile, we have a president who never stops lying, and won't let people live because of the imperialist wars he ruthlessly starts.
What's wrong with this picture?
Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary for various outlets since the Sixties. He can be reached at email@example.com