Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
America wants to be the Good Guy. I get that. Everybody wants to be the Good Guy, because Americans are raised, for the most part, with the mythology that the Good Guy Always Wins, and perhaps when we’re older we discover that even when the Good Guy Doesn’t Always Win, at least he Lost For A Good Cause.
We want to save children and puppies. We want to back away from the cowering, beaten villain and say things like “If I killed you, then I’d be no better than you are.” We want to be polished to a glossy sheen and remembered fondly as we ride off into the sunset, to find more damsels in distress that we would never dare take advantage of no matter how much they want our bod.
This is why so many of us respond so archly to criticism of American government policy and American motives in other countries. It makes no sense that we can be accused of villainy. We’re the Good Guys. Remember how our country was founded by Good Guys fighting that evil, greedy King George III? The Iraqi insurgents that have killed so many of our soldiers are doing so for no fathomable reason except mindless hatred. Those innocent civilians we may have killed? Trust us, there was a good reason for that. And by the way, Iraq, it was your fault for not stabilizing like we thought you would.
Our country does not practice torture. No, like so many of the hardest jobs, we outsource that shit.
I’m not sure I can add anything but my own indignation to the pile when I read stories about the rendition practice. And lately, I’m not often spurred to write about anything this administration and this crop of Republicans has decided is within its capabilities. They have gone beyond satire, and parody, to a realm of incredibility.
I’m mentioning this story not for the fact that we apologized to an innocent Canadian–thereby admitting that we did in fact commit a grave injustice to an innocent Canadian–but because of the following statement from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who has stated that he will fight tooth-and-nail to keep the rendition practice going:
“Yes, we should be ashamed” of what happened in the case, Rohrabacher said. “That is no excuse to end a program which has protected the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of American lives.”
And that kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Shame isn’t enough, anymore. Nothing is enough, anymore. We’re a population in panicked survival mode and nothing is beyond the pale. If somebody tells us that the only way for us to stay safe is to shoot a puppy in the head every hour for the next two years, I can guarantee you that plenty of people would make a run on their local breeder with a box full of shells.
It’s far too optimistic to assume that anything will get better after George the Thickheaded exits office in 2009. The people have been well and thoroughly worked over, and no matter who is in power for the next five to ten years, we will still be stuck with this siege mentality snaking its way through our public discourse, asking over and over again why a perfectly horrific idea doesn’t make sense to more Americans.
And the obvious answers–that your idea is unconscionably evil–will be met with the same glasy-eyed response that it can’t possibly be evil. We’re the Good Guys.