YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Why I’m so Damned Mad
So I’ve spent the last day trying to figure it out – just what about this Libby thing makes me SO ANGRY? It’s not like our president hasn’t done one illegal, disastrous, and idiotic thing after another. Why did this news nearly make me swerve off the road when driving home yesterday? Why couldn't I sleep last night or concentrate at work today?
I think I’ve figured it out.
At first, I thought it might be the sheer hypocrisy and the galling double standard (hello, “soft on crime much??”) And, there is that in spades. Here are a few of the things I was yelling at the television last night – when I could make noise emanate from my mouth – which was difficult:
Who Hates America Now??
Since before the start of the war, George has been insisting that I “hate America” because of my opinions about his disastrous policies, foreign and domestic. It’s clear now that instead of me, it’s actually George and his Dick who hate America. There’s nothing special about this country except our Constitution and the associated institutions of democracy. These are the things true patriots love – the only things worth loving and fighting and dying for, and he – well – he doesn’t even hate them. He seems too dumb to hate them – he just doesn’t give a flying f***. He doesn’t care about the Constitution, he doesn’t care about the institutions of democracy, and he sure as heck doesn’t care about the citizens. George – you’re the unpatriotic one.
This is nothing – and everything - like Clinton!
The right-wing spinmeisters are struggling with the comparisons to Clinton. Bottom line, you can’t have it both ways. There’s one school of thought trying to get us to believe that Scooter and Bill did the same thing and Scooter got the worse end of the deal: I heard one blowhard trying to say “of course Bush should commute the sentence! Bill Clinton was convicted of perjury and he lost his law license (didn’t spend a day in jail), but Scooter Libby gets 30 months in jail??” as if poor Scooter was the victim of a jury gone wild. OK – that’s insane. Republicans were outraged about Clinton’s perjury and, foaming at the mouth I might add, staged a historic impeachment of a popular sitting president. He hardly got off easy. And – remember – they were REALLY, REALLY mad at him. For perjury. Remember? And then the other approach is that if we Dems thought Clinton shouldn’t be pursued for his crime, yet we’re mad about Scooter skating, then somehow we’re the ones with a double standard. This line of reasoning is even more absurd. Bill Clinton lied about getting a blow job from his intern. Lame, but, that’s between him and his wife. Scooter Libby lied to cover up a treacherous act of retribution, if not a treasonous one. He was part of the White House team that “sold” the war – that spun half-truths and bald-faced lies to convince congress and the public to support a horrible mistake. Thousands of Americans have died from the mistakes of that “team” and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Blood is on their hands. Don’t dare compare it.
The same people that are praising this despicable act are the same ones who are wailing “no amnesty” for undocumented workers. The same pathological, xenophobic right wing who applaud the Scooter “get out of jail card” are the ones who said the fines weren’t enough, the waiting period wasn’t enough; throw the book at them. Absolutely no amnesty.
I am sure it has struck more than one Georgia citizen – the unjust irony of two situations in stark relief. Our own Attorney General, Thurbert Baker, decides that even though everyone everywhere knows Gennarlo’s sentence to be unfair – too harsh – too severe – he cannot intervene because WE MUST FOLLOW THE RULES. Gennarlo waits in jail. A pitiable casualty to our institutions. And yet privileged, moneyed, well-connected Scooter Libby, he gets a walk. Worse, he gets commutation from the man who refused a commutation requested by The Pope to death row inmate and Born Again Christian Carla Fay Tucker; who refused commutation to a severely retarded man on death row in Texas. Apparently if you’re truly repentant, or too damaged to be responsible for your crimes, TOO BAD! But if you’ve been a good soldier for the cause, subjugating good judgment, subjugating the law, subjugating the truth, and in fact subjugating morality to twist the trust and patriotism of the American people, well that’s ok. Poor Gennarlo.
But here’s what really makes me mad.
Beneath it all – once you scream, you SCREAM, fruitlessly, about the irony and the hypocrisy of it all, but then wonder why this is any worse than anything else these madmen have done…here it is.
Speaking for myself, but recognizing my efforts as merely representative of all of you reading my words - I stood with a handful, maybe twenty other people at Dr. King’s grave when the war started. We all 20 of us stood in protest, when Bush and his lies had everyone else beating the war drums. We stood on the other side of the line from the vast majority of our fellow citizens. And then I listened for literally years while politicians and the media fed us all lines that anyone opposing the war hated the troops and hated America. My own family questioned my loyalty to my country, cutting me to the quick. I have marched, oh how I have marched, to protest the policies of this administration. We hear that now we torture prisoners – the pictures from Abu Ghraib are sickening and no one pays. We hear that we tap Americans’ phones without due process and no one pays. We see with our own eyes that we haplessly and carelessly abandon our own brothers and sisters literally to die in New Orleans. And we abandon our veterans to miserable conditions as they come, wounded and maimed, back from Afghanistan and Iraq. No ones pays. We fire federal prosecutors on a whim and no one pays. We stack the courts – buy the refs – thereby ensuring that NO ONE PAYS.
What are we to do? I have canvassed, OH how I have canvassed – all over North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, doing the only things I know how to change the representation we have. I took vacation from work over and over to speak, to lobby, to write, to call, to protest. And the outrage continues. I have written checks. I have blogged. I have cried, oh how I have cried. I have put my flag out on every holiday, as I will do today, and have done my very very very best to follow in the footsteps of our best patriots by raising my voice in dissent.
For all this debt. For all this crime. For all this murder. We had our one small piece of flesh. As pathetic as it was, Libby’s short and comfortable, but impending, imprisonment was a small glimmer of hope that this travesty of an administration would yet be held to account. On the scale of justice, put all our pain, all our rage, all these innumerable attacks on everything we value as Americans – that’s on one side, and humble Lewis "Scooter" Libby on the other. He was a paltry payment, but he was all we had.
And with barely a “fuck you very much” George ripped it away.