I watch West Wing whenever I can. I confess to loving the program, to wishing President Bartlett was in the White House rather than George W. Bush, and that those with executive power in our country today possessed a fragment of the humanity, belief in democratic principles, concern for issues that matter and openness displayed by West Wingâ€™s characters.
When I find myself wishing this I recognize with sorrow and rage how far the current political reality has pushed me. Me: someone who never believed electoral politics, as they operate here and now, could begin to hold the answers to peopleâ€™s real needs. Desperate times make for desperate wishes.
Last weekâ€™s West Wing was a bit confusing, at least insofar as one of its several storylines went. What was the viewer supposed to understand about Charlieâ€™s attempt to file his income tax on line? He balked at a discrepancy of $300.
Soon it became apparent that this was the famous $300 per taxpayer so grandly publicized last year by Bush and company. The presidentâ€™s â€œgiftâ€ to the American people. A gift that would enable us all to spend, consume, do our part to remedy the failing economy. Those who so proudly announced this gift went so far as to tell us how it would be paid for. In return they expected gratitude, patriotism, and ever more favorable ratings.
They got all three. And as always, we would be the ones to pay. Last weekâ€™s West Wing explained in no uncertain terms that the $300 check had not been a gift, but an advance. Repayable when we filed this yearâ€™s taxes. Silly me, I didnâ€™t really get it until the following day, when instead of my own expected refund check, I received a letter from IRS.
The letter explained that as I had failed to declare this $300 income, my refund would be $300 less than I had noted on my return. Additionally, IRS would send my refund check sometime in the next six weeks (thereby earning six weeksâ€™ worth of interest on my money, on income that was supposed to have been a gift!)
As we watch in horror as Sharon, Pastrana, and others go on their warmongering rampages against civilian populations, following George W. Bushâ€™s lead in justifying such campaigns by the simple trick of declaring them necessary battles in â€œthe war against terror,â€ to speak of the above perversion of justice almost seems irrelevant.
But many are producing articles of analysis of and protest against our governmentâ€™s policy of war as a cure for war. And many others are speaking out about its equally dangerous war on our rights and freedoms here at home.
The above is meant to shed light on one more intentionally misleading use of language, one more lie. I believe we must expose them all.