Now That's Some Motherfucking Freedom of Speech:
Let us pause for a moment to honor the rudeness of another. Al Gore gave an exhilirating, cathartic orgasm of a speech yesterday in New York City. Read the whole thing. Watch the video on C-SPAN. Be patient and try a few times - the server has been overloaded for a while now. Why? Because Gore articulated, succinctly, precisely, ass-kicking-ly, what many, many Americans have been thinking for months, if not years, now.
Now, the Rude Pundit has not been kind to Gore: he believes the former Vice-President "lost" the "election" in 2000 on his own. Yeah, yeah, Bush was installed, blah, blah, the media, yes, yes, Ralph Nader, yeah, go fuck yourself. All those things are true. But, bottom line, it should have been a blowout for someone running on Clinton's record, and Gore fucked it up. (And the Rude Pundit also realizes that a President Gore would not have been allowed to govern by a GOP so filled with evil and hatred that it can barely breathe because of the scarring bloat of cruelty that fills its gullet.)
What's startling about Gore's speech is not the cleansing breath of actual intellectual thought combined with a sense of history in his references to Freud, Eisenhower and others, although, goddamn, it's about time someone so public mentioned the depravities of the Marquis De Sade in relation to Abu Ghraib and not just the easy analogy to the much-maligned gay porn; it's not the stunning breadth of evidence Gore lays out in order to exonerate the motives of the "few rotten apples" while impeaching the motives of those who ordered them to treat the prisoners like so many carcasses waiting to be carved up when he says, "Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even - we must use the word - tortured - to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say. These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House;" it's not that Gore takes it all the way to the President, daring to invoke "corruption," "viciousness," "betrayal," "dishonest," and "atrocious" in relation to Bush, which one-ups Nancy Pelosi in Democratic rage towards the administration; it's not his amazing declaration that Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice, and others should resign for the good of the country, something we used to call "honorable;" it's not his recognition of the devaluing of America in the eyes of the world or even the simple recognition that the U.S. has to deal with the rest of the world, as well as the "payback" for our recklessly ignoring the Geneva Conventions; it's not his intonation of all the anti-Bush people from the military and government, like Clarke, Wilson, Zinni. While all these things are enough to make the speech vital, there's something else, at the end, that makes it something else.
Almost at his conclusion, Gore says, "In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president. I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability." Finally, in that moment, too little, too late, of course, but still, Gore says what we've been wanting to hear: he was honorable towards dishonorable men; he was a mensch to the putzes; he was the strong adult to the petulant children; and he was wrong.
Of course, Gore will be ignored, mostly, except for ad hominem and useless attacks that fail to address anything that he actually said. Fuck, the GOP, in its wonderfully hysterical, proto-McCarthy way, has decided to attack MoveOn.org, which sponsored the speech, saying that MoveOn's issue positions discredit Gore. And their official statement on the speech provides a litany of the terrorist attacks that happened in the Clinton Administration, saying that Gore must have "amnesia" or doesn't understand the "threat of global terror." Which, to be sure, begs the question of how much the current Adminstration understands that threat, but still, it all, all is a consciously blind refusal to answer any criticism. Just wait for the editorials, the Hannities, the O'Reillys.
And it was one sweet, sweet-assed motherfucker of a speech, so direct, so unlike anything we've been hearing for so, so long, in this democracy, this America, the place where we are supposed to be able talk and question openly, but this place where it has become an anomaly to actually do so. One can be sure that Kerry and his people had two reactions: anger at the distraction and the implicit tie to him, and jealousy that only a man with nothing left to lose can be so liberated in the so-called "Land of the Free."