Looking across the border this week from my Johnny Canuck bully pulpit, I was reminded why the supposed democratic ‘holding to account’ cited as the US Senate confirmation hearings constitutional rationale is the ultimate political pant load. Thank God for our good old Canadian patronage appointments in similar circumstances – ones done mostly behind closed doors, pure as the driven slush, after you catch an eyeful of this Capitol Hill bozo brigade.
As the sublime Brooklyn Dame captured it in her latest piece, time for a re-think if this is the best America can do. Seriously, peeps. John McCain, Republican Viet Nam hero pointing his finger at two-time Purple Heart winner nominee Hagel and…. ‘Just answer yes or no’? Some twerp junior Senator from Texas parsing sentences selectively extracted out of context from a Hagel speech 10 years ago? So enlightening for us poor saps north of the World’s Longest Undefended Border to know that of all the issues that face our Great Republic neighbours, where one stands on the 2007 Iraq troop surge defines the nominee’s ability to manage the Defence Department trillions. Nice system you got there. Keep it.
From Senatorial sad sacks to a chillier reality – the demise of ‘War hawk America’ is a highly optimistic obituary to these longing eyes. I do not share the Dame’s optimism that America is willing to undergo the genetic transfusion necessary to purge this destructive DNA seed from its body politic. So long as your nation clings to its belief in the ubiquitous canard of ‘American exceptionalism’, the hawks will roost, and deficits be damned.
Exceptionalism – this attitude is not restricted to the Red State meat eaters and Tea Party buffoons. The presidential election was decided 52-48 on the popular vote scoreboard, where the Republican foe trumpeted this fundamental value:
“We are the party of peace through strength. Professing American exceptionalism – the conviction that our country holds a unique place and role in human history – we proudly associate ourselves with those Americans of all political stripes who, more than three decades ago in a world as dangerous as today’s, came together to advance the cause of freedom.”
There is one place where the GOP understands their country – the Americans of ‘all political stripes’ for whom exceptionalism is the mother’s milk of nationhood. President Obama once dismissed exceptionalism as absurd, but his inauguration speech references on this point? “What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident….” Hmmmm.
As long as American political leadership continues its commitment to this ‘We are the anointed, our ideals are the global beacon on the hill’ shtick, those war hawks will circle, only an international crisis away, real, or exaggerated. The Senate Armed Services Committee proceedings this week will lead to the grudging, tepid confirmation of Chuck Hagel – amidst the sound of fluttering wings.