Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Dark Side

We had dinner in the heart of Pasadena last night, Bush. Ate at one of the sidewalk tables of an Italian restaurant there. Took George, the dog, with us because he's allowed to join us at outdoor tables. Sitting there in the warmth of an early summer evening (actually, Ellie tells me, the last of spring), we watched the parade of local citizens. Very pleasant.

Then we came home and watched "The Dark Side" on public television.

It's a disturbing story. There was not much that I had not known about or suspected before, but it was all put together in a well-told narrative that made coherent sense of the disparate events that led to your invasion of Iraq. An exposure of the dark side, the behind-the-scenes manipulations of your Cheney and his cohort of true believers to promote their vision of the world, and to prevail in their attempt to dominate your thinking; their distortion of the facts to suit their purposes; their creation of a whole intelligence branch under Rumsfeld in the Pentagon to cater to their demand for "information" justifying their pre-formed intentions; their successful campaign against George Tenet at the CIA and Colin Powell in the State Department; and their eventual control of... well, basically, Bush, your mind.

The dark side of government may lie in its secrets--what happens in the back corridors of power. The dark side of the mind is the part that we hide, repress, and deny--that part of the mind that controls our actions without our even being aware of it. The shadow side. It's my belief that these men acted out of shadow, not out of consciousness, their minds manipulated by dark forces they were not aware of or did not wish to acknowledge even to themselves: forces like vengeance, greed for power, the need to punish, self-assertion, self-righteous conviction... even blood-lust. The potential of these forces exists in every one of us human beings, in the dark side of our minds, and the only thing that holds them in check, in my view at least, is consciousness.

Ellie, watching the program beside me, kept muttering, "These men are evil." That's a tempting way to look at the dark side. It's a rich word, morally satisfying and filled with resonance in human history. You yourself, Bush, have used it on more than one occasion, and to great effect. As I see it, though, evil is no more than potential--a potential that can be realized when our consciousness and our conscience fail us, and we relinquish control of our actions to those parts of our mind that are formed by fear and trauma.

I see you, Bush, not as an evil man, but a man whose actions are determined by forces other than rational consciousness. And some of those forces, clearly, lurk in the darkest corners of your administration, in the minds of those who have mentored and advised you. The results of those forces, though, are manifest in actions and events. They are manifest in the terrible things which are now unhappily associated with America's name in the world; things like war, the killing of innocent civilians, torture, imprisonment without recourse to the law, rape of the environment, neglect of the poor and needy, contentiousness...

We like to believe, of course, that these things are not truly American. We would be deluding ourselves, though, if we fail to acknowledge that we are seen that way. We are known today in many parts of the world by our dark side, Bush. We're the Ugly American again. I submit to you that it's past time for a little en-light-enment at the White House, a return to the generous and benificent influence of the light. And that means unimpaired clarity of vision and relentless self-examination for the integrity of our motivations and our actions, the demonstrable congruity of our words and deeds.

8 comments:

David said...

Peter, I hadn't heard of The Dark Side, but it sounds great. It's also a reminder of why certain people keep wanting to cut funding for public tv.

Your dog is named George? I'm afraid to ask...

PeterAtLarge said...

David, you can catch The Dark Side online at PBS. As for George, the dog... well, no. He arrived at the same time George Harrison was leaving us--a much more enlightened George than the one you suspected... Cheers, PaL

Dave said...

Peter, I've found my way back to the Real Real Bush Diary. Saw the Dark Side, recorded it, and will figure out how to make a video for friends who missed it. It should be required viewing for all Amerikans. As you say, nothing new for the regulars, but it's great to have so many intelligent people putting out the truth about the Darth Vaders.

Dave said...

Peter, addendum. I meant "intelligence people," but then the Bushies have been busy trying to make the CIA seem incompetent and at fault about WMDs, etc., so maybe we need to push the Company's intelligence (imagine that), reminding people how much they were ignored when they didn't cooperate with the Boss (and I don't means Bruce).

David said...

He arrived at the same time George Harrison was leaving us

I wasn't really that worried, just wondered which George. Good that you walked him before the show. Did he warn you to beware of darkness?

PeterAtLarge said...

George--the dog, that is--is not aware of darkness. Not the psychic kind. Everything for him is light.

denn said...

P: I finally saw Syriana. Talk about dark. Bleakly black.

PK said...

Having followed all of this since his first election, through numerous magazines, that I order, and the net, Truth Out, Truth Dig, and a few others, plus all the blogers, it only took 5 minutes before I wanted to throw something at the TV. I took a cue, and turned it off. I'm getting to where I can't watch this stuff anymore. No one is doing anything about it. As long as no one is willing to, I'm choosing not to watch it. Well David, they are getting back.. on Sunday...nothing but 'christian' TV.