Sunday, March 19, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

If you are of a certain age, you associate that line with the old Superman TV show. I'm not sure where it got attached to Superman, but I suspect it began with the older Superman cartoon serial, which I got on DVD recently. Just a series of cartoons by the Fleischer Bros. (the look something like the older Popeye cartoons the same brothers produced), always with the same beginning. The only difference is, in those Superman fights for "truth and justice." Rather like "under God" was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950's, I suspect "and the American Way" was added to "truth and justice" for the 1950's era TV show. As we know now, the three do not necessarily walk arm in arm together. Lately, we've had reason to wonder even about truth and justice keeping company.

This morning, however, Anthony Cordesman gave such a clear-eyed assessment of Iraq that I had to keep convincing myself I was hearing it on NPR, not Pacifica. Listening to Anne Garrells story, just before that (my local station is running its membership drive, the stories are coming in all out of order), I was thinking about how this Administration resembles the old Aggie joke about being put in a round room and told to go sit in the corner. The problem, of course, is that the Administration takes the rest of us with it.

The audio won't be up for a few hours at those links, but if you missed either of them, listen to them. And consider that while the arc of the universe is long, it does indeed bend toward justice, and toward truth; because the two tend to walk together. And the American way can yet be steered back to compassion that is more liberally dispensed, not just compassion that is conservative.

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