‘The new normal’ is a phrase in vogue recently, and for good reason. What used to be considered outrageous, cynical, even profoundly absurd is now treated with all the deference one bestows on their polar opposites: appropriate, right, just, fair. Is it normal that the Department of Justice, in the midst of its leak investigation, kept logs of the phone lines of one of the world’s oldest news organizations? Is it normal that hundreds of marathoners and their families happened to collide with two troubled kids tangentially connected to separatist struggles against Russia? Seem alright that the choice presented to the public from self-designated experts is the false dichotomy of “job growth” versus “protecting the planet”? Have we become so propagandized that these questions no longer make sense?
Oftentimes this correspondent is nearly slack-jawed at some of the headlines buzzing around, and wonders what happened to the strange notion that if Americans change the way they live, and live in fear, the terrorists win. Most of the paranoia and anxiety in the land seems directed at the federal government — and “the world” is dismissed as irrelevant, as if we have nothing to learn from other nations. In the last decade, some of that arrogance has faded, probably because it has gotten too costly to be a global constable. And, you know, those benighted natives will never embrace democracy…
It is normal, now, that the Associated Press gets subpoenaed for doing its job, in a move its own chief bluntly described as against the law, and it is normal that a CIA whistleblower got slapped with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for outing the identities of known torturers. It is also standard operating procedure that the man who destroyed the videotapes of those tortures recently received a promotion. These sordid affairs all took place during the reign of Hope and Change.
Meanwhile, our men and women in Afghanistan are being commanded to train an irredeemably corrupt and incompetent national police force, as shown in shocking detail in a recent documentary. This writer is not old enough to remember Vietnam, but this mess sounds an awful lot like it.
Lest we forget our dead, reqiuescet in pacem.