Friday, August 19, 2005

You may ask yourself, as I have...

How have we come to this? As I look around at my fellow Americans, I find them to be either in a place of complacency, despondency, helplessness and despair, or stubborn arrogance, false patriotism, bizarre religious zealotry and complete self-absorption.

Never before in the history of this or any nation has such all-out war been waged in the name of a people and their civic ideals, while virtually no sacrifice has been made by, or asked of, those same people other than the blood of their sons and daughters, and the treasure of their future generations. Never before in “war” time has our government responded to the crisis with tax cuts which benefit only the wealthiest Americans and American companies. No war bonds have been bought or sold; no recycling program or victory gardens. Nothing to distract a fat and lazy populace from Wal-Mart, Applebee’s, stuffed-crust pizza, Nascar or Natalee Holloway. Ask most Americans what the latest body count is of Americans who’ve died for their “freedom” in Iraq, and they’re more likely to know who was eliminated on “The Bachelor” last night.

It’s just appalling, and we should all be profoundly ashamed.

When did we decide that the lives and deaths of Americans were so much more sacred and important than the deaths of anyone else, especially if they’re brown-skinned? The deaths of Iraqi civilians, women, children, and the elderly, are so unimportant to our government that officials are forbidden from counting them. They literally do not count. But this attitude isn’t limited to Arabs.

After the bombings in London this summer, our President, who was in London at the time, gave a speech in which he actually said that this is why we fight the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq; we fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them in our own streets. Apparently, if we have to fight them in the streets of London, that fits his strategy just fine, because after all, London isn’t in America.

The “great beast” that is the American people seems to have been slowly waking from its lethargic, gluttony-induced stupor, and is starting to rub the stupid out of its eyes. Most Americans polled recently understand that we were basically lied into this “war” by Bush and his neocon dinosaurs recycled from Iran-Contra, when most of them should have been indicted and locked up, thus saving us from our current Vietnam-esque nightmare. But still we are bombarded almost 24/7 on the talk and news channels with surreal logic worthy of Lewis Carroll, or better yet, George Orwell, from vile Hannity, fat, drug-addled Limbaugh, and reptilian Coulter, to name just a few, who vomit in our general direction words to the effect that “liberals hate America” and opposition to the war is tantamount to supporting the enemy and endangering the troops.

As their disgusting excrement slides slowly down the inside of my TV screen, I ask myself again… How did we come to this? How did we let this happen? Are we really this stupid?

I used to wonder when my dad would cut a yearling steer out of the herd to send to slaughter, why it put up such a fight. I mean, that steer has eaten out of a bucked held out by daddy’s own hand ever since it was weaned from its mother. It’s practically tame. But somehow, that day, I wondered if that “stupid” animal somehow knew that he was, literally, being led off to slaughter. Imagine my surprise to realize that the general awareness level in this country is way, way lower than that of one of the dumbest farm animals I’ve had the experience of growing up around.

On some level, we have Cindy Sheehan to thank for some of this. She’s the California mother whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, and when the president said that our troops had to stay in Iraq to finish the mission in order to honor the fallen, who had given their lives in a “noble cause,” Cindy Sheehan snapped. Now she wants to know what this “noble cause” is, and until she was forced home to the bedside of an ailing mother, she was camped on the side of the road outside Bush’s country manor in Crawford, Texas demanding an answer, and a halt to the cynical and insulting lies.

I am personally unaware of any instance in the history of our country when a president, during “war” time, can take over 300 total days of vacation, but this one has. And now, on this little 5-week junket, the president can’t take time away from fishing, bike riding, brush clearing and fund-raising long enough to stand there and let Cindy Sheehan have her say. That’s his version of bringing “honor and dignity” back to the White House.

While we wait to see what will happen to the anti-war movement in Cindy Sheehan’s absence, we still have a budget deficit exceeded only by our trade deficit -- we can think about that-- plus the highest gasoline prices ever in response to the highest crude oil prices ever.

Most analysts will tell you that these economic factors are a direct threat to national security because they endanger our ability to protect ourselves, to fuel our economy, to generate energy, to manufacture goods needed both in peacetime and wartime, and for our domestic economy to employ people so they can earn enough money to buy the products they need to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families.

Of course, these analysts aren’t on Dr. Phil, so most people don’t know about that. They do know, however, that if you’ve got a “Support Our Troops” magnet on the car, and matching U.S. flag t-shirts for yourself and all the kids that read “These Colors Don’t Run”, you’re doing all you can to “spread freedom.”

God Bless America. Whatever that means…


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