Thursday, November 20, 2008

Living in Fantasyland

When we were kids, my sister and I used to wish we could hide on Tom Sawyer's Island and live in Disneyland. That never happened, but now I feel like I'm living in Disneyland. Not in Adventureland, but in Fantasyland. I am being urged to believe six impossible things before breakfast, just like the Red Queen.

The two year election is over, and there is great joy around the country - for we have elected Tweedle-Dum, who will bring peace, prosperity and joy, unlike that rotten Tweedle-Dee, who so clearly was a worse evil.

But now the media steps up to the task of tamping expectations, for the true rulers of Fantasyland see no profit in peace and generalized prosperity. Luckily, they have honed the art of manipulating public opinion, and are up to the task. We are told that war brings peace, that ignorance is the wisdom of the common person, and that black and white combined make black. We are told that we are the greatest country in the world and that the whole world looks up to us as a shining city, and that it's our role to bring democracy to all, or at least to the survivors of our attacks. Other countries have national health care, but not us, because we are free. Other countries have maternity leave, and vacation time, but that's for wimps.

In fairy tales, magic spells are placed and they can't be broken, except by special deeds or people. Now we are being told, with great solemnity, that Bush can make royal decrees that can't be undone by Obama. What? I don't believe it. But I'm apparently the only one who doesn't. Left wing media, right wing media - they all accept that this is true. Think about this. What kind of magic does Bush have that can't be undone by Obama? Why can Obama reverse the stem cell spell, but not the environmental protection spell? He can close Guantanamo, but not save polar bears? What kind of law is this?

The law has always been used by the rich against the poor. There are laws that seem universal, but really only will be broken by the poor. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread". –Anatole France, Le Lys rouge ch. vii (1894).

There are laws which cover small crimes and ignore big crimes. At the same time that Congress was giving $700 billion to Wall Street bankers, two guys robbed a local bank in my town. Guess which got more news coverage?
Biased laws have been around for a while. Remember the poem protesting the enclosure laws in England, when peasants lost the right to use the commons.
"The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose."

But to me it seems even worse now. The FISA law, which said that people who broke the law were retroactively not guilty. What? The prisoner in Guantanamo, convicted of breaking a law which wasn't written until he'd been in prison for two years. What? Not only are we being told that Bush can make royal decrees that can't be undone, we are being told that he can premptively pardon his co-conspirators for crimes for which they have not yet been indicted. What? The media is saying with great assurance that the rich and powerful are not subject to the law. Not because the law is written to protect them, but because they have the power to alter the laws, to retroactively and to premptively create innocence where there is clearly guilt.

No. I protest.


Flimsy Sanity said...

The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them -Albert Einstein

Well, Obama's choices for minions show that America won't be getting any change in attitude for the next four years. I did have a little sliver of hope that he would choose smart progressive people but a rerun of Clinton's policy wonks is what hastened the current situation. Dr. Howard Dean for Health and Human Services or Joe Wilson for Secretary of State would have been a hoot.

Flimsy Sanity said...

Oh and Peter Schiff for Treasury. The whole speech is interesting, but the analogy he makes on the first video is great.