Sunday, September 10, 2006

RadioNation with Laura Flanders asked: "Are you ready?"

It can happen in a moment
And sometimes it does
When what could be is
And what shouldn’t be was
There are times
When you gotta stand steady
There are other times
When you gotta be ready

That's from David Rovics' "Crashing Down" off his new CD Halliburton Boardroom Massacre (which contains a bonus DVD). It seems a good place to start. "When you gotta be ready". Are you ready?

That was a topic on Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders (and Kat called it right, there were nough topics for an entire month's discussion -- and that was just Saturday's show).

We're focusing on the segments with Tom Hayden as a guest (if you missed them, they may be included the highlights archive of Saturday and Sunday's shows that will post here no later than Monday). Disclosures up front, C.I. and Ava know and like Tom Hayden.

On Saturday night's segments, Tom Hayden threw cold water in America's face. Some people were probably shocked. Some listeners may have even been offended. Hayden talked strategy.
And it's rare that Americans are treated to anything beyond sloganeering on most issues, especially issues regarding the nation's directions. Oh, we can hear about gay marriage as though anything said or passed against it makes a long term difference. The LBGT community is very much a part of the fabric of America and they've raised their own voices (when others wouldn't) and aren't going anywhere. The most offensive legislation can be passed, stripping those Americans of all their rights, and it can be hailed as a "victory" but it's only an obstacle. Granted, it's an obstacle that hurts a lot of people in the present, but in terms of the march of history, the wave is on the side of LBGT and acceptance.

But it's the sort of phoney issue (we strongly suggest that all those outraged by same-sex marriage take a vow . . . never to marry anyone of the same sex and then sit down) that lets some Americans think they're having a voice in the direction of the country, that they're as involved in the nation's course as they are in the weekly American Idol contests.

So Hayden came on to discuss Iraq. We agree with Laura Flanders ("It's five years, I'm impatient" and "I think our level of moral outrage needs raising"). If Hayden were campaigning for office, it probably would have been a good idea for him to have explored the impatience in this country. He's not up for office. Though an important voice in the peace movement, he's not its leader. That allows him a freedom that elected officials don't have and he used that freedom Saturday.

We imagined this would be a quick feature where we'd just note some key points you missed if you missed RadioNation with Laura Flanders (we don't try to dissect or critique the show here -- which we enjoy -- we just attempt to get the word out on). Who knew Hayden was going to take it in a different direction?

What direction?

Strategy and long term. He and Flanders discussed the upcoming anniversary of September 11th and the question he posed was what are you willing to live with? Not just now, but tomorrow and well into the future.

Are you ready for endless war (he cited Gore Vidal, we'd recommend Vidal's bestseller Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace)?

If you're not, what are you willing to do? What conflict resolution do you see?

What do you know about the issues/grievances of those fueling the al-Qaeda?

The idea may be shocking to some, the need to understand. In the Fox "News" world, it's probably seen as 'treason.' The reality is that the government is and does analyze the data. Bully Boy offers up the laughable "They hate us for our freedoms." The swine lap it up.

What Hadyen was speaking to is a point that The Nation's book section has made quite often this year -- most ambitiously in Raffi Kahatchadourian's "Behind Enemy Lines"( in the May 15, 2006 issue, pp. 23-31):

For more than a decade, bin Laden has been unapologetic about his own struggle to correct "the great book of history," and he has carefully and lucidly described the specifics of his Kampf in a series of epistles, declarations and interviews. As far as it is known, bing Laden has never written a book, but that may be because he believe the most important book, the Koran, has already been written. Where Mein Kampf elevated the all-encompassing state (der totale Staat) and specifically the German nation, into the realm of the sacred, bin Laden seeks to bring the Islamic faith into the realm of the profane. The Koran, in his reading, is a revolutionary document. There is no need to hire calligraphers to give it the authenticity of ancient wisdom. It is already ancient and wise. Beside it, bin Laden's scattered pronouncements are meant to seem derivative, as if he were merely a clerical warrior interpreting the word of God. But that notion clouds bin Laden's real significance. In fact, he has a complex political vision that is highly coherent, uniquely contemporary and in many ways irreligious. And it is startling that only now, several years after 9/11, a number of new books give us the chance to inspect, firsthand and in detail, precisely what he has been saying.

All these years later, what do you know? And what's discussed in the media?

Khatchadourian rightly noted that this lack of knowledge "hardly presents the image of of a society committed to understanding its foes" and that it's in direct contrast to the expectations for Americans during WWII. Are you going to be responsible for peace or just nod along with every empty assurance Bully Boy gives you?

Are you going to be active or passive? Bully Boy lied the nation into war -- are you going to continue to let him be 'the decider'? An alternative is to arm yourself with knowledge and do your own work. Hayden asked, "What interest does the average American have in pursuing a crusade?" It's a question worth asking yourself. Bully Boy's so-called 'long war' is, as Hayden noted, "placing us and our loved ones at risk."

Speaking of the endless 'long war', Hayden wondered, "Where does this stop?" We hope it's a topic that Flanders will explore in future shows. (It is a topic she regularly touches on in her opening monlogues and with guests such as Bill Christison.) As the media rushes to note the anniversary, it was a brave way to discuss both the anniverary and the war.
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