May 12, 2005

Moral Equivalence

I was watching a TV quiz show the other night. For a chance at $1 million, this guy had to answer what country did imprisoned Nobel Prize Winner and genuine freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi come from? It was multiple choice. He whittled it down to a choice of two and he still wasn't sure. Worse yet, most of the audience advised him to choose the wrong answer (Vietnam).

Watching that made me realize (again) how difficult it is to get people informed on what is really going on with the Bush cabal. It's bad enough that our politicians lie habitually. It's worse that the media spread the lies and fail to retract them afterwards. But when people just don't care, what are you gonna do about it?

One thing we anti-war / anti-Bush protesters can do is keep a clear message. That means sticking to our principles. There is a widespread assumption that idealism died out with the 60's and is not only unhelpful, but actually counter-productive. I don't believe that. I think what the world needs now is a whole heap of idealism. As in ideals. As in values.

Here's what I'm talking about. Ted Rall today looks at all the big media stories on Iraq which have turned out to be lies: Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, the WMDs, the plastic thanksgiving turkey, the staged toppling of Saddam's statue... But then he says:
We shouldn't blame the White House for producing lies; that's what politicians do. But we expect better from the media who disseminate them.
Hunh??? Why shouldn't expect our politicians to be honest, Ted? We should damn well DEMAND it, especially on issues where people's lives are at stake.

Similarly, Molly Ivins today highlights the "smoking gun" memo but then falls for the old moral justification trap:
"Enough said. What to do? Now that we're there, at least we're on the right side..."
What does THAT mean? How is the USA on the right side, unless you've fallen for Bush's inane "with us or with the terrorists" ideology.

Now don't get me wrong. Rall and Ivins are perhaps the two best, most consistently in-your-face writers in the USA today. But when we start accepting these half-truths for the sake of practicality (or so people will stop calling us moonbats, etc) then we are already halfway to losing our credibility.

There is such a thing as the objective Truth. Let's all stick with it.

UPDATE: Now today the headline at BuzzFlash is calling the US Senate "the world's greatest deliberative body" - oh, please!!!

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