Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Operation "Adopt an Ostrich"
People. Our national (and world) crisis has reached the point -- amid an all-out assault upon western traditions of law, openness and accountability -- that I believe it is time to re-institute the draft. I mean a special kind of draft, insisting that all decent modern citizens simply have to take on duties on the nation’s desperate POLITICAL FRONT.
Seriously, all of us know hopeless “ostrich conservatives” - who cling desperately to the notion that Bush & Co are regrettable... but “certainly no worse than Clinton was.”
This is where the battle must be fought. It is time to grab these people into head-locks and not let go until they admit that, this time, it is their side that has gone completely mad.
I want to announce a new program. Adopt an ostrich will be a nationwide endeavor under which every single moderate American, or reasonable liberal, will latch onto ONE decent person whom they know to be one of these head-in-the-sand conservatives. People who used to stand by Barry Goldwater or Bob Dole or Billy Graham... ALL of whom thought very highly of Bill Clinton, by the way! All three of whom utterly despised the dark directions that they saw modern “neo” conservatism heading.
Yes, the administration of George W. Bush has plummeted to deep levels of unpopularity. They lost the recent Congressional elections, a great first step toward reclaiming the United States and our Great Experiment. But clearly, it is not enough.
There must be a tipping point, somwehere up ahead, where the rising national revulsion sweeps up millions of Goldwater-Dole-Graham-Reagan conservatives, too. Where denial can no longer be supported and decent people cry out Enough! A point when loyal-but-self-deluding men and women in the civil service and CIA and FBI and US Officer Corps shake themselves out of their stunned torpor, realize that genuine treason is afoot, and decide that it is their job to stand up, to take some initiative and help us all to deal with the most poisonous threat to our civilization since communism.
This tipping point, I have come to realize, will only happen after hard work at the grass roots. One reluctant, bitterly delusional republican at a time. Because there is little more than can be achieved simply by hoping that our fellow citizens will heed all the bad news. The one-third that is left has their ears covered. Their eyes are closed while they shake their heads going “Nah! Nah! Nah!”
(Recent science shows that doing this is physically chemically addictive. And yes, liberals do it too.)
No, if we are to reach the tipping point, it will have to be down, way down, at the level of individual citizenship. Each of us can -- and must -- hammer at just one or two ostriches, until they wake up from hysterical denial. And when enough of them do -- when advertising revenues on Fox News start shriveling and GOP reps in suburban America start screaming in pain -- we may start to see the REAL uprising against monsters. A quiet revolution in which heroes in the civil service and intelligence agencies and law enforcement etc stymie what is left of this administration of horrors. Simply by doing their jobs.
At least enough so that we can hope to REACH the next set of elections with a nation still largely intact.
No, I am not talking about converting truly rabid neocons, or truly corrupt kleptocrats, or the maniacal ultra-fanatics who are cramming Intelligent Design down our throats. They are a much smaller minority than the one-third who still officially back the president. Moreover, we do not need them, or their nasty "culture war".
We do need your decent neighbor or uncle, who would take you in, if your house burned down. Whose conservatism is not so awful that he or she would turn back the clock on civil or womens’ rights. Indeed, whose views include a few that may be worth listening to... if we can just take care of more important business, first. (Go ahead and promise that you will listen. A bit. Later. If he or she will first listen to his nation’s call.)
Do it. Pick an ostrich andgrab his or her lapel. Do not let go. Make lists and keep citing one travesty after another, while asking: “What would you have said if Bill Clinton did this?”
And “would you have LET Clinton send our entire army, marines and reserves to be ground down in a hostile foreign land, on the excuse of pure lies, in a grunt land war of attrition without any goal, run by meddling politicians who never saw a day of combat, all in a futile attempt at so-called nation-building?”
They will sputter and fume. They will try to claim that “Whitewater” -- involving $80,000 -- represented corruption equal to Halliburton stealing tens of billions from our boys and girls in Iraq. They will claim that Clinton’s fib about Monica was worse than outright lies about WMDs or terrorism or promises to “listen to our generals.” Or that an administration dedicated to decreasing secrecy can even be compared to one that has multiplied darkness and unaccountability one hundredfold. Or that political activity by today’s eviscerated labor unions can be compared to outright control of our government by a new feudal, kleptocratic caste.
They will writhe and squirm and try all of this -- and dozens of other contrived excuses and polemical tricks. Denial is powerful and you must gird yourself to be utterly relentless. Even if you live in a “blue” state, you will still be a soldier for civilization if you do this.
When people switch from Fox News to MSNBC, the masters will notice. Their solidarity will start to crumble. More henchmen will blow whistles. Then some of them will start to break.
It may be wishful thinking. But it seems our best hope. Moreover, it depends on the one bet we have always made, since the American Revolution. A wager on the People.
SEE: The Ostrich Papers: How it will take all decent Americans to restore decency to America