I want to have Keith Olbermann's baby. Sadly, I possess no uterus.
Seriously, the man is a genius. Last night I wrote about my utter distaste for the collective media treatment of 9/11. Tonight, I must make it clear that Olbermann does not deserve to be bunched in with the rest of the talking heads. He is far more intelligent, observant, and eloquent.
I love you.
You ask how KO has set my heart aflutter? Watch this. Or read it. (When it goes up on youtube, I will embed it) At the end of "Countdown" tonight, minutes before President Bush gave a pathetic address which yet again found him politicizing 9/11, Olbermann let loose with a superb commentary on the state of Ground Zero five years after the fact, and how the inactions there can be used as a metaphor for the actions of this administration in the aftermath of 9/11. It was lengthy. It was poignant. It was brilliant. Indulge me please as I provide a few highlights:
". . . And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors. I belabor this to emphasize that, for me… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal. And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President."
Bingo. This was towards the beginning, after Olbermann recounted that he lost several friends in the attacks, and how as someone who lives and works in NYC, the day has always affected him since. I love how he groups Cheney and Bush with the fall-in media pawns of the right, or "commentators" as he calls them here. Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter et al. He's talking to you.
"At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial — barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field, Mr. Lincoln said "we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."... Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground." So we won’t. Instead they bicker and buck-pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they’re doing — instead of doing any job at all. Five years later, Mr. Bush… we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir — on these 16 empty acres, the terrorists… are clearly, still winning. And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it."
I put that sentence in red so nobody would miss it. My jaw hit the floor when he said that. Who would think, in this day and age, when anyone who dares to speak up against this administration, that someone in the media would actually suggest that in a place as hallowed as Ground Zero, the terrorists are "still winning." To be honest, that might have been going a little too far, but goo for him for saying it. Someone, anyone needs to try to get people to listen.
"The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it… was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.
Those who did not belong to his party — tabled that.
Those who doubted the mechanics of his election — ignored that.
Those who wondered of his qualifications — forgot that."
(The man is speaking directly to my heart)
(Oh my. I'm up to 120 beats per minute)
(Somebody charge the defibrilator please)
"They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused; as appeasers; as those who, in the Vice President’s words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists." They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken…The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ’something to do’ with 9/11, is "lying by implication." The impolite phrase, is "impeachable offense."
Snap back to reality here, because Keith dropped the I-word. That concerns me, because the last thing the Democrats need is the GOP running with a campaign slogan that if America votes the Democrats to power in the House, that they will impeach Bush. History will do far worse to this president than impeach him. It's not worth the time or the effort. But I'm still tingly. On to the big finish:
" How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death… after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections… how dare you or those around you… ever "spin" 9/11."
At this point, I actually started to float off the ground, just like the cartoon dog (whose name escapes me) I watched as a kid, who floated up into total ecstasy whenever he was given a treat.
"When those who dissent are told time and time again — as wewill be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American… When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"… look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me: Who has left this hole in the ground?
We have not forgotten, Mr. President.
May this country forgive you."
Absolutely brilliant. This was the greatest oratory moment that I have ever witnessed by someone in the news media. This was a man speaking for a majority of the popualtion of this country, people who have stood up and rejected the failed actions of the president. It took sheer guts and courage to say this on 9/11, to call out the President of the United States for his continued shameful politicization of perhaps this nation's most tragic moment, especially when Bush was just minutes away from tap dancing on the victims of 9/11 yet again.
I watched these men talk back-to-back. Olbermann was so much more eloquent, impassioned, and truthful than Bush.
As far as I am concerned, this night was the defining moment of the George W. Bush presidency. How sad for all of us that at this point in time, when we needed competent leadership, we instead have incompetence. May our country forgive us for ever electing him.
(That's a collective us. God knows I never voted for the man.)