The swirling furball that is the American political scene has been revealing of late, with the earth ceasing to spin long enough for the Internal Revenue Service to admit it had singled out organizations with “Patriot” and “Tea Party” in their names for special attention… and apologize. And then there’s Benghazi…
Our spine stiffened when we heard that the IRS had admitted to keying on so-called Tea Party organizations seeking tax exempt tax status and subjecting those groups to Nixonian “special attention” at a Cincinnati field office. Besides wondering what’s going on in Ohio these days, we were left to guess what was going through President Obama’s head when the news broke that his pre-election riff about subjecting political opponents to IRS scrutiny had actually been realized – fueling the rancor of activists already angry with his administration and its perceived slide towards socialism.
Tea Party people are calling for the heads of the IRS functionaries responsible and, frankly, we would have to think Mr. Obama himself would support such a move… if for no other reason than to remove the boneheads responsible for it. Employing a government agency to single out and potentially punish groups of opposing political views, or even just giving the impression that it is being done as we suspect happened in this case, is un-American and wrong.
Photo, right: A car bomb in Karachi, Pakistan killed U.S. diplomat David Foy and members of his security detail in 2006
And as if possible punitive action by a government agency was not enough for you to ponder this Monday morning, we can only hope you have room to digest the political sideshow that has evolved from the attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi last September 11, the murder of our ambassador there and, later, elements of his security detail.
We’ve been watching this from the beginning, but have marveled at how the story line and scenario has been politicized and spun. Proof that something very strange was happening struck home during – of all things – one of the few massages we’ve ever had. In the midst of a therapeutic rubdown the very nice, very toned and mildly-tatted masseuse leaned down to whisper “You know he was sodomized, don’t you?”
This very nice woman, all of maybe 25, was referring to Ambassador Christopher Stevens, killed during the assault on his compound in Benghazi. Her statement, uttered with certainty, filled us with dread – not only because we happened to have been very vulnerable at that moment with only a towel separating us from the altogether, but because it cemented what we suspected was widespread belief of a spurious statement made by conservative commentator Sean Hannity (and who has never apologized for making it, as far as we can find).
Beyond the searing tragedy of the attack and loss of our countrymen, Benghazi was quickly elevated to political rallying cry – a sort of reverse “Remember the Alamo!” for conservatives who wished to portray it as another example, in their minds, of the president’s inability to lead his nation and the effort to spin the news that Al Qaeda was far from impotent. The Obama administration’s characterization of the attackers as extremists angered by a cartoonish video mocking muslims created almost as much of a stir within America’s conservatives – who alleged the administration was softening Al Qaeda’s role in the attack so that the president would look best prior to his re-election bid in November – as the national drubbing the nation handed Republicans during the last election.
All of this back and forth has left a pretty sour taste in our mouths, especially when you consider that none of the numerous attacks on U.S. consulates and stations conducted during the tenure of prior presidents resulted in this much furor (anyone remember the U.S. air attack on the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia? Wrong map? Really?). What happened in Benghazi was a horrendous act by a barbarous force, certainly, but is the conservative agenda arguing that President Obama doesn’t care that we lost some more good people on a day already seared into the American subconscious? And are they arguing that members of their party haven’t previously voted for reductions in consular protection in an effort to curtail government spending prior to the assault?
We’d like very much to get to the bottom of all this Tom-Foolery, just as the President himself came out today in sharp opposition to the IRS stinkeroo in Ohio, and we would like to see the carefully chosen words of political propaganda (rape rooms, weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake uranium, sodomized) removed from the discussion or at least harshly examined for what they are.