Behind the Curtain

Pay No Attention to the Politician Behind the Curtain

There is a shadow play going on behind the shroud, and like the characters in an old cartoon, the shaded shapes creep in apparent self awareness, while we cheer and jeer the performances of those who cast them. The hidden machinations of the players bear little resemblance to what they choose to show us.

It works something like this. In any political goings-on, there are three kinds of curtains that drape the stage where our politicians play: opaque, translucent and transparent. Then there’s the performance upstage, in front – the one they play out to dazzle, distract or otherwise numb us into obeisance. Occasionally, the sharp observer can discern a movement not quite right in the narrow, transparent panels, that belies the otherwise unrevealing obfuscators.

For example, let’s say Bush is standing in front of a crowd of foreign war veterans, comparing the chaos under which Saigon fell with the potentially worsening dissolution of order when we leave Baghdad, and saying that it would have been different had we stayed in Vietnam and “finished the job.”

He wants us to see brave men and women fighting to victory, but instead in the transparent panel directly behind him we easily see a drunken, AWOL flier from the Texas Air National Guard, circa 1970. He wants us to see the genocide of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, but behind the wider translucent panel we can discern the shadowy images of bullets and bombs felling American soldier after American soldier, the piling bodies and flag draped coffins and weeping Gold Star mothers. He wants us to see an America responsible for squashing terrorism like a foot crushes a cockroach, yet we know that somewhere behind the very wide, opaque curtain America is enabling the torture and rendition of perceived enemies while it supports the governments of those who harbor our real enemies.

Meanwhile every shout is greeted with applause, every wag of the finger greeted with cheers.

Status Quo or Quid Pro Quo

Some of those cheers are our own, fellow lefties. Karl Rove leaving? Sure, shout for joy. Hooray! But now that he is no longer in government (officially anyway), will there be as hard an effort to expose his malfeasance? He is not leaving because any threat of exposure that we know of, so it looks like this is his own decision, status quo for the waning months of a lame duck administration. But what don’t we know? Is it possible that this is part of a deal? The weak Congress seems unwilling to pursue any sort of retribution against an administration that continues to abuse its power. This could be more quid pro quo than status quo.

I really don’t know. I’m just saying that things are not always what they seem, especially in First World politics, so we have to be willing to look past what is presented as truth and find the real truth. We can’t rely on just the Washington Post or the New York Times. We have to make our congress-people be accountable to holding the Executive accountable. That, sadly, is the one thing they seem unwilling to do.

So for those of you who give money specifically to the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), I’m asking you to stop. They are not working for us. They want to continue to do business as usual. I’m asking that you give money directly to the campaign coffers of the legislators who actually seem to stand against the status quo.

Send money to Russ Feingold’s re-election campaign, or any of the 28 other senators or 183 members of the House who stuck to their convictions and voted against the Wiretapping bill that was passed just before the August recess. Why did the Democratic led Congress end up passing this bill? Well, CNET has an interesting and uncomplicated answer: it was political.

See, the Democrats want to appear strong in the “War on Terror.” But just behind them you can see them through the transparent curtain shaking in political fear. Behind the translucent curtain, their shadows are stomping on the Bill of Rights while they hold out their hands to the “military industrial complex,” who hide just out of sight, behind the opaque curtain.


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