Saturday, October 29, 2005

Down in Plames?


American Prospect Online - ViewWeb

If the Republicans...really want to debate the relative severity of getting a blowjob in the Oval Office against that of outing a CIA agent, as the president himself once said, bring ‘em on.

I suppose what I've never understood is not only why conservatives are so chicken but why they're scared of relatively remote possibilities but not in the least worried about close probabilities, and why they inflate venial sins but ignore major outrages.

I just can't get worked up over terrorism--even after 9/11 the odds of getting caught in a terrorist attack are less than the odds of being struck by lightening. I don't understand the obsession with crime--episodic, rare and unlikely--or parents in my leafy suburb who won't let their kids walk a quarter of a mile to school in broad daylight. I can't understand why people are so chicken-shit that they clamor for Big Men in the the White House to protect them and cops to keep them safe.

I also don't understand why they aren't more scared of poverty and drudgery, and of ending up a throwaway--old, sick, alone and impoverished. Walmart is the country's largest employer and the odds of ending up doing underpaid, dead-end drudge work are much higher than the odds of getting caught in a terrorist attack. Maybe it's simply a lack of imagination--people can imagine themselves caught on the 80th floor of a collapsing high-rise but can't seem to imagine themselves day after day behind a cash register scanning groceries or keying in data, year after year, or being old and poor, living in a downtown room alone, without anything to do or any way out. Why aren't people more scared of the miserable life that is a real and present danger to everyone in a society without safety nets?

But returning to the theme, if people really are scared of terrorism and of threats to national security, why aren't they more scared of having a CIA operative outed in retaliation for political insubordination than they are of having evolution taught in high school biology classes or same sex marriage legalized? What am I missing?

I'm generally not very interested in international affairs, including the war in Iraq. I'm interested in the safety nets that protect people from discrimination, poverty and drudgery domestically. But If I were worried about international affairs I would be horrified at the current administration's brinksmanship in negotiating with North Korea and idiotic adventures in the middle east. And I would be scared out of my head at the idea that the government was prepared to compromise security for petty political purposes--because if this is what happened in the case of Valerie Plame it makes me wonder what what other dangerous monkey business has been going on habitually under the radar in the interests of pushing through the administration's political agenda.

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