Apr/May 2006 Nonfiction


by Don Stitt

Sarcastic Applause.

I've never heard that term until NPR's Brian Lehrer described the Democratic reaction to the portion of the president's State of the Union speech that said, "Our efforts to restructure Social Security did not succeed."

And the response is exactly that: sarcastic applause. (I would have called it "derisive," but why split hairs? That's what we pay our elected officials to do.)

Until that morning, I had always thought of applause as a positive thing. An affirmation. An appreciation of sorts. A show of support. In that context, "sarcastic applause" seemed to be as incongrous as "peacekeeper missile."

But we live in the age of doublespeak, my friends, the language of Orwell's "1984." High-minded titles masking corrupt ideologies. The Clear Skies and Clean Water acts, which give polluters more leverage, No Child Left Behind, which leaves more poor students behind than ever before, and the PATRIOT Act, which strikes down so many of the civil liberties the patriots of our heritage died for.

I had to laugh out loud when I read this quote: "Everybody is always saying exactly the same thing. There has got to be a peaceful road ahead. You cannot be on one hand dedicated to peace and on the other dedicated to violence."

Oh, I admire the high-mindedness, too. It's a lovely morsel of rhetoric, ain't it?

Ah... but consider that it was said by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the midst of ongoing military actions in Afghanistan (which have failed to locate a 7-foot guy in white on dialysis,) and a pre-emptive strike against a guy who never attacked us which has plunged his country into a quagmire of civil war and anti-American sentiments.

So when you hear Condi or Dubya or Cheney or Rumsfeld talk about spreading democracy at the point of a gun, there is no inherent, ludicrous hypocrisy associated with it. We're all saying the same thing. "You cannot be on one hand dedicated to peace and on the other dedicated to violence." Sarcastic Applause.

I think Conservative Republican is becoming an oxymoron, too. Like Military Intelligence.

Think about it, the GOP has been in power for five years. They came into town after a record surplus, and have managed to turn it into a record deficit. They are penny wise and trillion-dollar foolish. And not all of their financial folly has been diverting money from Fort Knox to Halliburton by way of Iraq, either.

The "Conservative Republicans" in power refused millions in financial aid to reinforce the levees of New Orleans because it wouldn't be "conservative" to spend that much, but now have to shell out billions to repair the damage that could have been prevented more cheaply.

That's irony on par with a C-student calling himself "The Education President." Or swaggering onto the deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight suit with a padded codpiece and bellowing, "Mission Accomplished."

As ironic as us complaining to the UN Security Council about Iran's nukes. Seems to me that if we're capable of invading a Muslim neighbor on the basis of blatant lies, maybe they ought to be complaining about us.

And by the way, call me crazy, but since North Korea already has a nuke that could hit LA, shouldn't we be worrying more about them? After all, they're a part of the "Axis of Evil" brand our fearless leader laid on North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Strange how Saudi Arabia, home to so many of the 9/11 hijackers, and Afghanistan, presumed home of Osama bin Laden, weren't listed in that directory.

Oh yeah, I forgot... The Bush family has business interests in Saudi Arabia, where the bin Laden family sit at board meetings with them.

We keep hearing the term Culture of Corruption regarding the powerful players in DC these days. A lot of that has to do with the indictments of Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist. But don't fret your pretty little head about that: There's going to be an investigation into the Culture of Corruption.

Who will oversee the investigation, to assure its objectivity, its meaningfulness, its "overhaul of the system?"

Why, the same people that brought you a $54M impeachment rooted in fellatio. The same people who lied about the cost of the Medicare Drug Benefit bill to get it passed. The same people who brought you a pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation on the basis of falsified intelligence in the name of Democracy.

The Conservative Republicans.

Honorable Elected Officials.

Military Intelligence.

Sarcastic Applause.

Now you know why it ends in "-morons."


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