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ALWAYS ON THE EDGE OF A SCREAM
20 November 2005
I am so jealous of Peggy.
Peggy doesn't take a newspaper, and she doesn't watch the news on television or listen to it on the radio. She figures that what she doesn't know she doesn't need to know. And when you think about it, that's pretty much true for all of us, though we are drawn like moths to the flame of 24/7 newscasting.
I'm not nearly as informed as most of the people around me. But I do listen to the nightly news and listen to talk radio when I drive around. For so long whenever I turn on the news, or listen to a discussion, all I want to do is put my head down and cry.
Is there anything hopeful about our country these days?
I lived through the Korea war.
I lived through the Vietnam era.
I lived through Watergate.
There was lots to be depressed about, to be angry about...
...but I don't ever remember feeling totally hopeless, feeling like the country I have known for 62 years is spinning out of control, that there is no hope of ever recovering any semblance of a country I can ever feel proud of again.
How has all this been destroyed in a matter of just a few years?
I don't only blame the terrorists who attacked on 9/11 for it. They were the catalyst, but those guys just opened the door for the Bush Administration to systematically destroy anything that I have ever pointed to with pride about this country.
Today I have listened to the administration spokesperson attempt to smear the reputation of Congressman Jack Murtha, who has dared to say enough! The Commander-in-Chief who never saw active duty is leading an attack on this decorated veteran who dares to question the administration's policies.
I've heard the Republicans say that we are in Iraq to bring Democracy, to oust Saddam Hussein, to fight Al Qaeda (which wasn't there until we invaded)...nobody mentioned that we went there because of WMDs, which everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten about.
I've listened to the Vice President hop skip and jump around the issue of torture, stopping short of saying that we want to say it's OK to torture prisoners, but everybody knows what he means. I've listened to those, like John McCain, who have been tortured talk about how ineffectual it is, and how it opens the door to giving our enemies an excuse for doing whatever they want to our young soldiers who are captured. The whole issue of torture dehumanizes us. It brings us down to the level of "them" and we have never been "them" before.
The administration, which seems to pick a theme and run it into the ground (how many times have you heard "stay the course," for instance?) is now gearing up to paint anybody who dares to question either our reasons for going to war or our lack of exit strategy as sending a terrible message to the troops. We're unpatriotic if we don't blindly go along with whatever comes out of the White House.
(Excuse me, but isn't this what we have for decades condemned the good people of Germany for--blindly going along with whatever policies Hitler instituted without questioning, calling for accountability, speaking out against perceived atrocities?)
Hey, George--I have a message for you--all those body bags and coffins and severed limbs and broken bodies and irrevocably physically and mentally harmed young men send a much clearer message to the troops than the growing number of people who are beginning to speak up for their health and safety and demand that they be brought home as expeditiously as possible.
The man in the White House says that if we leave now we leave the situation wide open for there to be murder of innocent civilians. Does he discount the more than 30,000 innocent men, women and children who have been killed so far under our occupation?
Do we really need to sign petitions to the president to beg him not to pardon anybody in his administration who has been part of the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame? Where is the guy who stood up and emphatically stated that anybody who had any part of that leak would not work in the White House. Funny how the tone softened when the noose began to tighten around those in the inner circle. First the policy was reworded to "no criminal" and now it's "can't comment while an investigation is under way."
Can we say flip-flop?
The administration is pushing for making the Patriot Act permanent and expanding its powers to snoop into our private lives with no more excuse than a fishing expedition. Bravo to the librarians who refuse to turn over all records of their patrons' borrowing and internet activities without a good reason.
Tonight the headlines announce passing a budget bill to cut $50 billion from Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and other programs, while at the same time approving a bill to extend tax relief for the wealthy. How quickly the appalling scenes of abject poverty in the after math of Katrina have faded from our consciousness.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said that the proposed cuts were to "rein in the growth of federal spending" (I have a better idea. How about cut that $50 billion from Iraq.)
There is a disconnect between this administration and the common man.
The man in the White House has run up a foreign debt larger than all former presidents combined in only a few years.
The man in the White House wants to make a constsitutional amendment denying civil rights to a sizeable percentage of the population.
The man in the White House continues to flit about the world trying to find a country, any country where he will be welcomed as a great man, but meeting only angry mobs (from which he is shielded, while he parties with the heads of state).
At home the coffins pile up, the poor and homeless are facing a thankless holiday season and those who dare to speak up are branded as traitors, even if they have served their country nobly in past wars, which is something neither our president or our vice president can say.
I have never been so ashamed to be an American. I almost wish that some foreign power would come swooping in here determined to liberate us from this totalitarian regime and restore the country to the kind of democracy we say we are trying bring to the people of Iraq.
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