Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Breaking the Unbelief

I was laid up with a nasty case of flu today, and my usual pattern is to re-read good books and re-watch good movies. Given the short attention span that runs concurrent with feeling crappy, it's the most soothing thing I can do for my brain.

So I re-watched Fargo with as much delight as I have the uptyump other times I've watched it. And this time the scene where the wife gets kidnapped had a special resonance.

She's sitting on the couch, knitting and watching one of those cheerful morning shows. Through the patio doors, she can see a man in a ski mask, carrying a crowbar, climb onto her deck.

And she just watches him.

Because she is already a victim, a victim of Unbelief. She's a well-off housewife in an upscale Minneapolis suburb, and the figure of a masked man with a crowbar on her own deck does not compute. Her brain simply refuses to process it.

It isn't until he breaks the glass that she reacts.

And that's what I hope is happening now.

I, too, reacted with unbelief to the beginning salvos of the Republican Party vs. Everything Good & Decent. I remember how slowly it washed over me that these people didn't care. About security, about safety, about fiscal responsibility and the Armed Forces and the Constitution, about the elderly, about children, about morality.

Because it was hard to believe. It goes against everything we want to believe. But it was undeniably true.

I got over it relatively quickly. But a lot of the country was still mired in it. They couldn't believe it. While some were able to jump around and scream There's a masked man on the deck with a crowbar!, waaaaay too many were still making excuses for the Republicans.

But now the patio door has been broken.

That's the real impact of the Foley Scandal. The Republicans aren't acting any differently than they ever did; reflexively blaming Democrats while simultaneously claiming it just isn't that bad, everybody is getting all shrill about nothing.

But after Katrina, the whole Middle Eastern Mess, and seeing our President massaging the shoulders of the German chancellor like a tipsy salesman copping a feel at the Christmas party, I think those same people were starting to build up some water pressure behind that brain dam that keeps back Thoughts We Don't Want to Believe.

And once it goes, it goes. All the doubts flood in, from every corner they've been hiding. The cheated on spouse can keep denial up for quite a long time, but once the Unbelievable is Believed, all the pent up power is unleashed. That's what leads to running over one's husband several times with a Mercedes.

I think, I hope, I wish the Foley scandal is that dam buster, that denial cracker, that shocking revelation that just hits too hard for the dam to withstand.

Because most people don't know about Foreign Policy, airline safety, and Constitutional rights. They don't know how to make up their own minds, and are vulnerable to letting others make up their minds for them. Say the right things, and most people won't notice that they aren't doing the right things.

But there isn't a parent in America who doesn't know about Sexual Predators on the Internet. The Republicans have been hammering on it and whipping up legislation against it and the media has been running specials on it for years.

On this subject, people feel capable of making up their own minds.

And they will.

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