Monday, April 19, 2010

Truly Great Essay -- about Truth and phoniness


Phoniness undermines hope, especially remaining correlated with wealth and fame. Karl Rove, the master of guile, is revered, with his own soapbox; W., who mouthed his every deception, is a well-heeled stage monkey; and my favorite, one Alberto Gonzales, the amnesiac attorney general who infected our Justice Dept. with criminal schemes, well, okay, he's a shyster lawyer having trouble finding work.

Let me recognize the rare honest commentators: Bill Moyers, John Dean, Bruce Fein, Frank Rich, Glenn Greenwald, Jim Hightower, Amy Goodman and three or four others I neglect. No doubt a dozen or two politicians still boast insides that match outsides, like Ron Paul, Russ Feingold, Dennis Kucinich (mostly), Carl Levin, and whatever your favorite pick. Heroes don't have to be right or prescient not to be phonies, just independent, courageously mavericky voices who tell the truth almost all of the time, believe in evidence, reason, democracy, majority rule, elections and precedence.

Which brings us to desperado John McCain, reviled just when he deserves belated credit for admitting he's a world-class flimflammer. "Never a maverick, not me," comes the cry to get re-elected. What about daily reminders with that fellow maverick on the campaign trail? Some other guy titled McCain's autobiography, Worth Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick....

Beyond politics, phoniness dominates organized religion, business, sports, and the media, even scientists who mess with global warming numbers. It turns out we have "death panels," but intellectual and moral ones - entrenched mindsets that serve not telling the truth, that reward manipulation, discredited ideology, and con artists like Sarah Palin or Michael Steele. Any economic system paying Glenn Beck $32 million dollars, or Rush Limbaugh $400 million, while banishing Bill Moyers, is committing intellectual suicide, awash in propaganda to match its phony wars.