In the interest of research, I watched Matt Lauer’s interview with war criminal George W. Bush online. When the former tool of Empire told Lauer, another tool of Empire, that a free press is indispensable to democracy, I recalled journalist Helen Thomas who was moved from her front-row seat at White House press conferences to the back because the Bush administration didn’t like her confrontational questions. Digging around, I found that Thomas called out the Obama administration’s press handling: “ . . . we have had some control but not this control. I mean I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency . . .” She continued by adding that not even Nixon tried to control the press as much as Obama did.
So now, Trump’s helming control, not just relegating but banning from attendance those venues he considers fake and failed, taking measures further than Bush, than Obama.
Trump’s no stranger to acrimony. He can divorce a newspaper, Television network, the establishment media as easily as he has women who’ve reached an expiration date he’s determined, although it appears he can coax reconciliation by reading a teleprompter.
For example, David Axelrod on CNN commended Trump’s Tuesday night performance for Congress: “If I’m on the Trump team, I’m very happy with this speech . . . There will be an afterglow from this speech. He should get a bump in the polls . . .”
Van Jones, on CNN, was orgasmic. Effusive over Trump’s tribute to Navy SEAL William Owens (no mention of the 30 murdered civilians or the wretched politics of the raid), killed in Yemen within days of Trump’s inauguration. Owens’s widow, seated in the gallery, received a standing ovation. She wept. Jones said, “That thing you just saw him do (exploit a war widow). If he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years . . . He became president of the United States.”
Does Jones know that Owens’s father refused to meet with Trump and has demanded an investigation of the mission that killed his son?
Meanwhile, I’ve been confused lately. So much so I feel reluctant to write. After all, how can I determine what’s real, what’s true, during this Surreality era despite an awareness that the muddle predates Trump? Predates not only Trump but also Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, etc.
I’m confused about what it means to be a Liberal or a Progressive, although at one time, I thought I knew. Someone advocating peace, a healthy planet, universal healthcare, inclusiveness, social programs, liberty and justice for all.
Recent past: Obama took the oath, secured the Nobel Peace Prize, droned whomever, checked off a name among his Kill List, expanded a strategy (not opposed to all wars, only dumb ones) of regime change. He talked. Talked pretty. Talked and cleared the table of universal healthcare, talked climate degradation but did nothing to reverse or arrest it, talked out one side of his mouth as his administration deported two million immigrants, two thirds of whom had committed minor infractions or had no criminal record, talked, even teared up a couple of times, when another black person was murdered by a cop.
Talk really isn’t cheap. It’s free. Free speech when uttered by the powerful. Unheard or costly when spoken by the marginalized.
Recently, I expressed my confusion to e-pal P. Told her that discerning accuracy is like wading through peanut butter and offered this as an early example of bullshit wrapped in silk:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Actions belie words.
Labels are dense with persuasion.
When a Democrat is in charge, Liberals and Progressives believe, or pretend, that the United States is a kinder address. Speaking of pretend, check this site, one for Hillary Clinton adherents. It’s an alternate world where Clinton is the 45th president—another confirmation that the Democratic Party is dead.
Back to that Bush interview: George W. was on the set to promote his book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to American Warriors. This is a collection of Bush’s paintings of wounded troops who served after 9/11. That the wars Bush lusted for and launched were based on lies is of no consequence to him now except as an outlet for his talent or lack thereof. No consequence either to Lauer who praised Bush for his support for Muslims after 9/11. Support before the shock and awe, support during more shock and awe. When Lauer asked Bush about Trump’s Muslim ban, Bush said he “understood right off the bat, Matt, that this is an ideological conflict, and people who murder the innocent are not religious people.”
Murdering the innocence. Raising money from his art hobby to benefit the injured troops. A breathtaking detachment from his decisions and their far-reaching aftermath, both at home and in the countries he devastated and more of the same propaganda inflicted with and since the crafting of the Declaration of Independence.
Missy Comley Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.