Saturday, July 24, 2004


I was going to write a bit about leadership, but then I felt like I would be writing a business school application, or a campaign spiel. I was going to remark that leaders are supposed to more than act decisively--specifically, if you’re at the top of the pyramid and everyone is handing up whatever they know to you, then you’re the one with the obligation to make something of it all, see the big picture, etc. you can’t excuse yourself with the claim that the pyramid below didn’t tell you what you needed to know because you’re the only one who really ought to know. Whatever it is.

I bought the 9/11 Commission Report just today, so I’ll save that rant for a later day. The Report, by the way, is another ridiculous bit of presidential theatre. It was published and available in book stores earlier this week, in huge bestseller-scale quantities, with the nice velvety cover, though the pages are newsprint. W.W. Norton published the thing, and I defy you to print and bind millions of copies, crate them, and ship them in a morning. It would be reasonable, then, to claim that the report must have been “final” in manuscript form for at least two weeks, in the public domain (in the publishers hands) for at least a week. But the President, in all his affable-earthy-blah-blah-blah, said to reporters that he looked forward to reading it. This is the report was, simultaneously, about the single most important event of his tenure and the centerpiece of his “re”-election campaign. But he hasn’t gotten around to reading it yet. Well, it is 428 pages long, plus endnotes. By the way, the chapter titles are pretty catchy.

I was going to write a bit about the unbelievably bad idea of creating a cabinet-level intelligence director, but I think, maybe, it’s been done to death. I’ll get to clever concluding thought for that bit: This is a country that once went to war under flags reading “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Liberty or Death” and “Live Free or Die.” Its Constitution is riddled with provisions for preserving the minority from the mercy of the majority. Still, people “debate” giving up “some” civil rights for security. Everyone knows the Ben Franklin quote. I’d be interested to know why people, after all the indoctrination their subjected to, even look down the road to hobbling their inalienable rights. Why do defenders, like the ACLU (I’m a card carrying member) even bother/need to prophecy horrors or cite Huxley and Orwell? If we’re going to call ourselves Americans, with all the City on a Hill stuff, then we just don’t yield on the basic freedoms. We just don’t. There you go.

Now I’m going to state that Republicans are Fascists, just to get it off my chest.

Republicans are Fascists.

I used to assume that the folks who vote Republican aren’t really bad people afterall--it’s just the Party leadership and their soldiers (like FNC, check out “Outfoxed” if you can) that have fallen into darkness. But now I hear that 40,000 Michigan Republicans signed petitions to get Nader on the ballot, and similar shit went down (re: cursing here; in fact “shit went down” is, in my view, the optimal turn of phrase) in Oregon. Seems to me the Party rank-and-file has gotten itself infected with this win-or-die attitude, this drive toward a single party government. I can’t think of another reason why you’d need to divide and conquer.