Perhaps because I had been away from news consumption for the past week, yesterday’s headlines seemed ominously full of arrogance but also, conversely, refreshingly honest. It seems to me that the way the administration, its presumed successor, and their legislative henchmen and media minions were (almost merrily) staggering forward means this thing I wrote in October has essentially met its day:
Between the compliant, incurious and obsequious press, a cadre of fully-established-and-in-place White House Czars, continual “flick of the wrist, law of the land” Executive Orders, a noodle-spined congress, a senate controlled by a man who feels no compunction about stopping any-and-all-legislation not completely to his liking, and a couple more Supreme Court Justices?
“Hey, transmit to Vladimir (and Chavez, and Ahmadinejad and who-all else) that if they can just wait until after the election — then I can do as I damn please. I’ve got the precedents. I’ve got the tools, I’ve got the talent; I’ve got the drones, foreign and domestic.
And I’ll never have to answer to the press, the congress or the American people, again.”
We’re heeeere. Yesterday, a president stood up and told the country he’s making an end run around a co-equal branch of government and not an eye seemed to bat. The Party has won, and we will quickly watch everyone rush to insure that they are members-in-good-standing of The Party. They surely don’t want to have to stand on line with the proles.
The press cannot help itself, it is still mad with love, if not for the administration, then for The Party. Who is not in love may still be willing to fall in line, for a variety of reasons. Some of them may be looking at the death of Michael Hastings and thinking, “even if it really was just an accident and not — as some conspiracy theorists are trying to argue — a car-hacked-take-out (which would be breathtaking but still seems too outlandish to consider), there is no reason to put anything at all at risk. Just hang on and enjoy the ride…” and they’ll get everything they think they want, politically.
In pursuit of utopia there is no boat so terribly worth rocking in this administration, anymore.
Benghazi? “Hey, wasn’t Hillary great, telling off Congress? Only partisan freaks think that’s a real story! What situation room pictures, what orders? You’re just a racist partisan!”
AP Phone records and criminalizing journalism? “Aw, they admitted things got ‘a little out of whack, there.’ They’ll never, ever pick on us journalists, again! We’re having special off-the-record meetings again! He loves us, again!”
Sharyl Attkisson’s computer tampering? “That could have been anyone! We don’t know for sure that it was the government! And hell, if it was the government, she might have had it coming! She was practically being a partisan advocate by asking questions!”
NSA Excesses and the expansion of the hated Bush policies? “All perfectly legal, and we must need it or Obama wouldn’t be doing it. Come on, privacy is a fake issue. If you have nothing to hide, you have no problem. Shouldn’t Greenwald be in jail for making such a fuss and uncovering our secret totally legal secrets? And besides, who knows if Snowden isn’t doing the government’s bidding by letting everyone know that it’s better to lie low than be singled out, anymore? All Snowden has done, really, is facilitated the utter collapse of the GOP. And they were stupid and corrupt, anyway, which is why they have so much to hide, and why they’re just shutting down on every issue.”
IRS story? “No, that story is over. A few bad apples. Clearly the government was using a very broad list of cues! Look! A filibuster is happening in the Texas state legislature! It’s AWESOME! Not like that stupid, showboating one on the floor of the senate earlier this year! She’s wearing pink sneakers! She’s totally blowing us away with her substance!
Truthfully, it’s very easy to succumb to the shiny-things shout-out. Even as a news-junkie, I have trouble remembering all the stories and all the questions. They disappear so quickly — often within a news cycle — because the mainstream press, which still controls the national dialogue, has been reminded to stay on message.
In October, I wrote:
A republic cannot withstand the loss of an unencumbered press, and our press wasn’t even pressured into its encumbrances; it took them on willfully, carried Obama into the White House on its shoulders and then bowed out of the Oval chamber, ass-first and with besotted trembling.
For a few weeks, this spring, it looked like a few reporters might actually want to be journalists again, might actually want to regain some of the credibility they’d shredded in service to their beloved, but that seizure quickly passed. All it took for Obama to get the press back on their kneepads was a short “off the record” meeting, high above the clouds, where he assured them that they really are just as special, just as elite, as they’ve believed, and that he loves them and will give them the things they want. Like battered children with few options, they’ll believe him.
And since it looks like Hillary will have no serious competitor from either party in 2016 — in any case no one whose past and reputation cannot quickly be put through the shredder and strewn about (with a confetti spray of over-emphasized gaffes a-plenty for that all-important “look how stupid/crazy he-she is!” endnote) — there’s really no reason for the press to rehabilitate itself, after all.
Yesterday, the collection of headlines I looked at, from the climate/energy fakery to Mrs. Pelosi’s spooky near-hysterics in support of a late-term abortion filibuster rang like this in my head:
Lies = Truth. We laugh at opposition, because there really isn’t any; not from the political side, not from the church side. We own the media; we own the academy and labor; we own the White House. Soon will own the courts. Half the country isn’t paying attention and the other half has been successfully demagogued and discredited. They’re only talking to themselves.
Even dull old, spiteful, I-can’t-believe-I-voted-for-him Jimmy Carter knows it; The Party has become untouchable. he’s letting his hateful freak flag fly by raising it against the easiest, most-permissible target — the one entity that The Party, now having insured its control over everything else — will soon turn every cannon toward:
Just as that fuss [about Obama's remarks in Ireland] was dying down, though, with a few “But I still say he was anti-Catholic”s sputtering over the interwebz like the last kernels of corn popping in a microwave, along comes the dark horse to show ‘em what anti-Catholic sounds like. Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.
In a TIME Magazine interview with Elizabeth Dias published Sunday. . .former President Jimmy Carter blithely blamed the Catholic Church for the abuse and oppression of women throughout history and across cultures. No veiled hints here…
Joanne McPortland does an absolutely beautiful job of schooling Jimmy Carter. Go read it all. Send it around, particularly to people who he’s got a point.
While everyone else is tilting at windmills, insisting that “if we just work hard, keep telling the truth, keep repeating ourselves in our echo chambers, we can still win” (an insistence that assists The Party by keeping most folks distracted and divided, by the way) The Party is intent on accomplishing a kind of coup against the Catholic church and all believers of “orthodox” stripe. Tax-exempt status’ will soon be stripped. Lawsuits will be filed. Properties will be confiscated and awarded elsewhere. A Carter-ballyhooed “enlightened” American Catholic Church will quickly emerge — one happily in tune with the secular government and all of its social pronouncements; one that can “partner” with the government in a way the stubborn old Roman church never would. Its pews will fill early because its message will resonate with the Oprahesque and shallow Gospel of Feeling Good About Ourselves that we have been so attentively tutored-to these past decades.
There will be bells; there will be smells; there will be rites and rituals and it will all seem like the Catholic church, but it won’t be. It will be the Church of The Party.
China has one, too. The Roman church, the remnant, lives underground.
And then our idolatry will be fully accomplished, as we look at that shiny utopian feel-goodism and see nothing greater than ourselves, reflected back.
Our bishops fully understand this, which is why they are emphasizing the role of Christian martyrs in the history of the church during this Fortnight for Freedom
I’m sorry; I know this seems like a downer to read. Yesterday I was so overwhelmed by the sense of centers having not held that I had to go back to this First Things piece from last November to remind myself what I know to be true: that in the end, our interior lives will be our most subversive tools.
Read about the people who understand that governments and nations come and go, and that Eternity is all we ever actually are meant to serve. As Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton put it: “we were born for Eternity.”
I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’ – though it contains some samples or glimpses of final victory. — J.R.R. Tolkien (via)
The SCOTUS unsurprising and quite expected rulings came down as I was writing this. Just wanted to note that nothing I wrote above had anything to do with today’s news. I was still working on yesterday’s headlines! That said, the DOMA ruling doesn’t change anything I wrote above. It’s all of a piece. Here is the USCCB response to it, though.
Golly, Joanne started writing again at just the right time: “Keep Calm and Catholic On”.
Seems we’re on a similar wavelength: Fr. Dwight is feeling very concerned.
Glenn Reynolds links, says I’m not enjoying the party!. Clever line! I’m actually having a pretty good time, all things considered!