Sunday, June 04, 2006

Unbreaking the American Egg

Richmond writer/musician Travis Charbeneau has been an occasional contributor in SLANT and on SLANTblog, as well, over the years. His thoughtful commentary is always worth a read. Pictured below, here is Charbeneau's latest advice on how to get out of a real mess.

"Unbreaking the
American Egg"

by Travis Charbeneau

During these trying times, it may be encouraging to remember that all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't vote! Any "unbreaking" of America's Humpty Dumpty will depend on November's elections and a belated expression of our "traditional values."

Consider this scenario: Your family is asleep after a quiet evening at home in the American heartland. Suddenly -- kaBLAM and two more kaBLAMs! Whoops. A Pakistani predator drone, acting on solid (but wrong) intelligence about bad guys at your house, has put three bombs into the neighborhood.

Those knuckleheads, you shake your head and smile, sweeping up the remains of what might be your wife. It's gotta be tough being the world's only remaining Superpower.

As this very scene unfolded in Damadola, Pakistan last January 13, I'm guessing such forbearing thoughts didn't occur to any of the victims. Reversing positions, with a Superpower Pakistan mistakenly blowing up American neighborhoods, we'd be outraged. The very idea!

Of course, "the very idea" of reversing positions is the Traditional Value for such a busily Christian nation as the United States. The Golden Rule, the very essence of Christianity, is all about putting ourselves in the other guy's shoes. But, more than loving one's enemies or caring about the poor, this particular Christian commandment now proves especially troublesome.

To love one's enemies, you have to be a fool, and your Mama didn't raise any. And caring about the poor requires empathy with actual losers! Such rarely-evoked Christian values can be safely swept beneath important stuff like preventing same-sex marriage. People around the world of differing religions, and none whatever, will often forgive such common hypocrisy.

But, for such a noisily Christian American President to flaunt The Golden Rule is wildly uncommon hypocrisy. Observing us fail the fundamental tenet of our own religion blows what little respect we have not already squandered. And only restored respect can unbreak the egg.

We've tried the customary, respect-getting military operations, but violence doesn't impress suicide bombers. Or sleeping families. Or their survivors, who are quickly converted to suicide bombers. With dirty bombs and even terrorist nukes just a short matter of time, we need renewed respect darned quick. As it happens, our last chance arrives with November's midterm elections.

Grounds for the impeachment of Bush 43 already wildly overwhelm the sexual peccadillo that actually impeached Bill Clinton. We have a stunning array of "high crimes and misdemeanors" from which to choose, and with a new Democratic Congress, the current leadership could be out by early 2007! Think of the egg-making impact!

These two acts of repudiation: congressional changeover and a quick impeachment, might regain much that was lost. We could remind the world that G. W. Bush wasn't even popularly elected in 2000, but installed by "activist judges," and that ... um, he fooled us again in 2004. We can claim "we were duped," and the world might just believe us. Simply admitting error -- so rare among nations everywhere -- would amount to true "shock and awe."

Granted, mere "dupes" aren't customarily honored, but at this terrible juncture even a little understanding would be a great help. Remember the global, post-9/11-pre-Iraq sympathy we so casually shattered. And, again, November is our last chance. If Bush serves out his term without formal negation, both the near-term consequences and history's judgment will be harsh.

To those who will object that a Presidential impeachment would be stressful and messy, consider New Orleans or Baghdad today, or consider Washington tomorrow after a nuclear attack. As the old saying goes, "If you want to unmake an omelet, you have to unbreak some eggs."



Virginia Centrist said...

I remember hearing this theory in 2003 and 2004 - that we could repudiate Bush's idiotic actions and immediately rebuild our world image if we threw him out of office. It was true. If we had elected Kerry, I think our image in the world would have improved.

It's probably not too late - impeachment would accomplish the same thing - however - I think the advantages are strongly outweighed by the disadvantages (breaking the eggs would be too messy, in my opinion). This President is badly damaged and very unpopular. The world can see Americans finally coming around on Bush, and this in itself probably helps our reputation...

Personally, I'm also not really sure whether Bush has done anything that rises to the level of an impeachable offense. There is some debate over whether he broke the law when he wire tapped (I tend to think he did), but does that rise to the level of an impeachable offense? If we take a historical perspective (compare his actions to other presidents during times of crisis), then the answer is a clear no.

If we could prove that he used the wiretapping information for some sort of nefarious Nixonian purpose (political intimidation, spying on regular crooks, etc.), then I'd favor impeachment. For now, however, I think he's just an overzealous protector of America security who has violated some laws and should be censured and checked by Congress and the Courts.

F.T. Rea said...

virginia centrist,

Charbeneau makes a good point. But impeachments and recalls worry me. They feel like moving toward a twitchy sort of anarchy. Still, it’s easy to see the attraction of such instant gratification ploys when convincing people their own quality of life is on the line in elections is such tough duty.

F.T. Rea said...


Your words are wise. That kicker about unbreaking eggs is top-shelf copy. Thanks.

-- Terry