Cynicism I Can Believe In

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Memo to Barack Obama: THIS IS WHY WE STOPPED GIVING A SHIT.

It wasn't health care, although that didn't help. It wasn't caving on a weak stimulus, although that didn't help either. It wasn't the decision to keep some of the architects of the current mess, like Gates and Bernanke, in their jobs.

It wasn't even the disappointment caused by unrealistically high expectations. Not for a lot of us. I never thought Obama could end two wars and fix the economy and get universal health care passed overnight. Or even in his first year. But I'm feeling that old cynicism again, like I haven't felt since the late 90s.

If you were politically aware during the 2000 election, you know what I'm talking about. The feeling that, at the end of the day, the difference between Democrats and Republicans, or, hell, the difference between an intelligent, charismatic president and the most catastrophic dumbfuck to hold the office in at least a century? That difference really doesn't matter much.

It's why people voted for Ralph Nader, you know. Not out of any great desire to see him get the job, but instead to protest the lack of significant choice. People look at who Al Gore is now, and what Bush did, and wonder how anyone could have felt that way, but guess what? Al Gore is only the Al Gore he is now because he didn't become President. Obama, on the other hand, did. And a year later, we're seeing this:

"A Justice Department-led task force has concluded that nearly 50 of the 196 detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be held indefinitely without trial under the laws of war, according to Obama administration officials." - The Washington Post.

That is unacceptable, unconscionable bullshit. If I expected one thing out of the Obama administration, I expected him to walk back the criminal and obscene detention policies of his fearmongering predecessors. And when I say "walk back", I didn't mean reduce it by 75% so that only four dozen people are held without charges.

And excuse me, "under the laws of war"? There are no laws of war that permit this. There are legal opinions crafted by complete bastards like John Yoo about what Bush could get away with during a war, but that's not the same as a law. And it's not the same as being right. So, what's their excuse? This pathetic pile of weasel-shit. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We're still moving forward and in a much more deliberate and less haphazard manner than was the case before. All policies encounter reality, and it's painful, but this one holds up better than most." - an anonymous administration official speaking to the Washington Post.

Fuck you, you coward. It doesn't matter how deliberate you are, or how not-haphazard you think you're being. You're still condemning 50 people to imprisonment for life in American military prisons because they're so guilty they can't be set free, but not so guilty that you can prove their guilt. And we're supposed to trust you that this is OK, because you're more deliberate about it than Chucklefuck was?

No. The whole point of the laws and restrictions is because we don't trust you. Not with that kind of power. You say the policy encountered reality. I know exactly what reality you're talking about. The political reality involved in doing the right thing. Bush and company spent eight years conditioning this country that impossible safety from unlikely threats is infinitely more valuable than our laws and ideals.

And the reality is, they've probably figured these fifty people will, if released, kill Americans the first chance they get. And if they do, the same attitudes that kept Bush in office for eight years will have Obama's ass on a platter for the unforgivable sin of failing to keep Americans safe.

But a talented politician with vast popularity and a command of rhetoric could turn that around, if he thought it was important enough. Killers go free all the time when prosecutors fuck up the case. Those are the consequences of fucking up. And Obama wants to avoid the consequences of Dubya's fuckup so much that he's willing to continue it rather than convince the lazy fucks that make up the general population that they will have to sacrifice a tiny fraction of their safety in order to right a grave wrong.

And that's precisely the kind of crap I didn't vote for last November. That's precisely the kind of crap a lot of us didn't vote for last November. So if you're wondering why, this November, we're not sending twenty bucks over the Internet and chanting "Yes We Can", well, it's because you're just going to give those twenty bucks to Goldman Sachs, and we know now that "Yes We Can" is inevitably followed by "But We Won't".