Calhouns Can(n)ons for December 3, 2010
When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.
The outrage I’m supposed to feel over the latest WikiLeaks release of purloined diplomatic cables keeps slipping into an evil chuckle. Yes, I know the previous dump of military information likely cost some lives. That blood is surely on the head of Julian Assange as he scuttles around from hiding place to hiding place, a wanted man-on-a-mission. But Assange likely doesn’t care about a few dead people. He’s a self-righteous naïf, supremely sure of the rightness of his cause and happy to accept the broken eggs needed for his righteous omelet, so long as it’s not his eggs that are broken.
But now WikiLeaks is promising another large data dump, this time exposing misdeeds by some large financial institution, and instead of a frown, I find my self growling with savage glee, “Yeah! Do it! DUMP IT ALL!”
That’s how tired I am of the lies. All the lies. We’re lied into war, we’re lied into national beggary, we’re lied into policies that damage us and damage our country. The culture is awash in lies, we’re drowning in them. Global warming doesn’t exist, Obamacare is trying to kill your Granny, tax cuts for millionaires won’t balloon the deficit, the free market will solve all problems, privatization is the answer, Wall Street doesn’t need any regulating, all taxes should be paid by The Other Guy, credit is always free, and all our problems will be solved if we just go shopping.
And instead of watchdogs in the press, we have corporate lapdogs or, in the case of Fox News, a media giant that’s little more than a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican party that acts as a political spin machine disguised as “news.” Instead of Mr. Smith going to Washington, we have a culture of corporate politicians, venal hacks revolving from Congress to K-Street and back again. We have become a nation that has lost all sense of shame: lie and cheat and steal and instead of a paper bag over the head, our felons go on “Dancing With The Stars” and become media darlings. We have bred a generation of indifferent DAs and regulators who know all about the frauds and lies and respond with a “Chinatown” shrug, then turn away: not their problem. And a populace more interested in what Paris Hilton’s doing than paying attention to who’s picking their pockets.
So, Enough! In the let-it-all-hang-out Facebook Age, what we need are more WikiLeaks, a new whistle blowing ethos, and a battle cry throughout the land: Dump it! Dump it all! I want America crawling with outraged idealistic naifs with pockets-full of memory sticks. Is your employer conspiring to make and sell products that will make your children sick? Get and dump his emails! Is your company polluting your drinking water with chemical waste in order to increase the company’s bottom line? Dump it! Shoddy coal-mining practices? Back-room cozy deals with city planners and developers? Wall Street gamblers gaming the system with your retirement money? Hypocritical Pols publicly grandstanding in the Culture Wars while privately foot-tapping in airport bathrooms? Dump it! Dump it all!
While it caused a furor, dumping diplomatic cables is small potatoes. I mean, is there anyone over the age of 12 who does not know that all national leaders often have very poor opinions of their counterparts? Or that catty “mean girl” private chat is the lingua franca of diplomatic cables? Or that nations regularly plot and plan against one another while publicly putting on a smiley face? Who doesn’t already know that?
But who knows what shoddy drilling project BP’s cooking up that will end up destroying your livelihood? Or what plans are underway in the boardrooms of Big Pharma to deliberately, knowingly start selling dangerous pills that will kill your child? Or what secret emails are being exchanged among government regulators indicating that they’re going to turn a blind eye to safety laws so when your husband goes down into that mine, he’ll never come back? Or what Congressional back-room deals are now being cut that will financially ruin you?
So, I say, Dump it. Dump it all! If sunshine is a disinfectant, then it’s way past time to open all the windows, turn on the lights, and hope that will finally awaken Clueless Nation.