Friday, July 22, 2005

Michael: Guilty Children

One mark of mature responsibility is the willingness to own up to mistakes and atone for the harm caused. Children who have learned to distinguish right from wrong, but haven't yet acquired the good sense to avoid doing wrong, have a typical response to their own mistakes: they cover them up. They try to hide the evidence. They lie with outrageous abandon. They ask others to lie for them. They threaten others with dire repercusions if they fail to lie for them. They'll do just about anything to cover up their misdeeds, including more misdeeds. It's just what children do. Which is why we try to avoid giving children any vital responsibilties; it's just asking for a disaster.

That is why the Administration's desperate attempts to hide the evidence of horrible wrongdoing at Abu Ghraib and other detension facilities are so troubling. They are trying to hide the graphic and horrifying evidence of murder, rape and torture (yes, not just 'rough interrogation' happened there) that would open Americans' eyes to just how completely this Administration had failed in its responsibilities. It's very much like a pack of guilty, willful children are running our country. It should give you nightmares; if it doesn't, you never spent much time with children.

It is also why the Plame Game, or Rove v. Wave, or whatever you want to call it, is actually important. Just like children caught spreading nasty rumours, or telling a secret they shouldn't have, Rove and Libby are certainly 'shading the truth' (lying) about their role in outting Plame. (And if anyone leaves some assinine comment about how it wasn't a crime, or Plame wasn't really under cover, I'm going to find you and break your legs.) They compromised national security to further their mud fight, now they are desparately engaged in covering it up. It this play were not backed by the White House, it would just be a few naughty kids, but apparently there are no adults residing at the White House now. The place should be called Neverland East.

Every time this Administration does something illegal, immoral, unethical, stupid, or just plain incompetent, its first instinct is hide the evidence and lie flagrantly, just like a guilty child. But they have immense power, the savvy to lawyer up, and the presumptive secrecy of national security on their side - not to mention a compliant media ready to broadcast their lies - which naughty children don't. But as far as I can see, that's as far as the difference goes.

Tonight, when you are in bed, your family snugged away for the night, think of a mischievious child about to be caught in a terrible, life destroying mistake with his finger on The Button. It's going to be a long night.


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