Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bush and the evangelists speak loud but academia is silent

Mr. Bush's latest speech on the Iraq War causes one to
wonder if what he tried to do was explain or excuse.
Each of his Iraq War speeches strikes one as another
attempt at damage control without specifying useful
information about what to expect. There never is any
sum-up that enables one to understand where we've been
and plans telling us now where we're going. It's all:
everything is fine, now we're alright [???], right on
course...what course?

More confusing, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney seem to be
pulling in opposite directions. Mr. Bush admits that
terrible errors were made, but they are not his, he
insists, they were made by the CIA. Meanwhile, Mr.
Cheney, either insists, "I never said that," or
repeats the same line that Bush had attributed to bad
intelligence. Mr. Cheney's tone intimates that Mr.
Bush doesn't know what he's talking about, everything
was true then and is true now, as true now as "...in
the beginning"!

While Mr. Bush creates all sorts of new intelligence
bureaucracies and security bureaucracies, insisting
that everything that went wrong was due to
bureaucratic leftovers from Mr. Clinton, Mr. Cheney
insists that there was no failure of intelligence, it
was really a matter of failure of will to do anything
in the previous administration.

Meanwhile, critics are silently slandered in whisper
campaigns from the offices of Rove and Cheney,
unbeknown to the targets, undermining them as a house
in undermined by termites.

Through all this seeming confusion and nothing but bad
news from the world's strongest army's high-tech
struggle against "terrorists" with only hand guns and
bombs, Mr. Bush is calling on us all to be responsible
in our debate so as not to send the troops "mixed
signals." Indeed, here Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney agree:
all the critics are twisting history for purely
opportunistic political reasons.

Since the 2004 Republican Convention there has been a
frightening Gobbles-streak to the combined
spin-propaganda- slander campaigns emanating from the
White House, so that our only sources of real
information are middle level security bureaucrats and
military risking their careers on the belief that the
public "has gotta know." Indeed, I would argue that so
exquisite has been press and political opposition
exposure of "classified" information that only those
who do not want to know don't know what is really
going on.

Yet, through all this ACADEMIA exhibits an eerie
silence-- a silence in reaching out to the public with
its analytic and explicative skills from campus that
are penetrating, enlightening and predictive. It seems
that by cutting back the funding to academia and to
student tuition assistance through Republican control
of Congress, the Bush Administration has sent a
message to academia: don't get involved or more cuts
are on the way. It worked, for their scholarly
analysis one has to go deep into the bowels of obscure
jargonistic journals. Far greater is the explicative
sell to the public of genetics and environmental
dangers by hard science guys than any analysis by
social science academics.

What happened to the teach-ins of the 60s? Where is
that vociferous demand for "meaningful dialogue" and
debate? Where has evaporated that academic skepticism
towards the, "I'm alright and you're alright" claim of
the Bush Administration?

Some historians studying the 60s claim that at that
time academia was not driven into outspoken off-campus
discourse by moral outrage, but by fear from the
threat of New Left activists disrupting their classes
and "the normal functioning of the university." The
Leftists were, n the words of Mario Savio: grind that
beastly machine to a halt. Now, with no longer any
prospect for a draft of students, one can hardly
expect an interruption to the flow of pizza and beer.
Hence, with no student ready-audiences, professors
cannot be expected to stand at street corners hauling
off on the dangers of our Middle East War like
self-appointed totting a bible in hand and calling on
all to repent. Too bad, because those evangelists,
thanks to Mr. Rove, are running the country and the
professors are staring into a dark, dark, dark future
for themselves.

Daniel E. Teodoru



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