December 15th, 2016 |
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5
Pogo, the comic strip that ran in newspapers from 1948 to 1975, delighted folks with its social and political satire. Pogo was a swamp possum that “called into question the reasonable, patient, softhearted, naïve, friendly people we think we are.” The column was full of animal characters that embodied anthropomorphic characteristics. Often sardonic and reflective of human nature, the column was entertaining while, at the same time, offering astute observations about the world and human nature.
Perhaps the most famous reference to Pogo was the strip that depicted him looking in the mirror, after he and Albert Alligator had looked over a wasteland of trash in the swamp, and saying, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
The November election challenges us, as individuals and as a nation, to take the mirror test I wrote about a couple of days ago. Do the Pogo routine.
As we try to analyze the election and come to some reasonable explanation about how we got Donald Trump for our next president, it is tempting to look for a scapegoat. It’s inevitable, born out of the desire to assign blame for the end result.
Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us to be wary of the military industrial complex. He was right about that. War, as he well knew, is capable of disfiguring the lives of friend and foe. He was also right with another warning: “The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.”
The scapegoat du jour on the political menu right now is Russia. In this post-election period, when people are trying to figure out how Donald Trump became president, the social network and the media are saturated with news and commentary depicting Russia as the convenient scapegoat for leaked material.
The news media, reflecting post-election political chatter, is consumed by the charges that Russia, trying to influence our presidential election, hacked into Democratic Party e-mails. Engineering the release of some of the material, it might appear that Russia was attempting to get Donald Trump elected president. Mr. Putin himself is getting the blame for the pre-election material that was leaked to the media.
Who’s to be trusted when it comes to reliable information, the spooks at the CIA, as well as some of the other intelligence agencies of our government? What we can say, and must face up to, is the fact that the Russian KGB and our CIA mirror one another. Both have a long, nefarious history full of deceptive lies, devious and deadly chicanery, and political interference in other nations that even includes assassination.
A member of Congress, appearing on CNN, made the comment that if our nation tampered with another nation’s election, trying to influence the results, we would be outraged by our government doing such a thing. Russia does that, not our country.
As uncomfortable as it may be, perhaps I should make a list of my own nation’s behavior among the nations of the world, and, like Santa, check it twice before we put switches and a piece of coal in the toe of Russia’s Christmas stocking.
· Iran—1953—We engineered the overthrow of the duly elected Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, utilizing CIA involvement.
· Guatemala—1954—We engineered the overthrow of the duly elected President, Jacobo Arbenz, utilizing CIA involvement.
· The Democratic Republic of the Congo—1960-1961—We engineered the overthrow and assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected prime minister, utilizing CIA involvement.
· Chile—1973—We helped engineer the assassination of President Salvador Allende, utilizing CIA involvement
· Central America—1980’s—We engineered the support for war against the people in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, utilizing CIA involvement
· Afghanistan—1980s & 2001—We engineered continuing support for the eventual overthrow of the government and military leadership, utilizing CIA involvement
· Iraq—1991 & 2003—We engineered the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, our ally against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), utilizing CIA involvement
· Libya—2014—We engineered the overthrow and assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, utilizing CIA involvement.
There are plenty more, but I trust you get the point.
Let it be clearly understood, I abhor any nation messing with our elections, just like I despise the denial of voting rights, the suppression of our eligible electorate, including any tampering with ballots. But a self-righteous posture that turns a blind eye toward our own skullduggery smacks of hypocrisy.
When that happens, we fail the mirror test.
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