Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"By his fruits we shall know him." sung to the tune of Lady of Spain

Sen. Lindsey Graham did a despicable thing back on February 6, 2006, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held to discuss "Wartime Executive Power and the NSA’s Surveillance Authority" and it’s taken me this long to gather up the courage to address it.

In a soliloquy delivered to a smirking Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the South Carolina Republican enthused, “The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements. I stand by this President’s ability, inherent to being Commander in Chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don’t think you need a warrant to do that,” Graham added.

The descriptor “fifth column” grew out of a battle for control of Madrid in 1936, when, as four rebel columns were advancing on the city, a group within the city comprised of secret sympathizers and supporters of the rebels was identified as engaging in espionage and sabotage. So, a fifth columnist is someone working covertly or clandestinely within his or her own sovereign national borders in opposition to the stated agenda, which sounds like the C.I.A to me. Fifth columnism, could describe a collective experience, or a shared ideology, but it is unlikely a word like that would ever come up outside a tenured venue, which is good, because I don't think George could get it out.

There can be no such thing as a fifth column movement; it is a self-contradicting term. Movement, in this case, defines the march of expressed public opinion: shoe leather, soap boxes, that sort of thing; column being only a statistical category or grouping. The defining characteristic of a fifth column being an absence of, or manipulation in, its public expression. They are havens for the self-identified non-reality-based, who organize those with secretive and duplicitous natures into links, where by the chains of command they can indulge in conspiratorial intrigue that leads to essentially, sabotage, or self-sabotage, depending on your point of view. It is a silly game, but everybody puts up with it as reality.

So a fifth columnist more accurately describes America’s covert intelligence communities, who have either failed miserably at pursuing our Constitutional agenda, or perhaps succeeded at one of their own. Whatever generated the harm of 9-11, followed by the pointless, debilitating, and amoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it cannot be extracted out from the utter failure of these officials to perform their oath-sworn, Constitutionally mandated responsibilities, and since accountability is impossible in a clandestine context, it leaves America dangerously vulnerable to threats from within. We cannot unring this bell.

Although not named by Sen. Graham, the American citizens he meant, in using remarks like “pursue” and “neutralize,” are doubtlessly those whose voices are raised in opposition to President Bush and his policies, voices which offer no support for militant fundamentalist terrorists of any religious stripe. This public expression of dissent has coalesced almost exclusively on the internet’s blogosphere. Mainstream media has begun only recently to report on the phenomena of this dissent, paying little attention yet to its content. Is this the split between "the elites" and "the masses?"

The Bush administration will go down in history not for what it knew, but for what it couldn’t imagine. Like, “No one ever thought they would fly airplanes into buildings,” or “No one anticipated the levees bursting.”
To oppose secret police, secret rendition, secret prisons, secret wiretaps, secret torture, and secret assassination does not aid an enemy like Al Qa’ida, or the Taliban—-the Moslem extremists and jihadists known collectively as “the terrorists.” When I oppose secret things, I think of those "terrorists” only in passing and always in sorrow, but rarely in sympathy.

I hope to redirect the resolve of President Bush. Many Americans have identified a problem within our nation’s command structure, a flaw that starts at the top and trickles down. For instance,

What penitential, pedagogical, or public relations value does the dissemination by our government of these photographs serve, to the coalition of the willing?

Or is it meant to serve the hounds of hell? These images frighten me, as they were meant to, and I identify the source as stemming from an obvious attempt by the present administration to intimidate me into silence and inaction. I am being terrorized by a United States government that has radically altered. To express my patriotism and loyalty to the ideals in our Constitution, I oppose President Bush and his policies in every non-violent kick-ass way possible. If he doesn’t like it, tough shit. This is my expression of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America!

The idealized patriotism and secure pride in my country that I felt as a youth was instilled early in an Iowa grade school, then abutted by corn fields. My American identity as a grown-up, is personified by Norman Rockwell’s painting Freedom of Speech,
Rockwell created the series, "Freedom of Speech," "Freedom from Want," "Freedom of Worship" and "Freedom from Fear," after hearing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1943 radio speech addressing these four fundamental freedoms of all Americans. The power of these paintings galvanized a nation to action back then, and the message still resonates in this altered time. Maybe it can work again. God, as I understand Him, prompted Roosevelt’s words, gave him his tone of voice, nuanced the effect, which all combined together to inspire in Rockwell the spirit to create painted images that expressed His will, that the idea of a glorious nation was good, and the result galvanized us to overcome evil and malicious obstacles.
When God speaks to you President Bush, does it sound like this?
Is this what you hear? Are you clear about this Mr. Bush?

Or did He tell you to create this?

Your insistence on secrecy has been obscene. Now it is understandable
Are you Satan President Bush? Who are Falwell, Robertson, Bauer and the rest? Why didn’t they say something Are they devils too?

Nothing else matters now, not earning a living or vacuuming my floors, two things you know nothing about, Mr. Bush.

God sends me messages too. He uses good spelling.

Good Bye, Mr. Bush!

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