Aside from my lovely, twisted, and immeasurably valuable friendship with Mr. Furious, the longest relationship with a man in my life is with Morrissey, the extended version of whose album You Are the Quarry Mr. F generously purchased for me recently. It is a brilliant collection of songs (even the original release without all the B-sides), and although the opening track, America Is Not the World, may arguably be the weakest song on the album, there’s a lyric in it that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately:

America, the land of the free, they say,
And of opportunity, in a just and a truthful way,
But where the President is never black, female, or gay.
And until that day
You’ve got nothing to say to me
To help me believe
In America.

It came to mind again as I read John Aravosis’ rightfully bewildered comments on Gonzales’ confirmation:
I still can't believe we're about to have an attorney general who thinks torture is okay. […] How can a single Senator vote for this un-American scum.
I can’t believe it, either. And not only does it baffle and infuriate me, it alarms me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, non-Americans (and here I actually mean non-U.S. residents, since the rest of North, Central, and South America, from all of whom we’ve permanently usurped the term American, fall into the category I’m describing) have been wise and charitable enough to draw a distinct delineation between the American government and the American people. Since many of them mistrust and dislike the government, but like the people, it works out fortunately for us—even those among us who disdain the very penchant for nuance that affords one a view of such fine distinction.

When Bush was first appointed President, there was a sense overseas similar to that among the American Left—that the election had been, at worst, in some manner stolen, and, at best, was only the result of the electoral college gone haywire. It was easy to say to friends abroad that at least most of wanted Gore, even if he wasn’t the man at the helm.

This time, when Bush won both the popular vote and the electoral college, I feared that the divide separating the American government from the American people would be lost. I wasn’t the only one; heartfelt apologies went out around the world, and were graciously accepted. Still, the gap had narrowed. Friends abroad used to tell me they felt sorry for me being stuck with Bush. Now they tell me they feel sorry for me being stuck with all the Bush voters. Now instead of compartmentalizing the government from the people, it’s the government and their supporters…and everyone else. And "everyone else" is the minority (if you go by the votes). That’s a pretty small slice of the American Pie keeping us from being outright loathed by even our allies.

Now we’re going to be saddled with Alberto Gonzales, rogue pen of torture memos extraordinaire, as our Attorney General. If John Ashcroft made us a laughing stock, Gonzales will make us a target. It is truly indefensible, and if we are met with scornful contempt by non-Americans, it will be well deserved.

And all of it with nary a peep from our elected Democrats—a shameful display. I cannot imagine anything associated with a Congressional seat—wealth, power, influence—that I would not be willing to sacrifice to avoid casting a vote for the despicable, dishonest, incompetent, scummy piece of horseshit that is Alberto Gonzales. The Democrats go along to get along, casting their votes for this vile drip of dogwank in hopes of getting reelected. What lunacy, what farce, that the Democrats have let the national discourse get hijacked into a fantasyland where one worries that showing a shred of integrity might “come back to haunt you.”

Upon what principles does this country stand if we are willing to shrug with complacency as a man who condones torture (behind closed doors, if not under oath) can easily assume the post of the highest law officer in the land?

You’ve got nothing to say to me
To help me believe
In America.

If the administration continues in this direction, unfettered and unopposed, I imagine that America won’t have much to say to anyone any longer.

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