Thursday, September 17, 2009


During the George W. Bush years many “real” things happened.. For instance, the USA really did get attacked on 9/11/2001, by terrorists. George Bush sat reading “My Pet Goat” in Florida, at the Emma T. Booker Elementary School for five minutes after he had been told the second tower in New York had been attacked. Really, there is even film of it. Bush hastily enacted the Patriot Act after the 9/11 attacks. This act allows the government to do warrantless searches (Section 213), it really allows warrantless wiretapping (Section 206). It allows the subpoenaing of personal records without probable cause or judicial oversight (Section 505), and Section 412 gives the attorney general authority to order a brief detention of aliens without any prior showing or court ruling that the person is dangerous. Really. George Bush initiated two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Iraq war really was based on lies, the Afghan war, a supposed hunting down of Bin Laden and eradication of the Taliban has really been a dismal failure. Over 4000 American military personnel, along with countless thousands of Iraqis and Afghans have died in these wars. They are really dead, and every day more people are really killed. Bush really opened detention facilities where “enemy combatants” could be held, indefinitely, without charges. With the help of the Attorney General, at the request of the CIA, he and Dick Cheney really did authorize and then allow the use of (as defined in the Geneva Conventions) torture such as water boarding, sealing people in boxes with stinging insects, and dousing them with ice cold water.

In 2008, just before leaving the presidency, George Bush really did request that Congress provide money to AIG, and several failing financial institutions and Congress (which included Barack Obama) really did grant his request, setting aside almost a trillion dollars to be doled out to these failing giants. George Bush started the “bailout” on his watch, giving away almost a half billion dollars to failing banks and Wall Street firms. Really.

Despite of all of these real things done and said in the prior eight years, for the first eight and a half months of the Obama presidency it seems we have entered into Superman’s bizzarro world, some version of an alternative reality. A world where, if you listen to those on the right, the government is itching to turn America into some sort of Socialist/Fascist hybrid, a world where the President is a secret Muslim, a world where the government is poised to unleash death panels, hell bent on killing the infirm and elderly. A world where the man who inherited the biggest deficit in history, two wars, and an economy on the brink of collapse, with a constitution stripped by the previous administration to it’s bare bones, is actually the man responsible for it. Reality or reason has no place, it would seem, when it comes to discussing Obama, only raw emotion and pent up rage, not just over the loss of an election, in my opinion, but the winning of the presidential election by a black man. That is sad to say in the very least because it precludes any genuine discussion based on facts, of issues such as health care for those who do not have it, turning the economy around, or any other change for the better in the real world, that my lovely wife, my children, my friends, my fellow countrymen, and I live in. Ironically, it also makes it nearly impossible for any genuine criticism of the Obama administration, because how do you separate reality from the bull shit based on out and out lies, wild unsubstantiated conjecture or disingenuous interpretations sold as “fact”, and then propagated by an irresponsible press and the ignorant racists who want to believe them?

There is of course, a difference between thoughtfully supporting the president and unconditionally supporting him like you would a sports team, or a pop star. “Fans” leave reason at the door, and blindly support the object of their fanaticism. The fans who supported George Bush through one disaster after another during his eight year reign of incompetence are no different that the “fans” of Barack Obama who blindly support anything he does. Personally, I do not agree with Obama’s decision to forgo prosecution of those whose committed acts of torture, including those who authorized it. I do not agree with his supporting, with my tax money, companies who have mismanaged themselves into near bankruptcy. I do not agree with his continuing compromise with an opposition party that does not control any branch of the government, but seems to continue to call the shots when it comes to policy. I don’t agree with allowing Van Jones, who could have done immense amount of good for the country, to resign from his green jobs creation position appointed by Obama, after pressure from ass-clown and seditionist Glenn Beck. I don’t agree with including the health care providers in any discussion of health care reform. That is sort of like getting the foxes to negotiate with the chickens on diet reform. I think we should be pursuing a single payer health care system; or in simple terms, Medicare for all. I don't think we should continue to pour troops into an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. These points of contention though, unlike death panels, Muslim conspiracies, and Obama’s alleged desire for a ridiculously dichotomous, socialist/fascist America are based in reality, they were not the product of some primeval, visceral rage against someone based on their party affiliation, or skin color.

Reality seems to be an unpopular basis for debate these days. It would be refreshings, and a whole lot less mind numbing if the debate on health care specifically, and the new administration’s policy in general could be discussed rationally and thoughtfully, minus the fan’s blind admiration, and the people who seem to hate Obama for reasons other than his policies. Really.

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