Spotify just informed me that Vince Gill had listened to Merle Haggard’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” and so naturally, I did too. It had been, what? — thirty years? Maybe more than that.
Apart from how Congress votes on Syria, and regardless of what Obama does after that, we are not really in a position to go to war as a nation. Because it is not possible for everyone in a nation to be “in the loop” when it comes to all the reasons that cause a nation to go to war, a national coherence and mutual trust is absolutely necessary. Up to a point, that is natural and right. But past that point, it becomes ludicrous.
But because we cannot verify our leaders’ trustworthiness in multiple areas related to what they hear from the “intelligence community,” we have to go on the basis of what we can see. We have to go on the basis of what we experience directly.
A people who have been abused in multiple ways are not going to respond well when they are asked, as yet another situation like Syria develops — “look, just trust us.” From all appearances, our president couldn’t organize a three car funeral, and to the extent that the feds do exhibit craft competence, it involves abuses of the IRS and dodgy surveillance techniques.
The old order, badly frayed by Vietnam, was nevertheless still visible when Haggard was writing that kind of song. It was still functional, which meant that politicians could abuse it; it means they could still “work it.” But when you get past a certain point, “we have always been at war with Eastasia” doesn’t have the same purchasing power.
If I might change the metaphor, our federal government is bouncing checks in more areas than just the budget.