I Was Not Angry Since I Came To France

My country tis of thee …

F.B.I. field agents, who were not told of the domestic surveillance programs, complained they often were given no information about why names or numbers had come under suspicion. A former senior prosecutor, who was familiar with the eavesdropping programs, said intelligence officials turning over the tips “would always say that we had information whose source we can’t share, but it indicates that this person has been communicating with a suspected Al Qaeda operative.” He said, “I would always wonder, what does ‘suspected’ mean?”

I am going to be ill.

Contrary to what our friends in the wingersphere think, I don’t wake up every morning full of hope that the Bush administration will lie, cheat, steal and fuck up. I don’t wake up wanting to be told that everything our elected leaders have told us is a pack of lies. And the confirmation of my vague suspicions that these guys are up to no good does not fill me with glee. Nobody’s dancing in my house tonight. I am sickened. But I am not surprised.

I would rather have felt flabbergasted that our strong and upright government could do such a thing. I would rather have felt shocked because this was the first or the only thing that had turned out like this: all fear and thunder, and then nothing. Then this vacuum, this knowledge that the magnitude of their lies is only eclipsed by their ineptitude at covering them up. I would rather have felt anything.

Anything but this deadening sense that yes, this was exactly how we thought it would turn out. That they’re not keeping us safe, that they’re not being honest, that they’re not at all concerned about the cloud of suspicion this places over everything else they have ever done or will ever do. This is how we thought it was gonna go down, right? Exactly like this. Because this is the gang that can’t shoot straight, the team that can’t put a forkful of waffles in their mouths without coughing up the ball, the guys who’ve gone 0 for all in terrorism prosecutions, the guys who promised stockpiles of weapons where no weapons were, the guys who said every Middle Eastern man is the enemy. The guys who spied on Quakers and gay groups, peace activists, schoolteachers. These guys.

And these are the people whose offices we’re supposed to respect? These are the people whose court nominees we grant deference to, the lawmakers who get the benefit of the doubt? These guys? When every new day brings new evidence that at the very least, it is exactly as bad as you thought, and on bad days it’s worse, these guys we should listen to? Tell me again about serious people, Chris Matthews. Tell me again, Sue Schmidt, how the Democrats are just the same. Tell me one more time, Joe Lieberman, how we should stand behind our president, because I’m sitting here tonight and I’m reading this and I am not in the least surprised.

Disgusted. Enraged. Physically revolted at the idea that this is my country. Absolutely nauseous at what these people have done to it, to me, to you, to all of us. But I am not surprised.

And that may be the most horrifying thing of all, that by this point, they do this and all I can think of to say is yes, yes, we saw this coming, about a mile and a half back down the road.