If you didn't watch the Daily Show tonight you missed the interview with Calvin Trilling. This is no big deal except for one thing he brought up that I have thought a lot about. Remember the shoe bomber? The English guy who got on the plane with a bomb in his shoe, sort of hanging out obviously, that he tried to light with a match? This always struck me as absurd. I am pleased to learn that it struck Trilling the same way. He observed that whoever sent the shoe bomber must have had a droll sense of humor, and wondered if there was some way he could get everyone to take off their shoes. He succeeded. Does it not strike you as utterly absurd that millions of people, including little old ladies, have had to remove their shoes everytime the fly for the past few years? One sort of nutty guy with a shoe bomb (a most unlikely attempt in the first place) has resulted in millions and millions of other people having to remove their shoes. If you don't regard this as absurd - I do.
Anyway, this has little to do with the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party. Consider that Republicans have been in charge of the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and, in fact, also the Supreme Court, for the past five years. Think of all they might have done for the nation and its citizens with all that power and control. We could have had universal health care. We could have had decent wages. We could have had a sensible energy policy. We could have improved our terribly neglected infrastructure. We might even have done something to win the "war on terror" (instead of making it worse). Better yet, we could have done something about global warming (instead of just denying the problem). We could have even positioned our country as the lone superpower with the blessing of other countries, instead of alienating virtually the entire world.
What did the Republicans do with all that power and influence? They passed tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy. They made our wonderful country into a world pariah, hated by everyone. They unleashed an illegal,immoral, unconstitutional, and unnecessary "war" against a small country that was no threat to us, violating international law and any sense of morality. They instigated a policy of torture, killing civilians, lying to the Red Cross, and lying about everything else they have done. They have plunged us into probably endless debt, endless "war," and endless misery. They are responsible for the deaths of at least 2500 of our finest young people, to say nothing of the thousands upon thousands of Iraqis, including children. Even though this is perfectly obvious to most of us, and is certainly obvious to the rest of the world, the Republican party has consistently, mindlessly, supported the Bush/Cheney administration. They have consistently put party ahead of country. They have consistently neglected the public interest in favor of corporate interests. They have done nothing to improve the welfare of the American public - nothing. And now, even though a majority of the public wants out of Iraq, Republicans have just voted to support and continue this unbearably horrible "war," insisting that anyone who opposes it is cowardly and just wants to "cut and run." I submit that this is immorality run wild. These Republicans are insane with power and greed and totally uninterested in the welfare of the nation and its citizens. They are, in short, morally bankrupt.
In my relatively long lifetime there has never been anything like this. I didn't like Nixon or Reagan but I didn't live in fear, fear of losing my civil liberties, fear of nuclear war, fear of traveling outside the United States, fear of losing whatever security I have, fear of a government of secrecy and deceit, fear of being led by a host of bumbling, incompetent, lying, fascists intent of achieving absolute power at any cost. These are, indeed, nightmare years.