Everybody Knows

 

What brings us together as Americans is far stronger than
what divides us. The right-left, conservative-liberal narrative clung to by
mainstream and social media moves society in the wrong direction.
It’s time—perhaps way past time—to understand
that America’s naked, with its pants around its ankles politically and socially.
Here’s a bucket, folks. Everybody bail.
The lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows come to mind.
Everybody
knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
 
Everybody
knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows
 
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded and that’s never been
more true than today. It’s not
right-wing left-wing, liberal against conservative. Both our national political
parties co-conspired in loading those dice over the past forty years.
It began with Ronald Reagan, the great communicator. Running on “Let’s make America great again,”
his first move was to destroy the National
Air Traffic Controllers Association
union, the opening gun in a successful
attack on unionism in general and the decline of the middle class.
Rumsfeld and Cheney cut their
political teeth in a Reagan administration so marked by scandals that over 138 officials
were indicted or convicted, the largest number for any U.S. president. CIA
abuses were legend and everybody knows,
if only they care to look.
Then came George Bush the elder, a quite remarkable man with
a sterling military career. He saw compromise as a necessary element of public
life, crossed the aisle to pass important legislation, sometimes breaking with
the base of his own party to accomplish what he thought was right.
We honored those principles by limiting him to one term,
because he dared to raise taxes.
Before we get to Bill Clinton, just for the fun of it, just for the pure
theater involved
, let me take a moment to chat about a private individual who was never elected to any office, yet
drove a stake through the heart of American governance. It’s an extraordinary
story and everybody may not know this
one.
Grover Norquist, a private man, a
zealot, publicly admitted his hope to shrink government to a size where he
could drown it in the bathtub. Norquist
extorted congressional Republicans
into signing his Taxpayer Protection
Pledge
.
Now when I say extorted, I mean it
in the literal sense of the word—to threaten
and intimidate an elected member of congress
. How the hell could some idiot
off the street do this? Should you not sign (and 95% have since 1990), he had (and has) access to unlimited right-wing
money (read that Koch Brothers and their ilk) to defeat you in the next election.
If that threat was done with a gun,
the man would be in prison for life. But it’s laughably legal. Everybody knows
you can’t possibly run a nation on that basis. Even Republicans know it, but
they’ve been trapped like animals for nigh on to thirty years.
Onward and upward (?) to Bill Clinton.
Clinton captured the national
imagination in a presidential primary debate when he walked to the edge of the
stage, dropped to one knee to reach out to a welfare mother and told her “I feel your pain.” Well, that was a
crock of shit, because as president he cut the welfare state to ribbons, but it
worked.
If there is a theme to this somewhat
lengthy exposé, it’s that
rhetoric works, but it’s all song and
dance. When the circus barker rolls out his pitch, the rich get rich and the
poor get entertained until they go home and search their pockets.

George W. Bush, remember him? The mission accomplished guy and president everyone wanted to have a beer with.

Bush was made president by a
Supreme Court decision of which they were so ashamed that they failed to put it
in writing and declared that it formed no precedent. A no-precedent President,
the Alfred E. Neuman of the Oval Office.
He got us into the longest wars
ever fought by Americans, destroyed most of the Middle East and, along the way,
embarrassed his own father by his actions and served two full terms.
Internationally accused of war crimes for creating Guantanamo and Abu Graib, he
ushered in the era of torture as a method of interrogation. He never saw a tax
cut or social welfare dilution he didn’t approve.
But joke around or have a beer with
him and it was fun.
Barack Obama promised change
we could believe in
and I’m sure he meant it at the time, but the times
overwhelmed him.
Taking office during a national
disaster not of his own doing, he was unprepared to do what needed to be done.
The advice of his economic advisors (all of them with Wall Street backgrounds)
was dead wrong, but the national interest was at stake and he was too new to
the job.
The too big to fail banks should have been taken over by the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC). There is precedent for this and no banks are too
large to be taken over. The process would have kicked out the banking
fraudsters who got us into this criminal mess and replaced them with
experienced bureaucrats. It could have and should have been done.
But instead, Obama chose to bail
out the fraud and allow the fraudsters-in-charge to have another go at the
crap-table banking had become. As a result, millions lost their homes and jobs,
becoming prisoners of debt and interest charges while the banks (along with
Wall Street) soared to new record earnings.
If you see this commentary as a liberal diatribe, you are
wrong. More on that later, but we are not yet done with presidential
administrations.

Donald Trump’s election was a shock,
but for me it was no great surprise.

The powder had been building there for
forty years and needed very little spark to explode. The one positive I see out
of his election is that he touched off that powder-keg and we now have a
national emergency, rather than an armed insurrection (although Trump has
threatened just that). His historic overturn of the national conversation came
just in time.
Sitting in the presidential chair
we have an ego without control, a fraudster, liar, practical ignoramus and
possibly the most dangerous man ever to preside. He sets foreign policy on
Twitter, with no sense of consequence and a thought-process entirely conceived
from right-wing news. He holds no daily briefings from the intelligence
community, in fact he dismisses them as well as the military as being inferior
to his own ‘great intelligence.’
Donald Trump degrades the office he holds and must be
removed for the sake of the republic and its traditional separations of power.
There is a process for this, but no
political will to enforce it. Impeachment, so easily (and trivially in the
Clinton matter) the fate of two modern presidents remains out of sight. Neither
even came within a country mile of the high
crimes and misdemeanors
of our sitting president.
Yet Mitch McConnell, the smirking
Majority Leader of the Senate has publicly announced he will not bring an
impeachment article to the floor of the Senate. For blatantly political reasons,
this president can do no wrong in the eyes of his party, no matter the disdain
of the press, the nation as a whole and a quite panicked international
community.
Thus, the House of Representatives
hesitates because an election is coming up and Trump will hail no conviction as proof of his integrity
and honor. We are shackled to the wall by the most dangerously incompetent
president in American history.
Beyond that, my worry is that we have come to normalize
Trump’s behavior.
Well past Trump’s 10,000 confirmed lies, lying is accepted
these days in an office that impeached both Nixon and Clinton for just that
reason. Late Night hosts joke about it. The press accepts it as a news event.
Everybody knows it is not
acceptable.
I will be accused of left-wing partisanship for having
written this article and have no excuse other than having written in the much
softer terms of coming together as a
nation to heal our social wounds
.
It simply did not work in that
context. The soft, beating around the bush context in which it was written rang
false and we are drowning in pretending otherwise.
I’ve personally lived in part or all of nine decades. We
assassinated John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy for their
truths.
Lies fly around the world at light-speed, while truth slogs along
behind, but its light never dies.
Everybody knows.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *