Having It Both Ways


Am I the only one that finds it worrisome that, on a number of fronts, accountability is not valued by the Administration? There is this mentality that in the dizzying clouds of public discourse shaped by Beltway insiders there is no need for accountability.

The torture memos were released but there is no decisive action taken as to what they mean. The White House ought to be providing leadership as to how we, as a country, are to think of these memos. It is not enough to say torture is bad and we don’t do it. We torture; we do.

But to press this issue will cost politically. The cost is worth it. We cannot move forward without recognizing where we have been. We must be start where we are. Can you imagine the leadership we would demonstrate to the world if we were to examine the last eight years with integrity? Can you imagine how the world’s people and dictators would wipe the sleep out of their eyes if they saw an honest effort to take account of the actions done in our name? Can you imagine the goosebumps tickling each of us because we had the courage to accept what was done in our name, recognize it and make amends? If political cost is what’s at stake, it isn’t as if the opposition is lining up to support White House policies or decisions. Hell, they’re lined up across the aisle throwing stones. Is our moral authority worth a warm hug from John Boehner or Mitch McConnell?

For the Administration, the message they are sending is that accountability only matters if it leads to bad press. That’s the Clintonian legacy. Thank you, Rahm.

It’s no accident that Amy Goodman from Democracy Now or other independent news/media outlets are not invited into the big tent of media and political insiders. Her palms aren’t pressed by lobbyists and public relations campaigns who shape the narratives of public discourse.

This inside the Beltway media loves to leap upon wrongdoing (torture) to sell newspapers, but rarely presses for the level of accountability needed to maintain integrity. Integrity is a dirty word, these days. Either they’re holding others accountable for their actions (torture) but never ourselves (human rights). My goodness, 10% of the US population is incarcerated (see “The Sounds of Silence”) but our media throws its full weight behind the incarceration of a journalist in Iran. Five states pass same-sex marriage in quick succession and there’s not a peep from Pennsylvania Ave. Lt. Choi is kicked out of the Army, no comment. Shouldn’t we be questioning that? Am I the only one that finds this cherry-picking silence disturbing?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Obama is a guy who’s going to hold Bush, Cheney and the Democrats accountable for the crimes of the last eight years nor resist the consequences of bigoted policies of his predecessors. By continuing many of the same practices (e.g. military tribunals, black box holding, DADT, etc.), it isn’t likely that there will be a big push for change, accountabilility or moving forward. We’ll have to make the push ourselves.

~ by Thom on May 18, 2009.

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