They are shocked, shocked

THE CENTER OF WORLD CHAOS, FLORIDA — While I am grateful for and relieved by the ongoing slate of endorsements for Barack Obama on the part of conservative pundits and Republican politicians who remained sanguine during the whole of the Bush administration, I find their astonishment at the greed, hate-mongering, demagoguery, inconsistencies, and exploitation of faith to be caricaturishly disengenuous.

If America’s current situation of two wars, financial ruin and the highest imprisonment, infant mortality, dropout, and AIDS numbers in the developed world were not too obviously too grave to be joked about, I would suspect each of them of doing a take on the old joke that dates back to Casablanca, when the friendly police chief stuffed his winnings in his pocket while expressing indignation that gambling occurred on the premises.

“I am shocked, shocked,” say Chris Buckley, Colin Powell, and just for the fun of it, Scott McClellan, “to find out there is lying, self-interest, race-baiting, and ineptitude going on here.”

(At which point it would be nice if somebody entered the frame in which they are holding forth in their new-found righteousness, and handed them their earnings during the years they noticed nothing wrong.)

They must have gotten something for the years, and years, and years they stayed silent, while the rest of us steadily lost at their roulette table. Otherwise they would have noticed something was wrong.

They would have seen it:

• in the rising numbers of people with nowhere to live, while high rises shot up and developments ate empty land, built with loans that numbers and common sense said there weren’t enough people with high enough earnings to repay;

• in the bloody streets of Iraq, where Americans, Iraqis and our diminishing allies continue to die and lose daily,

• In our emergency rooms, which supply primary care to more Americans each day;

• in our AIDS rates, where the numbers of patients in the nation with the more HIV and AIDS patients than any other in the industrialized world turned out to be growing at a rate 40 percent higher than calculated by overburdened and under-resourced federal disease control workers.

By November 4, Florida voters will be expected to connect the arrow between these plights and the causes that the late-breaking set of Obama endorsers now, finally, suddenly recognize. Let’s hope the voters are not as slow on the uptake, and do the right thing before it is too late.


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