Friday, July 22, 2005

the Downing Street Memo revisited

The subject of today’s entry has been strongly suggested by Paul the Spud, by way of Shakespeare’s Sister. He writes,

“I'm calling upon all Big Brass Alliance members and other bloggers to please mark tomorrow, Friday the 22nd as the day you will write at least one post on the Downing Street Memo. Enough outcry has landed Rove's fat & sweaty tuckus in the hotseat; the same can be done with the DSM.

If it weren't for us, the DSM story could have conceivably died once it came out. It was our constant noise that made the comatose MSM sit up and take notice. We did it before, we can do it again.”

I would very much like to believe that.

So I’m writing my own sorry-ass polticial confessional here, in hopes that it will be one more voice shouting out against the curtain of lies that surrounds this-yere corrupt administration.

I’ve been doing some background reading in the archives of another interesting blog called
Baghdad Burning. It’s the journal of a woman in Iraq who, probably to maintain her sanity, has written about the Coalition invasion of Iraq since August 2003. Those of you who know me already might remember that I was very pregnant then, and oblivious to anything that wasn’t happening within ten feet of my swelling belly. My then-fiance (now my husband) and I had conceived earlier in the year, so April of 2003, when we invaded Iraq, was lost to me in the desperate need to graze. My first trimester was pretty hard emotionally, so I made the choice to stick my head in the sand and try to pretend everything would be just okey-dokey.

And it was, for a while. I had Duckie in September, went back to work in January, at which point I used the prodigious resources of the Internet for support in that endeavor. During the 2004 presidential election I was uncomfortably aware that I knew next to nothing about
John Kerry, but that I certainly preferred him to the creepy-crawlies I got when GW took the stage.

I discovered, of course, that there were enormous amounts of information at my fingertips – overwhelming amounts, as a matter of fact. I did the research – enough to know who I wanted to vote for locally and nationally, anyway – cast my vote, and then lost my mind.

You may already know the story. Check the archives if you’re curious.

Over the course of the last several months, I’ve been actively struggling for sanity in my life, clarity – information reform, you might say. I’m not sure I’m finding it. Seems like the more answers I get, the less satisfied I am, the less I trust the source – and then I end up with more questions. Easy to get overwhelmed again.

Then a few weeks ago on the way in to work, I heard a lil' snippet of a story about the
Downing Street Memos. I booted up my PC and started searching. Didn’t take long to get the background information. Didn’t take long to blow up the insulation I had created around Our Dear Leader. See, even though I voted for Kerry, I wanted to believe that the Bush administration was actually misguided, but not necessarily evil or malicious. I wanted to believe that they meant well. I wanted to believe that, despite the purely emotional negative reaction I had whenever I saw W on TV or heard his voice on the radio.

“The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

What policy? Oh, the one about bombing people to take their land and resources -- namely, oil. Oh, but do it under the name of “regime change” and use the
compliant and sometimes collaborative press (who, after all, also have more job security and better ratings during times of war) to swindle the American public.

Yeah, I was swindled. I swallowed the lie, and I closed my eyes doing it so I wouldn’t be quite so aware of the nasty taste and texture on the way down.

Apparently I was not the only one. Whenever I dip a hesitant toe into a conversation about Bush or oil-pirates or war here in my red state manufacturing facility, people have been looking away from me, not meeting my eyes. I think they may have voted for Bush. I think they may be reconsidering the wisdom of that choice.

If that’s true, more power to them. The conservative movement in this country (and throughout the world, really) is characterized by a disturbing inability or unwillingness to ever, under any circumstances, admit to wrongdoing. They can’t. They’ve spent too much time pointing fingers at others’ mistakes, so they can’t afford to have it backfire on them. Glass houses, and all. So if my fellow red-staters are starting to really examine the information they are given and are thinking about re-evaluating their (possibly mistaken) allegiance to what is quickly becoming a fascist regime here in America, more power to them.

It reminds me of the anti-drug commercial that’s been running lately. The message is basically that even if you used to be a rampant pothead, you still have the right and responsibility to talk to your kids about drugs. They don’t go into the ethical quandaries of what to do if you’re still smoking the ganja and can’t take that moral high road with your kid, but the message comes through loud and clear if you’re sober. Yes, people can change. People change their habits, people change alliances, people change their whole lives. Rehabilitation in every form is indeed possible.

But (back to the point above) conservatism is entrenched in its own certainty. To the conservative, uncertainty is a weakness, something to be exploited in others. There is no such thing as a meaningful dialogue, because nothing – no facts, no opinions, no alternative perspectives – is going to change the way a truly conservative person sees anything. And nine times out of ten it’s a black-and-white perspective.

I’ve seen some rays of sun through the clouds, though. People I would never have expected to question the status quo are doing just that. Conversations in the break room of this firmly entrenched red community are starting to reflect uncertainty and disillusionment. Great. Fantastic. Now if I can just work my way into these conversations without looking like a left-wing nutjob, I might be able to help this process along. Until I can figure that out, it’s best I keep my mouth shut. You may have noticed I sometimes get a tad heated about these issues – you know, the needless death and suffering thing, ‘specially when it gets served on a platter of greed and deception, slathered with that yummy patriotism gravy.

Three people over the last week have brought up the same point to me. There’s nothing you can do, they tell me. There’s nothing we can do, except pray.

Yeah, I can pray. I can also bitch and complain, even if it’s just to people who have heard this so many times they’re sick and tired of repeating the conversation or reading yet another rant. I can also collect information from various sources instead of just one flippant ratings-hog. I can question everything. I can open dialogues with people who have other bits of information, some of whom are lots smarter than I am, and I can question what these people say, too.

So can you.

I’ve made my own decision about the validity of the Downing Street Memos. So should you.


Dark Wraith said...


So, this is your blog! Cool.

The Dark Wraith needs to come over here and haunt the place every so often.

oldwhitelady said...

Hi Andi - With the Downing Street Memos, I always feel I need to sit down and write something deep. It's not happening, just now. I did appreciate your article. I will ponder on it this aft and eve at work, just to see if there is something I can say without having to take too much time. This weekend is going to have time constraints.

PeterofLoneTree said...

Is youse a blonde? No matter. Come visit now and den buts bee kareful. Sumtimes we talk igernunt an' use notty langwidge.

James said...

Keep up the complaining. I am tired of people saying, "there is nothing that we can do." It is that very attitude that is the most dangerous thing in America right now. It is the reason the Bush administration is getting away with all their lies and corruption.

By the way, Operation Iraqi Freedom was originally called, "Operation Iraqi Liberation" or O.I.L.

Ha, oil. No wonder they changed it. What a freudian slip, eh?

andi said...

Peter -

No, darlin', I ain't no blonde, but I sho nuff like the vittles y'all lay out on the table over there.

And mostly y'all spell stuff krektly, too!



Wy Wyoming House Cleaning said...

Hype blog. And I admire your site and plan on
returning to it! When I web surf it always helps me to
find great blogs.
Want to see top notch work, peep my de delaware house cleaning blog site for the bomb work!