Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The illusion of normality

Ernest Partridge has written an article called The Illusion of Normality that really sums up our current national predicament. Here's how it gets started:

Never in the 229 years of United States history has this government "of, by and for the people" been in greater peril. Not during the Civil War, not during the great depression, and not during the Second World War or the Cold War which followed.

Until today, gross incompetence, abuse of power, corruption, corporatocracy, and federal insolvency could be checked and reversed by balanced and separated governmental powers, and at the ballot box by a citizenry informed and provoked by an alert and independent media. Now all branches of government and the mainstream media are dominated by the wealthy elites in control of a single political party.

Can you believe this? If not, you are in the company of a majority of Americans who might respond to the above jeremiad with "Oh c'mon now, it can't be as bad as all that! We've always had incompetence, corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, and stolen elections are as old as the republic. It's no different now."

So long as that majority of Americans believes this, the rule of the Busheviks and its successor oligarch regimes will be secure. Thus Bush, Inc. and its obedient mainstream media are desperately endeavoring to nourish and sustain this "illusion of normality."

The illusion has many facets.

Partridge then lists what those facets are and discusses each one: the belief that elections are fair, the "myth" of the liberal mainstream press, the belief that our use of torture is just about "a few bad apples", the belief that we're upholding the Constitution, and the belief that the administration uses good science. All of these are illusions.

Then he says the following:

And the list continues: record federal deficits, a widening income gap between the very rich and the rest of us, corruption - personal enrichment at public expense, corporate "purchasing" of legislation and "regulatory relief" through campaign contributions. Massive. Unconstrained. Unprecedented. Unbelievable. And so most of the public is unwilling and unable to believe it.Add to this the enormous stake that the Administration, the Republican Party, and their corporate patrons have in perpetuating this "illusion of normality." Billions of dollars of public funds have been snatched from the federal treasury and billions more from the investments, retirement funds, health benefits and social services of private individuals.

Add to that the deterioration of educational facilities and public infrastructure. Some of this has been done through the cover of "legitimate" congressional legislation, and some of it through outright criminal activity. Remnants of our criminal justice system are pushing back. Today, David Safavian, Jack Abramoff and even Tom DeLay are under indictment. Soon Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury will hand down their indictments which, it is likely, will reach into the White House. Hopefully, that will be just the beginning.
If we are to restore our democracy, truth must rise again soon and here.

But how?

Foremost among the objectives of the progressive resistance must be to disabuse the public at large of its "illusion of normality." We must attack the widespread but understandable unwillingness of that public to face up to the enormity of the crimes that have been perpetrated upon the body politic.

I agree. Now who will provide the leadership to do this? That is the question.

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