Dispatches

01/19/07 | By | More

If the first week and a half of 2007 is any indicator, we would do well to find our joys close at hand, because the big picture, if you want to call it that, is a big bad picture.
Like many people I know, I was overjoyed at the results of the November elections and the departure of Donald Rumsfeld from the Pentagon. But it’s growing clearer every day that salvation isn’t going to be that easy. Not that I expected the Democrats to instantly come up with a new policy for the War on Terror, but I guess I thought they had at least been thinking about it. They had made noises about Afghanistan being the real battleground where the war should be fought, and that we needed to refocus our attentions there: after all, that is where bin Laden and his lieutenants are lurking, and as Afghanistan goes so goes Pakistan, with its terrorist-infested military and arsenal of nuclear weapons.
They could have asked: Why are we threatening to wage war on Iran because they may be trying to develop a nuclear device, while Pakistan has at least fifty weaponized nukes which a coup would deliver piecemeal to bin Laden and friends?
But now that the elections are over, the Democrats are too busy jockeying for control in preparation for the presidential election two years from now. They were handed a ready made gift in the form of the recent nonpartisan Iraq plan rejected by Bush and company, but they don’t even talk about that. Instead, they seem to be rushing to embrace the most simplistic, emotional position on the issue: simply pull out of Iraq, and all will suddenly be well. With McCain parroting the Bush Administration’s mindless “Stay the course” mantra, they figure they can’t go wrong, at least with the Democratic faithful, by espousing the exact opposite.
So we have two diametrically opposed sides, and nothing even vaguely resembling a winnable strategy for the War on Terror.
Leon Panetta came out with the Democratic stance at its most sickeningly cynical the other day on TV. When asked for an alternative to Bush’s policy, he basically said, “We don’t have to have a solution to the problem; that’s the President’s job. All we have to do is criticize his plan.” Yeah, but Leo, if you guys want to supply the next President, sooner or later you’re going to have to at least hint that your party is going to do better. Listening to Panetta and his fellow party hacks, it’s hard to imagine the Democrats winning anything.
The truth of the matter is, this country is going to rack and ruin, and it’s not just terrorism. The illegal immigration problem is tearing the country apart, and the best the politicians can come up with is a bunch of cynical, unworkable legislation that will make the problem worse. The hurricane victims of New Orleans are still waiting in vain for help. We still have no energy policy for the future. Global warming? Fuhgeddaboutit. The Middle East? I dunno. Hey, let’s investigate baseball players on steroids!
It’s the Age of Americans Idle.
Hillary can’t win, and neither can Obama, no matter how worthy he may be. Saudi Arabia will crown a queen before the U.S. elects a woman president, and maybe a century after that we’ll elect a black one, but don’t count on it.
Of course, McCain can’t win either, no matter how desperately he abandons everything he once believed in. Anyone seen Pigasus, or Pat Paulsen, lately? What if they threw an election, and “Other” won? Or the esteemed and honorable “None of the above”?
When it comes to anything that really counts, America, land of the daring, the cradle of innovators and iconoclasts,  “anyone can become anything,” “home of the free and the brave,” has become the tiredest, scarediest, stuffiest neighborhood on the planet. Take a good look around. Congress is overwhelmingly populated by middle-aged white male attorneys; our Nation’s Capitol is where dreams go to die, or are turned into nightmares; our soldiers have their valor on the battlefield frittered away by corrupt contractors.
Our politicos like to end their bloviations with, “And God bless America!”
“God Save America” is more like it, and let’s hope he acts fast, because history moves on greased wheels in the 21st century.

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