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Lance Simmens Headshot

Sock and Awe(ful)

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Does it seem to you that November 4 was a long, long time ago? Does it also seem to you that the interregnum between November 4 and January 20 is an interminably long period of time? Does it seem almost as though time is standing still?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you are most likely among the overwhelming majority of people who are one, surprised that we actually made it through the Bush years, two, concerned over the damage they can still do on their way out the door, and three, beyond anxious awaiting the arrival of the new order.

I have tried very hard to focus on the future, and not waste time lamenting the squandered opportunities of the past eight years. Each time I believe I have gotten to that magical place where my mind is at peace these clowns plunge us right back into the spider hole they have occupied for so long. This past week our mad political scientist, Dr. Dick Cheney emerged from an unannounced location to remind us how proud he is of the role he played in lowering the standards of decency and democracy by committing others to fight a war with no apparent justification other than his warped conception of the world, and the subsequent actions defying the Geneva convention that opened the way for torture to be the operative norm for treatment of prisoners by the leading nation of the Free World.

I recall vividly a documentary on the bombing of Tokyo during the closing days of World War II and a comment by future General Curtis Le May in which he told the brass planning the assault that it was a good thing we were going to win this thing because otherwise they, the brass in the room, would be treated as war criminals otherwise. That has stuck with me, it is clear demonstration of the axiom, where you stand depends upon where you sit.

I find this legacy tour the Bush Administration is conducting an abomination. It is sickening to watch the president and vice-president so desperate to claim some degree of perceived moral authority over the dastardly formulation and disastrous implementation of the most vile, evil, and profoundly unsuccessful military adventure in history. Normally I am inclined to offer that there is room for reasonable people to disagree, however in this case what is missing is a voice of reason. It is a deadly perversion of the old parental exasperation "because I said so."

Well, we as a free society should strengthen our resolve that "never again" will we allow our leaders a free pass on such weighty matters of life and death. We are owed an explanation, we are owed a well-defined and reasoned justification for action, our elected representatives at all levels owe us a return on the trust investment we place in them, and further we demand accountability for subsequent actions taken on our behalf.

We can "handle the truth", we must or else the justification for our existence as a free society crumbles. In a discussion with my good friend, the distinguished actor Ed Asner, he described an unquestioning public as "sheeple." Well, Bush and Cheney were the herdsmen and they led us to the slaughterhouse.

So where is the accountability? Those of us who are parents constantly remind our children that there are consequences for actions. If that is the case what are the consequences of these actions?

What makes me so angry is that these people are not only not held accountable, but allowed to attempt a very public showing of vindication. It is truly theatre of the absurd. If there were any degree of self-respect whatsoever they would merely bow out, go away, slink into their very cushy retirements, accumulate even more wealth on the lecture circuit, play golf, clear brush, whatever.

Reinstituting trust in the institutions and personalities of government is going to be difficult enough, and President-elect Obama is mightily striving to do just that. But the actions of the outgoing President and VP continue to rub salt into still fresh wounds. We talk of making the moguls of industry accountable for the economic catastrophe they have wreaked on the American people, and they should be made to answer. The complicity of government regulators and governmental processes which allowed for this to occur does not inspire confidence, so too does the complicity of Congress in not holding the Executive Branch accountable for their actions dampen trust in the system of checks and balances intended to protect us from such.

Is the best we have to offer sockandawe.com, the game of electronically throwing shoes at the President? I must admit I derive great pleasure in participating in this exercise, and obviously I am not alone, when last I checked in excess of 46 million shoes have found the mark and the number grows by the second. Is this the best we can do?

I am grudgingly willing to allow these crooks to merely go away, but if they insist on taking advantage of the good nature of all of us by insulting our integrity then at some point we need to say no mas, enough is enough, you must be dealt with and learn a lesson. This is not a radical concept, it is merely common decency.