Blind As We Wanna Be

Mark Morford is wondering if Dubya is as dumbya as he looks.

After all, it has always been far too easy to smack BushCo around as being an aww-shucks dumb-guy AWOL simpleton daddy’s boy with a low-C average and a painfully inarticulate approach to the world, coupled with an astounding, world-famous ability to mangle both the English language and every foreign policy ever implemented.It’s always felt like a bit of a grand ruse, Bush’s Forrest Gump-style dunderheadedness, a clever (if entirely plausible) way to deflect much of the responsibility for his regimes’s carnage, all designed to make the nation believe that this guy simply couldn’t be all that bad because, well, he just ain’t all that bright.

But, he’s thinking now, maybe it’s even more sinister than we thought.

It is, in short, the stupidity of the indignant and the self-righteous, of the morally arrogant, of someone whose power base is threatened and yet who is still blindly forcing America down this nightmare path, even when all signs and all leaders and all U.N. councils and all weapons investigators and all flagrant U.S.-sanctioned rapes and tortures are veritably screaming in his face that it is a mistake of increasingly epic, treacherous proportions.And so maybe, ultimately, it all comes back to us. Maybe it is the majority of people in this flag-wavin’, happily deluded, fear-drenched country who can’t believe it could happen, who simply, you know “misunderestimated” just how poisonous Bush’s savage brand of stupidity really is.

Barbara Tuchman wrote the definitive book on the sort of arrogant blindness that produces massive disasters, The March of Folly, almost 20 years ago. In excruciating detail, she described the depths of denial and the heights of baseless wishful thinking in which govts must indulge in order to bring it off–disasters aren’t as easy to accomplish as you might think; you have to really work at it–but Morford is making a different observation: that our willingness to enter into denial right along with the Bushies rather than do the small amount of work it would take to uncover his patent frauds, deceits and deliberate misrepresentations, make us as culpable as they are. Imprisoned in our own sightless world of comfort, convenience, and optimism, we preferred to look the other way while he raped somebody else’s neighborhood, somebody else’s wife, and somebody else’s country.

I’ve been listening to Franken lately because I’m going in to work earlier, and every day he has a little talk with a friend of his (named ‘Mark’, oddly enough) who is a Rush fan. He plays tapes of Rush’s lies for Mark, proves over and again that nothing he says is true, and Mark’s response is always the same: Rush may go overboard once in a while but his essential ‘themes’ (Mark’s word) are that: a) liberals never say anything good about America; b) that therefore anything they do say can’t be trusted and shouldn’t be believed; and c) that America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Mark hears Limbo’s hatred, pessimism, and blind support for the most odious practices in the world, including torture, as the perhaps over-zealousness of a patriot coming to the defense of his country, and nothing else matters to him.

So far have we come from the nation that started out determined to allow and even endorse self-criticism and self-correction that those values are now considered negative, unworthy and unwanted, even traitorous. Maybe it’s time to consider that the radcons were only able to blind us because we wanted to be blind; were only able to fool us because we wanted to be fooled; were only able to keep us in the dark because we were afraid of what we’d see if somebody turned the lights on.

You want to know how Hitler could happen in the land of Goerthe and Frederick the Great? Look around you and ask how George W Bush and Tom DeLay could happen in the land that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain. Because that’s how. We’re seeing it develop right before our eyes–or would be if we dared to open them.


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