Political discourse – of course!

Archive for May, 2009

Dick Cheney is torturing us.

steve_kleur3 -May 14, 2009

“You really do have to wonder sometimes…”

Let’s talk torture.
Why not? It’s what the majority of political bloggers are buzzing about. Today alone The Huffington Post has about six blogs on the subject. And why are we talking torture 24/7 these days? Because Dick Cheney won’t stop talking about it, that’s why.

Now, the fact that Dick Cheney won’t go quietly into the night should surprise no one. He is scared that he is going to be prosecuted in his own country for authorizing torture so he doesn’t care how he obfuscates the truth or by what twisted logic he frames the debate on the subject – as long as he turns it from the blindingly obvious fact that torture is immoral, ineffectual and, (Mr. Cheney’s main concern), illegal in America. Everyone knows it and there is no defending it. That is why he must redefine the debate.

But that isn’t what bothers me. The Dick Cheneys of this world are all too plentiful and, to a man, boring cardboard cutouts of each other. No, what bothers me is the willingness on the part of the networks in giving him a soapbox to shout from. No, I’m not advocating censorship here. There is always Fox news and their ilk if he wants to make some talk show rounds. Besides, no one can really argue that Fox News even remotely passes for journalism anyway. But serious networks, (or networks that want to be taken seriously), ought to at least try to uphold some semblance of journalistic standards – standards that should include some discernment of the part of the editorial board.  And I humbly submit that inviting Mr. Cheney on their respective programs does nothing to inform or enlighten the public that they profess to serve.

Mr. Cheney ought to be shut out of this discussion. He has nothing constructive to offer and certainly his credibility has, by now, been stretched past it limits. He does not even have the decency to honor the unspoken rule that members of former administrations don’t throw tomatoes from the gallery at members of current administrations. Deriding the current President, (who has done nothing deserving of scorn except having the misfortune of inheriting Mr. Cheney’s mess), shows a complete lack of class on the part of the former Vice President.

But then, that shouldn’t surprise anyone either.


Have We Changed?

steve_kleur3 May 10th, 2009

It’s odd.

I’ve noticed something over the past few weeks. Perhaps you have too. There seems to be a sea change in the way in which our media covers politics. I’m not talking about format but rather a change in attitude on the part of reporters. News outlets don’t seem to be taking Republican talking points as soothe anymore. In fact, not only are they taking the propaganda with a grain of salt, they seem to be actively investigating and sometimes refuting what is being offered for public consumption by the spin doctors. This is a marked change from the last eight years where it seemed that the major news networks were nothing more than free soapboxes for the administration.

And it isn’t all a one way street for the Democrats either. They too are being called on questionable policy – sometimes by their most staunch supporters. Witness how the Huffington Post is going after the Obama administration for their bank bail out policies. I hesitate to get too optimistic too early in the game but it’s almost as if journalists have suddenly remembered who they are – objective reporters of the events of the day instead of merely shills for the government.

So, what has changed? Well, again, I don’t want to jump the gun here but maybe, just maybe, we have?

Historically, we Americans,  (and Canadians for that matter), are too soon to forget the egregious excesses and abuses of our government. We want to forget about things that make us uncomfortable with our self image of being the good guys on the world stage. But we really have been put through the ringer of late, haven’t we? We have endured and been complicit in;  phony wars, spying on our own people in outright contradiction of our own Constitution, and, most heinous of all, torture. Maybe our collective conscious can’t handle the guilt anymore? Maybe that’s why we are being so vigilant with our elected officials these days.

And how do we feel? Don’t we feel a sense of relief? Aren’t we more optimistic these days? It’s kind of like when you’re driving around lost for hours and then find the right road. You’re not at your destination yet but you know, finally, that you are eventually going to get there.

So, maybe we have changed.  I for one, would like to think so.