Falling From the High Ground

For the past several years, talk about "moral values" has dominated what passes for political discourse in this country. The talk was of the 10 Commandments, Janet Jackson's weirdly pierced nipple, and people stealing Christmas from the Christians. But there's been a shift over the last six months or so. Now, with the exception of feeble venting over gay marriage, the moral values crusade has become noticeably quieter.

There are a variety of possible reasons for this. Perhaps with things not looking so good for their man the God Whisperer, they prefer not to rock the boat lest find their anointed one really can't walk on water. Perhaps they've seen that caterwauling about issues like gay marriage not only doesn't distract the country from more serious issues, it just serves to piss them off more. Maybe they've had an epiphany and decided to throw the money changers like Falwell, Robertson, et al out of the temple.

Scratch that last one. No such luck.

There's another possible reason for the silence, and I think it deserves some thought. Perhaps the moralizers finally discovered the Apostle-in-Chief isn't nearly as moral as he would have them believe. Consider this:

From its inception, the US has fancied itself different from the rest of the world. Founded on some of the most high-minded ideals the world has ever seen, we've tried mightily to hold to those values. Of course there've been failings, both major and minor, but that happens when real, fallible people are involved. The US may have sometimes had clay feet, but for the most part, the world admired us because we at least bothered to try and take the high road. As they used to say in the Iron Curtain era, "you don't see people trying to escape from America."

Since the Moralist-in-Chief took office, he's spent much of his self-proclaimed political capital doing some strikingly amoral things. While carping on about faith-based initiatives, he entered a war with dubious justifications. Once the war started, he and his croaking chorus of toadies decided that gay marriage was a threat to democracy. Meanwhile, he tossed people into secret prisons, held them for years without trial, and tortured them to boot. When pushed on the issue he denied, obfuscated, or simply said, "We don't do that. Never have. Never will."

I'm glad he's so certain, but his actions sound more like a visit to Lubyanka for a chat with the KGB man than a nation priding itself on taking the moral high ground. These types of actions have not only created a firestorm at home, but in the rest of the world as well.

Where the US once stood as a place the rest of the world aspired to, we've become a place that much of the world now loathes. Not without reason, they believe we are a greater threat than the countries we've proclaimed the Axis of Evil.

The response from moralistic crapweasels like Bishop Bush, Cardinal Condi, and Deacon Don is that it's perfectly OK to try a prisoner and withhold information they need for a defense. "What's the matter," they ask? "If they've aren't guilty they have nothing to worry about. After all, the US is different," they say. "We're fair and balanced. We're not like viscous dictators like Saddam who imprisoned people without trial."

And what you're doing is different, how?

When it comes to torture, it's much the same. "We don't torture," they loudly proclaim. "Uh, Uh. Nope. Not us. Wouldn't hurt a fly. That's why we think we don't have to comply with those pesky Geneva conventions. We don't do that stuff anyway. No need. We're morally superior."

"Don. Get out the waterboard, we got some "guests" coming over for a chat."

Bush's mammoth hubris is a head on collision with his countrymen and the rest of the world. He's apparently tortured the last of the good will out of the world and now people in this country and others are beginning to fight back.

Several Senators recently proved Darwin's theory by evolving embryonic backbones. They're beginning to let George know that it isn't OK to take the moral low ground while claiming victory on the high. Other countries are beginning to say, "What you're doing is wrong. You're behaving like a bully because you think none of us will fight back."

But, guess what?

George asks for more NATO troops in Afghanistan and the answer was a resounding yawn. George has intimated that his Coalition of the Willing maybe isn't up to the task and perhaps the UN might like to step in where only the most lunatic don't fear to tread. His other neighbors on the planet aren't exactly rushing to his aid.

So maybe that's it. Maybe we've finally been taken down the low road far enough that even the self-righteous are troubled by what they see. Maybe they see themselves weighing whether the marriage of two loving people who happen to be of the same sex is more amoral than locking someone up and holding their head underwater until they fear they'll drown.

Maybe they've finally realized something important about morality. Maybe they've finally realized they have less to fear from someone who simply wants to get married than from an evangelizing, moralizing oaf who managed to alienate an entire planet while trying to convince them of the morality of his cause.

If they have seen this, perhaps it isn't too late for the country to take a few steps back from the cliff at the edge of the high ground and prove to the world that we are moral and that we aren't just a herd of lemmings on a march to the sea.

Bring it On!

The Poobah also appears at Bring it On!

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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, September 18, 2006

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