Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cherry Tree Died

Contrived narratives have a way of taking on a life of their own. 

Politics is by no means the exclusive realm of contrived narratives. But, in the Colonel's not-so-humble opinion, politicians and their handlers have elevated the practice to an expressionist art form.

Like most expressionist art, contrived narratives are appreciated from a disinterested distance; not bearing up well under close scrutiny.

In full disclosure, the Colonel has been a purposeful practitioner of the contrived narrative his own self.

He told every military unit or civilian organization he ever led that they were the "best."  He said it often enough and with enough sincerity that his subordinates actually began to believe it; act it; live it.  

The Colonel even began to believe his own contrived narratives -- to this day he holds the unshakable belief that he commanded the best rifle company and the best infantry battalion in the Marine Corps.

The most effective contrived narratives develop their own immunity to metrics -- believers bind blindly, proudly perpetuating perfidy, oblivious to any facts to the contrary.

A carefully crafted contrived narrative can be found at the inception of every armed conflict between two or more nations.  A contrived narrative formed the basis for the American colonial revolution against the British, the American wars with Mexico and Spain, the American war with itself, two wars against German hedgemonism, two interventions in Asian civil wars, numerous interventions in Latin America, numerous interventions in the Middle East, and, most recently, the insipid American war on a tactic (terrorism).

Politicians ride contrived narratives, most often about themselves, into office, and once in office, almost always fall prey to a prideful perniciousness perpetrated by a narcissistic belief in their own infallibility to rally sycophantic believers to yet more contrived narratives.

The current occupant of the Oval Office is but the latest in a long line of contrived narrative riders, and the Benghazi bungle invites the close scrutiny that exposes expressionist art as nothing more than marginally talented obfuscation.

As he left office at the end of his two terms as the first President of our nascent constitutional republic, George Washington warned against entangling alliances abroad and, by implication, against intervention in the affairs of other nations.

His advice was ignored by nearly every American president who succeeded him.

George Washington is perhaps best known for the quote (part of his own handlers' contrived narrative) that resonates from our childhoods:

"I cannot tell a [contrived narrative]."


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