Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Assuming Responsibility

Ten years ago this day, portions of the US government committed ordinance, materiel, and most importantly, people to a military action that lasted, by all accounts, at least a dozen times longer than its inventors envisioned.

This military action was, by most after-the-fact accounts, based not so much on a wealth of credible evidence of clear and present danger to the United States, but rather on a clear and present wish on the part of numerous officials, both publicly-elected and not elected. That wish was the desire to go to war.

Political and military intelligence was misread or ignored. Historical and demographic information about the region in question was not considered or in some cases even known. All in the effort to justify the desire to go to war.

Weapons of mass destruction? No, said the international agency whose purpose it was to recognize such things. Connection between Saddam and the 9/11 attackers? No, since Al Qaeda was a global Islamist organization with a corresponding religious affiliation, and Saddam was firmly against such things as religion (no dictator wants anyone thinking of a high power than himself, eh?). Who lives in Iraq? Sunni? Shia? What’s the difference? Is there a difference? Why should we care? Do we care enough to research that question before we go to war?

In this space some time ago, I noted that President George W. Bush, in his post-presidency memoir “Decision Points”, insisted that he did (and, reportedly, still does) have a “sickening feeling” about the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq – one of several rotating justifications for going to war. I also noted that his sickening feeling probably didn’t compare to the sickening feeling of those Americans who lost family members, or to the sickening feeling of Iraqis who lost family members or whole neighborhoods to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The ultimate results of that Operation, in spite of a few public officials’ continuing insistence that the effort was worthwhile, are these: the physical and political wrecking of one nation and the international shaming of another one.

Evidence has piled up, and continues to emerge, pointing to the whole operation as being fraudulently conceived, poorly (or non-existently) prepared, and (at best) clumsily executed. It has cost the United States, by some estimates, $2.2 trillion dollars – money that could have been sent to far more deserving places in the world, or even within our very States, to do good works. And yet, not one of the elected or appointed officials who should bear responsibility for the resulting foreign-policy catastrophe and humanitarian disaster – both of which will have repercussions far into the future, both for nations and individuals – have been called to account. At least, beyond the occasional feeble attempt at cross-examination by a corporately-sponsored press full of people who can barely claim the title of “journalists”. Such cross-examination surely was not conducted in the run-up to the war, at least by journalists well-funded enough to be visible to the majority of Americans at the time.

(The estimable Charlie Pierce wrote a piece yesterday on his political blog about this facet of the story. It’s short, to the point, punchy, and dead-on.)

 

Not only has none of those elected or appointed officials been prosecuted in any civil or criminal court, domestic or international – but not a single main character in this tragedy has even come close to admitting responsibility.

Never mind the Paul Wolfowitzes, the Richard Perles, the Colin Powells, the Lawrence Wilkersons, the John Boltons, etc., of this story – the supporting players. Most statements about the Iraq War from the four figures in the iconic Crawford, TX ranch photograph – the former Secretary of State (then the National Security Adviser), the former Vice President, the former President, and the former Secretary of Defense – betray no evidence of having learned anything. The President and Vice President in particular have been shown – in interviews included in MSNBC’s recent documentary “Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War” – to say that, knowing what they know now, and given the same set of circumstances, they would not act any differently. And they say such things with an air of utter confidence and unshakable belief. In the documentary, the former President’s attitude edges close to flippant (as has become familiar over the years); the former Vice President’s is much more dogged, serious, even foreboding (as has also been his wont). Remarks from each man come off (to this eye) as callous at best. No genuine admission of mistakes; no hint of atonement; no apologies; no assumption of responsibility for any of it.

Nearly four-and-a-half thousand Americans lost their lives in the Iraq War. Tens of thousands of American servicemen and -women have returned home as damaged goods, physically or psychologically or both. And hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were sacrificed, in the service of the geopolitical aims and (arguably) the psychological needs of a scant few very powerful and in some cases unaccountable people.

These people either have no soul, or they have successfully compartmentalized their consciences to the point where those consciences will never again see the light of day.

Why are these people still asked for their opinions about foreign policy?

Why are these people still treated as honored guests on television chat programs?

Why are these people allowed to make money writing books and making speeches?

Why are these people not in jail?

 

 

P.S. I have included a link to Charlie Pierce’s article where it’s mentioned above, so that you may properly click it and give him the Internet hits he richly deserves. But I think it bears re-printing here. It’s great, and damning, and angry, and a must-read.

PLEASED TO BE SHUTTING THE PIEHOLE NOW

by Charlie Pierce / Esquire.com

The ‘public editor’ of The New York Times tells us today that the paper’s coverage of the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War is likely to be less of a hoot than back in the drum-banging days when Judy Miller was standing atop a great pile of stove-piped bullsh*t while Bill Keller threw roses at her feet.

I asked Dean Baquet, a managing editor, about the low-key approach. He said that while a few stories are planned, editors did not see a need for a major project or special section, as they did with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. ‘The war itself has been dissected to a tremendous degree,’ he told me. ‘You have to have something new or fresh to say.’ He would not provide specifics about the articles that are planned, but said there might be one or two that would make their way onto the front page this week … Is The Times’s own role in the run-up to the war a part of this relative reticence, as some readers have suggested to me? Is there reluctance to revisit a painful period in the paper’s history? Mr. Baquet said that’s not a factor. ‘The Times has probably acknowledged its own mistakes from that period more than anyone,’ he said. ‘We certainly haven’t been shy about doing that. We’re doing the stories that make sense to us and that offer our readers something worthwhile.’

That is, of course, all bollocks. Keller still writes a column. The Times is playing this on the downlow precisely because it never truly has atoned for its role in a fiasco. The op-ed page still welcomes submissions from people whose work on this most grotesque foreign-policy blunder should have been as definitive a career-killer as were Joe Hazlewood’s navigational abilities.

I can hardly wait for this week to end. If it’s not Dean Baquet, copping a cheap alibi for his newspaper’s unforgivable malpractice, it’s Richard Perle. who should be displayed in a pillory outside Walter Reed for the next 10 years, being allowed to vomit blood all over the op-ed section of USA Today.

Many commentaries on the Iraq War, including the one to which this is a response, show little understanding of what it means to manage risk. We do not normally consider it to have been foolish to pay for fire insurance when the house does not burn down – or particularly clever to have done so when it does. When thousands of American lives are at stake, insurance, sometimes pre-emptive military action, is not cheap.

And precisely what risk did you ‘manage’? What chance did you take? You gambled with other people’s children in a game you’d helped rig. What cost was exacted from you, sitting your fat ass in a swivel chair at a wingnut intellectual chop-shop while kids are still staggering around the wards without legs and arms, or the cognitive functions to get them through the day? What price did you pay? You have to send out for lunch one day? Show me the butcher’s bill for the Perle household, you vampire son of a bitch.

And let us not forget Perle’s onetime co-author, David Frum, who’s mysteriously been allowed through the tradesmen’s entrance back into the discourse conducted by decent people. It should be recalled, before we all start doing that which Winston Wolf cautioned us not to do, that Frum did a lot more than write one speech in 2002. Two years later, he also wrote a discreetly McCarthyite book with the aforementioned Perle called An End To Evil. If we’d found a single cache of biotoxins anywhere in Iraq, Frum would have been waving his warrior dick at CPAC last weekend. Instead, we hear about Dick Cheney, and Tony Blair, and how really sorry David Frum is for the hand he played in the deaths of so many people who are not named David Frum.

Shut up, all of you. Go away. You are complicit in one way or another in a giant crime containing many great crimes. Atone in secret. Wash the blood off your hands in private. Because there were people who got it right. Anthony Zinni. Eric Shiseki. Hans Blix. Mohamed ElBaradei. The McClatchy Washington bureau guys. Dozens of liberal academics who got called fifth-columnists and worse. Professional military men whose careers suffered as a result. Hundreds of thousands of people in the streets around the world. The governments of Canada and France. Those people, I will listen to this week. Go to hell, the rest of you, and go there in silence and in shame.”

This article copyright © 2013 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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March 20, 2013 Posted by | government, journalism, news, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Speed Bump in the Road to Journalism

Crash helmets, please: the latest kerfuffle in Band Alumni World.

We former college band people are a passionate lot – we care about the activity, and the organization, to which we committed so much time and energy and, yes, love. If we didn’t love what we did, and love the organization that we hope other people will also have the opportunity to participate in, then we probably wouldn’t react to certain stimuli so strongly. Swearing is caring, sometimes, I guess.

So, when something happens that gets our attention, and not in a good way – when some decision is made that we think is maybe not the best one, or when something is broadcast or printed that casts what we may perceive as a cloud over the activity, or the organization – we are prone to be less Spock (objectively logical) and more Kirk (emotionally driven). With luck, extending that analogy, we quickly settle into being more McCoy than anyone (a measure of passion, grounded in country-doctor reasoning), but sometimes the warp core containment field goes critical and enough with the Trek references already!

(Speaking of people who can get a bit, um, worked up when you get somebody’s rank insignia wrong…)

This week, in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, a student journalist published a piece on the op-ed page having to do with Old Chapel. This UMass-Amherst building has been widely seen as a visual symbol of the University for many years – it’s one of the original campus structures, and has shown up prominently on many a greeting card, poster, Alumni Fund mailing, and video promotion. For those who know its significance, you almost don’t have to print or broadcast the word “UMass” near it. We get it.

It was also, as has been well-documented, the home of the Minuteman Marching Band for many years, until the University decided it was unfit for human habitation and closed it, in 1998. Other departments, notably the Continuing Education Division and the music department’s Chapel Jazz Ensemble, had also used some of its space; but on any weekday afternoon around 4 o’clock, or many fall Saturdays around 11:30 in the morning, an observer could not help noticing that Chapel was where the marching band worked, stored its stuff, played, … lived.

When any home is spoken of, its inhabitants take notice. If someone comments on my house (or appears to) in a way that I think is accurate, or positive, or constructive, I am probably glad to hear those comments. If someone comments (or appears to) in a way which is not those happy things, my ears do perk up. Hey – that’s MY house you’re talking about. You don’t like that porch? I do. Get your own house.

And oh, if someone suggests that I don’t take care of my house well enough … oh dear. Kirk here.

Anyway, back to the Collegian column. It was a rather long piece, and its author clearly wondered whether the Old Chapel, which hasn’t been renovated or even touched up beyond its bell-tower chimes since it closed 14 years ago, was “an empty symbol of a University that would rather demolish its past than save it, in its quest for a more prestigious future”.

This, to me, is a perfectly valid question – especially in light of the recent move of UMass’ football program into what used to be called Division I-A. That’s an issue for another time; but it, too, is symbolic of a philosophy which may be focused very much on future financial opportunities, to the possible detriment of other elements that make a state university campus more than just a cash cow, a PR device, or a Commonwealth revenue machine.

The piece was perhaps a shade long. It had the potential, as one commenter noted with snark, to seem like a high-school essay that wanted to use lots of long words in order to impress. [Come to think of it, this very blog post might strike you as just exactly that!] As with any piece, this one aspired to deep thoughts on weighty matters, and trust me, I perused far less enjoyable pieces in the Collegian while I was a UMass student.

Also, notably: it was written by a college student.

Before you go off all offended at THAT:

I have had the great pleasure, in various contexts, of working with some very fine people who happened to be ages 18 to 22. Many came from the UMass band, or other bands I’ve been able to work with. As is the case with all of us, no matter what age, they were very wise in some moments, and very silly in others. Every generation looks at the up-and-coming generation and thinks, “they don’t yet have all the perspective they need.” (If you look carefully, you’ll find a nicely pithy line in George Parks’ drum major textbook about high school drum majors with all of 17 years of life experience thinking they know more about what’s good for their band than their band directors do!) Frankly, when I think of what I didn’t know at age 23, I’m relieved that I got into teaching at age 33. And when I think of what I didn’t know then … sometimes I shudder. More in embarrassment than in remembrance of mortal peril, but still. How young was I?…

So by no means am I taking shots at this, or any, collegiate journalist. One of her functions on the staff of the Collegian is to help produce a newspaper that reports events, addresses issues, and expresses opinions – and her other function is to learn how to do it. At the same time.

College papers are full of relatively young adults who are amassing the experience they’ll need in order to do journalism for a living. As with any occupation, very few people are born knowing how to be writers, editors, and great journalists. There are ideas and skills and tactics and techniques to be learned, and no one starts out as a Great Purveyor of Words, or a Master News Analyst. Cronkite was a cub reporter once. And trust me, you don’t want to read most of the stuff that my 13-year-old self wrote for the Daily Double summer camp paper. You just don’t.

Again, back to this article. I only found out about it because it went somewhat viral amongst my Facebook community, many of whom are UMass band alumni. To read some (not all, but some) of their assessments, I wondered if perhaps this writer had suggested knocking Chapel clean over. So I gently clicked the link and began to read.

Halfway through, I spotted the single sentence (!) which had lit the fuse on this little powder keg. It was this:

Though the building had been loved by the band and used by many departments, I felt that somehow they didn’t truly appreciate what they had, nor do the students who pass by the Chapel’s stone facade every day.”

Ah.

I can’t speak for today’s students; but as a band alum, I could imagine a few possible reactions.

First, if you were a band alum from the 1960s, or ’70s, or ’80s, or ’90s, and you loved the place – maybe it wasn’t in great shape but it was where you and your band lived – then it’s conceivable that this phrase might seem like an uninformed slap at YOU and your friends. How do YOU know whether I didn’t appreciate it? You weren’t there then. (In this case, the writer hadn’t yet been born. Oh, ouch.)

Or, if you weren’t there then – if you were a band alum who marched with UMass but never knew Chapel as a “home”, only a symbol and a source of alumni tales and service organization trivia – then it’s conceivable that you might read this phrase with less affront but a moment of concern for those who did remember it very fondly and concretely.

Or perhaps, if you were a recent band alum or a current band member, this phrase might or might not have caught your eye at all.

Band alumni have utilized the comment section beneath the column’s online text, with varying degrees of passion and reason. They’re all human beings, so it was inevitable that all degrees of the passion spectrum might be represented there. And the Internet is the kind of technology that allows us, practically encourages us, to respond to something in the heat of the moment – often seeming to encourage us to do so without stopping, taking a deep breath, or observing a waiting period. (You think guns are the only dangerous weapons we have?) Our urge to Rise To The Defense – justified or not – has gotten less and less temperate as time has gone on. I sometimes read political blog comment sections … and always regret it.

And, of course, columns and comments that may not have been purposefully incendiary (the piece’s writer has since said as much, and I tend to believe her) … may be interpreted as entirely that, anyway.

So, the column got a little flame activity. “How dare you,” or words to that effect.

And then the commenters took a little flaming of their own. “Wasn’t our band’s nickname The Power and CLASS of New England?,” or words to that effect.

To the point that I don’t know how many people discerned that the writer was actually very admiring of, and concerned for, this building which – *gasp* – we band alums are very admiring of, and concerned for.

It’s possible that the writer didn’t do quite enough research, or didn’t truly grasp the significance of some of the years’ worth of chalkboard graffiti that she spotted inside Chapel, or that the offending line was a relatively toss-off remark. Chalk it up to a relatively nascent journalism career, one which will benefit from learning experiences like this.

It’s possible that the band alum commenters, in their perfectly understandable zeal to let the writer know that they indeed did care very much for the building, got a bit more verbally aggressive than was probably necessary. Chalk it up to afternoons spent sitting on the couch in the front locker room with people who would become lifelong friends.

It’s possible that the people who rather nastily told the band alum commenters to pipe down – because the memories of Old Chapel aren’t, the article about Chapel’s symbolism and deterioration wasn’t, the whole University atmosphere isn’t, all about you, all about the #$#@* band … also succumbed to the need to instantly put in its place a group of people that is very close-knit, clearly has strong connections to each other and their school, and whose activity was big and loud and colorful and did kinda rudely wake people up in Southwest on game days (hee, hee, hee). Chalk that up to some need they had to satisfy, some itch they had to scratch, that band alums can’t do anything about, certainly not now that we’re, y’know, graduated ‘n’ stuff.

In all of this, I haven’t gone the Starred Thought route. Our late, great director amassed a bunch of really wise sayings, and some of them could be flung at this situation. I avoid going there partly because someone else already has; and partly because … well … in spite of the fact that I just committed more than two thousand words to it, ultimately this is just not that big of a deal. Some may recall other less recent moments that have been bigger, more momentous, less “blurb-in-the-local-paper” and more “about-to-have-genuine-impact-on-many-people”.

[Side note about perspective: sadly, far more passionate online ink has been spilled while defending the honor of flippin’ Honey Boo Boo than in the defense of generations of UMass band alumni this week. Perhaps in a small way, we can stand on this slightly wobbly bit of principle: ain’t we got some sense of proportion?]

So okay: it may be seen as presumptuous for me to assume the role of omniscient overlord who Knows What Is Best For People … hey, I read that “didn’t truly appreciate” phrase and got at least a little twinge of “–excuse me!”, same as you. But in this case, I have the luxury of working from the point of view of both a UMass marching band alum and a former journalism major. It’s still always better to express ourselves in a way that’s classy “without a K” … and deep breaths are never, ever bad for you. And there are larger issues to deal with, and bigger offenses being conveyed upon people all over the world, that do tend to slap a little perspective on us.

As the ’80s beer commercial lizard said to his fellow lizard: “Let it go, Louie.”

December 6, 2012 Posted by | band, Facebook, Internet, journalism, marching band, news, social media, technology, UMMB, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The American People

Okay. Enough.

Listen up, journalists, commentators, pundits and other TV blatherers … and while we’re at it, listen up, politicians. And frankly, listen up, anybody who loves to take names in vain … this evening is absolutely the last time I am interested in hearing anyone – cable or broadcast talking head, statesman (-woman) or politician – anybody!! – use the term “The American People” in the context of “this is what I declare the will and thought process of the entire population of the United States of America to be.”

As a great American philosopher once said, I’s had all I can take, and I can’t takes no more.

(Well, all right, I’ll hear it again, I’m sure, but I will be tempted to chuck a Nerf ball at the TV.)

Every single television broadcast day, and every single political -slash- legislative day, somebody steps to a podium or an anchor desk, steps in front of a microphone on the Senate floor or in a secluded radio production studio, and says something like, “That is what the American people want.”

For a while, I was thinking, could we adjust the terminology a bit? For some reason, the phrase “the American people” has long bothered me, and I haven’t been able to put into proper words just why, but it has. For a while, I wondered if maybe the phrase “the American public” might serve better. It just sounds about a millimeter less presumptuous, maybe. When I was a kid, I would listen to the radio news at noon, and then shortly thereafter, Paul Harvey would come on the air and open his five-minute period of news and comment by calling out, “Hello Americans!” and I can handle that. That’s who he thought he was talking to, and aside from a stray Canadian picking up a stray radio signal, he was probably 99.9 percent correct. So okay! Hello Americans.

But for some time now, “The American People” has been used with increasing arrogance. “The American people will not stand for this,” says a random politician that at least half the country has never heard of; and if it’s something we can all (or most of us) agree on, like it’s a terrible thing to rob a bank (although perhaps bank robbers would beg to differ), then all right. But you’re more likely to hear that “the American people will not stand for this” when it’s something a particular politician or TV pundit would like the American people to not stand for, and more often than not it’s an issue about which actual American persons (rather than the mythical characters the politicians and pundits’ magical-thinking techniques conjure up in their own heads) are not of a single mind about.

Polls show that the American people…” Just a damn second! I have never been polled by a national polling organization about an Important Issue Of Our Day. Not one single time in more than four decades. Not outside a supermarket in person, not by phone, not by mail, not via the Internet, not via carrier pigeon or frickin’ smoke signal. Not about abortion, or taxes, or the designated-hitter rule, or whether Ken Burns should ever make another documentary. (He should.) And according to my unscientific conversations with friends and colleagues, neither have a whole lot of them either, even though they have well-informed opinions about lots of issues and might be able to shed a little more light on those issues, on the off chance that polling organizations came into contact with them.

Even the best of the polling organizations, those who are not financed by the left, the right, the center, upstairs, downstairs, or the bottom of the barrel, report poll results according to a sampling of the population that is hardly representative of the 300-million-plus people in the American population from a strictly mathematical sense. Logistically, it would be very difficult anyway. Usually, the polls’ margin of error ought to completely eclipse the polls’ sample size and render them meaningless anyhow.

Also, consider what sorts of people are Americans: farmers and yuppies … students and senior citizens … “This American Life” fans and NASCAR fans … jazz enthusiasts and classical-music hounds … people who watch the Food Network religiously and people who watch the local religious cable channel hungrily … rappers and knitters … white people and black people and Asian people (and there are many different sorts of those) and Latino people … people with different prefixes in front of “-sexual” … Methodists and Muslims … moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats … people struggling with weight problems and people struggling with anorexia … rich and poor … Red Sox fans and Yankee fans (sorry; had to say it!) … people who drive hybrids and people who drive SUVs that practically rate their own zip codes … people who wave flags madly at Fourth-of-July parades, and people who, while clapping for the fire trucks and marching bands in Fourth-of-July parades, think about some of our country’s less grand adventures as well …

In short, we are not a nation of homogenous people. About the only darn thing we can say with certainty that we all are, is human beings.

Not all of whom have a flair for the English language. Consider these:

I think that this liberal progressive agenda is not the thing that the American people want and it’s antithesis to who we are as a constitutional republic.” -Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.)

I think it’s clear that this liberal progressive agenda is not the thing that Rep. West wants. On the other hand, plenty of American persons that I know, and that’s just in my little corner of the world, would be thrilled to see us follow that ol’ liberal progressive agenda. Who we are as a constitutional republic, is a group of people who (hopefully) elect their governing representatives by use of simple majorities (except sometimes in the case of that pesky, imperfect Electoral College), and as mentioned above, a simple majority elected Barack Obama based on the things he said he wanted to achieve, so can we necessarily see this “agenda” as the antithesis of our constitutional republic? I don’t think so, but do correct me if I’m wrong.

I don’t care whether you’re driving a hybrid or an SUV. If you’re headed for a cliff, you have to change direction. That’s what the American people called for in November, and that’s what we intend to deliver.” -President Barack Obama

I voted for the man and I would do it again. Compared with many of his predecessors, the man can indeed string an artful sentence or two together. But although the political press described our current President’s election victory over Sen. John McCain in 2008 as a landslide, or at least a mandate, or at least a win by a significant figure … the actual final popular vote has been listed by reliable sources as 69,456,897 (Obama) to 59,934,814 (McCain). Mr. Obama won by the combined populations of New York City and San Antonio, Texas. In a nation of about 300 million, that’s not exactly a crushing majority. Even when only half the population votes (a shameful statistic but a topic for another day), that’s a difference of only one-fifteenth of the total votes cast. There were nearly 60 million American people who didn’t vote for Mr. Obama. He could say that a majority of the American people called for change, and he’d be accurate, and I would fold my tent.

The American people are screaming at the top of their lungs to Washington, ‘Stop! Stop the spending, stop the job-killing policies.’ And yet, Democrats in Washington refuse to listen to the American people.” -Rep. John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives

A lot of us are screaming, okay; but we’re not screaming that.

The American people… want change. They want big ideas, big reform.” -Rahm Emanuel, former Obama Administration chief of staff

See the above thoughts about the election of Mr. Obama. And, clearly, there are a number of loud people in America who would just as soon not see any change at all in the way things are going. Those people conceivably could include the brothers Koch, and anybody with a vested interest in the continued success of big corporations that somehow pay very little in the way of taxes, just as two examples.

And the American people are the greatest people in the world. What makes America the greatest nation in the world is the heart of the American people: hardworking, innovative, risk-taking, God-loving, family-oriented American people.” -Mitt Romney, candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination

By way of a mere flourish of public speaking, whether via speech-writing or stump-speech-improvisation (a risky environment for reasoned expression of thought), Mr. Romney has eliminated from consideration for membership in the club of “the American people”: atheists and confirmed bachelors, to name just a couple demographics. (Also people who would rather not spend much time with their families, presumably.)

We’ve had Town Hall meetings, we’ve witnessed election after election, in which the American people have taken a position on the President’s health care bill. And the bottom line is the people don’t like this bill. They don’t want it.” -Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.)

Eric Cantor has never spoken to me. I have never spoken to Eric Cantor. If all goes according to how I would like it, this condition will continue for some time.

I felt like all of the American people did not believe me because of the things that were said about me, and said that people would say that it was just for the money, and it wasn’t about the money. It was about what he did to me. And I knew I was telling the truth.” -Paula Jones, speaking about the deeds and/or misdeeds of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton

Ms. Jones was operating under the unfortunate misapprehension of many celebrities (a long list of them throughout recent American history) that most of the American people gave a wet slap about her, or even knew who the hell she was. Most Americans have more important things to do, like figure out how they’re going to make their next mortgage payment.

But, ahh: leave it to Norman Lear, creator of such remarkable American televised entertainment as the sitcom “All In The Family”, to cut to the chase:

That’s the heart of it: My shows were not that controversial with the American people. They were controversial with the people who think for the American people.”

 

 

 

So let’s do two things: first, let’s not let our leaders – media or government leaders – get too comfortable in the notion that what they want, think, condone or believe is what we want, think, condone, or believe. And next, let’s get out there and do what needs to be done, so that we can elect people (to think for us?) who really can claim to represent us … the people of America.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | government, journalism, media, news, politics, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment