A View From The Handbasket

Saturday, January 21, 2006
Pat Boone wants us off his fascist lawn
Posted by neros_fiddle at 7:42 PM
World O' Crap (which performs the vital service of reading all the mouth-breathing neocon web sites so we don't have to) alerts us to this piece by Pat Boone. Yes, that Pat Boone. I didn't realize he was a Michelle Malkin wannabe, but whatever keeps him happy and away from the recording studio is OK by me.

Anyway, WOC does a fine job with this, but I wanted to hone in a bit on one section in particular. Pat is all excited that the Italians arrested a bunch of people that were allegedly planning to blow up a bunch of stuff, and he gets really excited when he talks about how wiretaps were involved. (No word if these wiretaps had the authority of a warrant -- in the 24 fantasy world of the neocon, there's no difference between legitimate and illegitimate exercise of government power. The police state is always right, as long as the trains run on time.) He then attacks liberals who want to take away his warrantless wiretapping and other Big Brother toys (thus dooming us all to fiery death), and goes into Grampa-tells-off-the-youngsters mode:

Am I one of the last remaining Americans who remembers the civil liberties we all suspended, voluntarily, during World War II? To keep ourselves and our neighbors alive, we endured blackouts rather early every evening, gave up most all gasoline and nylon and butter and sugar and many other things we were accustomed to, accepted ration stamps, women went to work in defense plants ("Rosie the Riveter"), and there was the nationwide feeling we were "in this thing together." Since so many of our finest young people were putting their very lives on the line – we felt we'd make any personal sacrifice to support them and win the war.

What's happened to us? Is there no national resolve anymore?

As WOC correctly notes, the things he mentions have nothing to do with civil liberties. There's no Constitutional right to nylon and butter. But what's especially interesting about this passage is that Pat's right (he's just not right in the way he thinks he is).

The rationing and sacrifice on the home front during WWII did engender a national unity and sense of purpose. It was a constant reminder of what was at stake and how vital the war was. Comforts like sugar and electricity could wait in the face of the Axis. Don't waste gas and rubber hauling food around the country -- grow a Victory Garden. Aside from the obvious practical imperatives, rationing drove home that we were serious about the war.

Compare that to the Global War On Terror, which the neocons would have you believe is the moral equivalent of WWII. We have not been asked to sacrifice anything except soldiers' lives and tax dollars for this "war." In fact, we're getting a string of tax cuts and being urged to shop and consume as if everything were normal. High gas prices are attacked as a problem, not seen as a part of the struggle to move past the era where oil dominates the Middle East. $1.99 jingoistic magnetic ribbons have replaced gas ration stickers as the vehicular emblem of wartime.

What does this mean? Is it that the government is scared to ask us to actually sacrifice something for the war because they don't think we support fighting al Qaeda (or, more to the point, that they're scared we might wonder why we invaded Iraq in the first place)? Is the notion of personal sacrifice passe? Is our "right" (or, according to Pat, our civil liberty) to fuel our Hummers more important than the war effort?

We can only speculate why the Bush administration keeps telling us how important this "war" is while never asking us to support it in any real way. But I don't think it's unreasonable to theorize that they see it more as a part of the Republican platform and image than as an actual struggle that transcends political ideology.

I'll leave analysis of Pat's preference of Dirty Harry over Perry Mason as the symbol of the United States government, along with his desire for the government to monitor all his personal communication, as an exercise for the reader.

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