I Could Live A Million

So in Blue Like Jazz there is the minister who swears a lot, right? That guy is Mark Driscoll. Mark Driscoll is involved in a lot of interesting things. And he has a blog. On this blog he compares 24’s Jack Brauer to Jesus Christ, and I love it! I am not so certain about 60 minutes of preaching though. I side with all sensible people in thinking most sermons should be 20 minutes long and sometimes you should feel free to go to about 30 minutes. An hour, or even say, 57 minutes (Mr. Moore!) is going over the top.

Fighting terrorism isn’t as dramatic in reality as it is in 24, of course. In reality, fighting terrorism mostly means leaving hundreds of men to stew in their own sweat on a camp in Cuba while America is busy defending democracy. See, the way you defend democracy at home is to defend it abroad. The thing you should definitely be doing while defending democracy abroad is banging people up in Gitmo without charge, torturing them and hoping that no one has the cojones to make you pay for it. Lo and behold, no one does have the required cojones to take on the USA about their distinctly Stalinist camp. Well, no one except hapless bloggers like me and Teragram of course!

The “suicides were publicity stunts” is just one of many tragic inhumanities committed by the Bush government around Camp X-Ray that are referred to as “gaffes”. Thinking people commit suicide to get publicity when they have been held for four years without charge in a prisoner of war camp is not a gaffe and calling it such is a crime against truth. American evangelical teenagers are often (rightly) lampooned for wearing WWJD bracelets. The WWJD stands for “What would Jesus do?” Often a far more useful question to ask is “What wouldn’t Jesus do?” I might be going out on a crazy solo run here but I think Jesus wouldn’t shave Muslim mens’ hair, bag their heads, dress them in orange suits and leave them in the Caribbean heat to confess to crimes he didn’t bother informing them they were accussed of.

While the rendition scandal seems to maybe possibly be coming to a head this afternoon with a press conference from the Foreign Affairs department in process as I type about an unauthorised transportation of a marine through Shannon Airport, all the news focus is on the death of Charles Haughey. I am really glad to see the mature perspective that Ireland is coming to on Haughey. For all his crass criminality, Haughey was a man of his time and of his place. This isn’t to lessen the crimes of tax evasion, corruption and bribery but no analysis of Haughey and the other Moriarty Tribunal goons can succeed unless we accept and absorb the fact that Ireland’s leadership was reflective of Ireland as a nation at that time. Gangsters at the top got away with it because gangsters at the bottom didn’t see anything wrong with it. We were a nation of short-cut takers, under-the-table dealers and wink-wink, nudge-nudge go-on-you-good-things. Ireland in the 70s and 80s was a corrupt place. Our leaders were therefore corrupt. Haughey was a criminal, but his crime was the crime of his nation. He was a man who, as Mary McAleese put it, believed in Ireland and so of course his belief affected his practice, which was Ireland late 1970s through and through.

That we are now starting to realise this is the clearest sign possible that we are coming out of those dark years into a time more honest and transparent. That Bertie Ahern is the one leading us to view Haughey fairly is a slightly surreal fact, but appropriate nonetheless. Bertie was schooled in the Haughey way of politics but has matured into a leader of a country aspiring to (if still amateurishly grasping at it) integrity and excellence. Ah, maybe I’m just an eternal optimist but I think we’re doing alright and Haughy, for all his considerable warts, played his part.

Your Correspondent, Gardening At Night

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