Recently, I heard a woman on the radio say that I wasn't a real American. Not a real American? Not a real American? She has inferred that I, and liberals of my ilk, are less than real Americans...
The interviewer asked this kindly citizen what she meant by "real" Americans? You'll be utterly shocked to hear that the answer was, "People like me..."
I repeat, "People like me."
Ah... life in the right-wing utopian's fevered imagination. It's a curious looking place... Everyone is white, even the help (only, the help speaks with Irish, Russian or possibly central European accents). The women, all unambiguously feminine, are married to square-chested, virile men - all of whom evaded the draft the good old-fashioned way, their Daddys bought them out of it. To free them up to do the important things a young man from the right families ought to be doing - getting drunk and investing in enterprises that flop overnight.
Meanwhile, there is an endless supply of patriots who are able and willing to volunteer to go to war, at any time, to defend the motherland... er, homeland. This is especially wonderful, because there are endless wars to defend the empire... er, country, and the business enterprises that support it.
There is no terrorism to combat, however. The word has actually been "removed" from the language. So terrorism does not exist. There are frequent explosions, and death on a massive scale, but it isn't terrorism. Because when victory over terrorism was declared, before it had actually been won, the word was removed from the language so that the victory could be sustained... in the right minds.
There is a lot of golf in the right-wing utopian mind. And a lot of god. It's god, god, god, 24-7. But most especially and loudly when you want someone else to do what you want them to do - the right thing to do. God is especially important to have in your pocket then. And only a fervent believer gets to have god in their pocket. So everyone proclaims their belief upon greeting with the customarily cheerful, "God is on our side!"
Here in the right-wing utopia everyone understands the right way of life. So you don't have to worry in the right-wing utopia. Not about anything as nasty, ugly and unspeakable as... dissent. The few questionable people who crop up every now and again - they're shipped off to the gulag, affectionately called, Old Europe.
Life is good here! You don't have to worry about offending anyone with what you might say, because everybody agrees with the right agenda. So freedom of speech was abolished along with civil liberties, which were subversive and aided no one but the terrorists... who no longer exist - along with all of those other pesky people who once littered the landscape with all of their ambiguous and complex stances on even the most simplistic issues. Issues like patriotism. Real patriots are right minded people! Now how difficult can that be to understand? They were mean and spiteful those people - always questioning right minded Americans. And even, yes, even, the Commander-in-Chief himself! In the right-wing utopia, it's a sin to question the Commander-in-Chief.
I'm so glad that I can live in a place where the right ideas are so well understood! And where the right people can feel safe in knowing that they are being watched, and of course protected, by the right people.
Aw shucks, it's tough to live in the real world, ain't it sister? Where you have to deal with people like me - who have the unmitigated gaul to think differently than you do. As unreal as you view me... I am very much here and very much, to your chagrin, an American. I've got red blood and everything. I got a voting card when I turned 18. I've been sometimes more, sometimes less attentive to politics, but I've voted - even in those pesky local elections. I've volunteered my time to the community, served jury duty without complaint, and paid taxes to a government that refuses to recognize my same-sex relationship. In short, I'm an American citizen, as I would argue, are you - but I wouldn't argue that you're not real.
You see, to me, you are all too real - and you are a real problem as well. Which is why I'm going to be voting for John Kerry in November and doing whatever else I can do until then, in terms of getting as many people to the polls as I possibly can. Then perhaps, extremists like yourselves, who are incapable of holding more than one idea in their head at a time ("People like me good, everyone else not real American.") - will be dragged kicking, screaming and clawing (as I imagine you will be) away from power.
Note: You too can listen to the program on which this woman was heard to utter the words what set me off:
Conservative Film Festival to Debut in Dallas (NPR's Weekend Edition, 09.05.04)
Apparently there's a bumper sticker that reads:
"No one died when Clinton lied."
Sums it up rather well.
A spirited rant from that old-fashioned, liberal, mid-westerner we all know and love:
Were Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore by Garrison Keillor
In the news...
Putin's response: Will the Beslan massacre unify - or divide - the West in the global war on terrorism? by Jim Bencivenga (CSMonitor, 09.08.04)
Which rules of the "Two Americas" do you think George got to play by?
Bush Fell Short on Duty at Guard: Records Show Pledges Unmet by the Globe Spotlight Team (Boston Globe, 09.08.04)
Perhaps the earth isn't flat after all...
Gay Republicans Withhold Bush Endorsement by Paul Johnson (365gay.com, 09.08.04)
If anyone can negotiate debates where Bush is given the questions beforehand and only scripted answers are allowed - it's this cold war leftover:
Bush Camp Names Baker to Lead Debate Negotiations by Steve Holland (Reuters, 09.07.04)
Here we go again... Think the Texans for Truth will get equal media time? Now that would be fair and balanced reporting...
Report: Pentagon Releases More Bush Military Records (Reuters, 09.08.04)
What Ownership Society? by Robert B. Reich (American Prospect, 09.02.04)
Slavery is not dead, just less recognizable: Today, 27 million people are enslaved, more than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade by Susan Llewelyn Leach (CSMonitor, 09.01.04)
FBI Painting Ugly Picture by Eric Margolis (Toronto Sun, 09.06.04)
What I imagine it sounds like in Zen Miller's brain:
"The Democrats used to be a powerful party! We used to be the ones who started the wars! That was us! We got us into the intractable war in Vietnam! We showed determination and leadership back then! That was us! Now we're nothing but a bunch of pansy-assed, anti-war, girlie-men. My party should be starting the misguided wars in the Middle East! I want my party to have crappy domestic policies that benefit the rich and result in miniscule economic growth for workers! While ballooning the national debt. I wanna elect supreme court justices who believe in creationism and want to outlaw the teaching of evolution in schools! And while they're at it, scrap that abortion law (then those women will be put back in their rightful place). I wanna be a real man again! I don't like being called a girlie-man behind my back in the senate! There's an implication in that, that I don't quite understand, but it scares me! I beat up at least two girlie-men before breakfast so no one thinks that I'm that kind of Democrat. The queers have ruined the Democratic party - along with the blacks and Hillary Clinton. Before the Democrats went and ruined this country with civil rights and unions, we used to be a real party. I want to be able to openly disdain gays in public! I want to use all of those Republican code words for anti-minority policies. I'm sure I'll feel better about myself then! In the meantime, I'm going to give the keynote address at the Republican party and call John Kerry a girlie-man, and act like a wild eyed zealot. No one will call me a girlie-man after that, and maybe I can finally come out - as a Republican."
My printer was acting up. This is nothing new, only, it doesn't generally groan when it's doing it. I'm not talking the printer equivalent of a groan, I'm talking an all out throaty groan, maybe a haunted wail... What kind of diagnostic software do you run for that? When looking up "groan" in the troubleshooting section of online help I came up with exactly nada.
It wasn't going to print, in any case. I noted that it wasn't taking paper as it was groaning and thought maybe it was hungry. Poor printer, groaning away and the paper was sitting in the intake tray, millimeters away. So I pushed a sheet into it's mouth. Nada. I tried a couple of times, then pulled the stack of paper out of the in tray and bouncing after it, I kid you not, came - a peanut. The groaning stopped.
Now, I understand that aversion to peanuts isn't exactly a rare condition... I've even known people who would die if they ate one. And I guess I've heard that there are computer peripherals, keyboards, for instance, that are extremely aversive to soda (they're not big on water, either, but soda is a definite no no). But no one's ever mentioned printers being particularly averse to peanuts... Curious. Is there a table that you can consult, on printer manufacturer's website maybe that would list foods that are compatible with this make of printer? I hope it's taste in food isn't as expensive as its taste in inks or I'm screwed.
In the news...
Russian Siege Ends in Bloody Shootout (All Things Considered, 09.03.04)
It's about time...
Kerry Criticizes Cheney for Avoiding Vietnam War (Reuters, 09.02.04)
The time for civility is not at hand:
The Bush Mob Orders Up a Hit by David Corn (The Nation, 09.03.04)
Some people just smell like Republicans (Village Voice, 09.03.04)
Why Democrats Shouldn't Be Scared by Michael Moore (USA Today, 09.03.04)
Dubya Doesn't Do Nuance, Arnie Does - But Even He Lets His Slip Show by Sidney Blumenthal (Guardian UK, 09.02.04)
Sounds suspiciously like a... flip-flop!!! - hoist on their own militaristic petard - or so we can only hope:
Bush Reverses Himself, Says War on Terror Can Be Won by Caren Bohan (Reuters, 08.31.04)
CODEPINK unfurls banner inside RNC AGAIN. Tonight's message:"Cheney and Halliburton, Making a Killing in Iraq" (Progressive Newswire, 09.01.04)
Gee, you mean they made another HUGE miscalculation?
Peace May Elevate Sadr Among Clerics (All Things Considered, 08.30.04, audio file)
I'm not entirely sure what this changes...
Census Bureau Revises Sensitive Data Policy - NYT (Reuters, 08.31.04)
Hundreds of Thousands March Against Bush, War by Raja Mishra and Tatsha Robertson (Boston Globe, 08.30.04)
Excerpt: Near Madison Square Garden, about 200 Bush supporters gathered to respond to the marchers.
''They're a bunch of left-wing pinko communists, and that is about as blunt as I can get," said Ruben Israel, 43, who had traveled from Los Angeles.
Oh dear... isn't he just a ray of inarticulate sunshine?
Let's hope that this is a sign of some kind...
It's Hamster Against Hamster in U.S. Election by Mark Egan (Reuters, 09.01.04)
It's all adding up now...
The dollars and cents of gay marriage by David R. Francis (CSMonitor, 08.30.04)
Think your right to have control over your own bodily functions is a done deal? Think, oh think, again. And if you think that what lies beneath this zeal to protect unborn fetuses has to do with a reverence for life - nope, it has to do with controlling women. Y'all can listen to a conversation with our dear enemy, Mr. Rick "I hate gays and want to control women" Santorum - he tells his point of view of how "activist" judges have corrupted our country. Gloria Feldt, the president of Planned Parenthood, follows him up: Fresh Air program, 08.30.04, audio file
Police Confirm Pipe Bomb Blast at Stem-Cell Lab (Reuters, 08.27.04)
Eat yer veggies:
Most Heart Attacks Easily Predictable, Study Says (Reuters. 08.29.04)
Sleepless in New York? Try a nap inside a pod by Sheera Frenkel (CSMonitor, 09.02.04)
Is it cost effective?! Is it a viable alternative? Is it too good to be true? I hate when it's so new you don't get all of the juicey bits:
Flower Power Cars Could be in Your Future (Fuel Cell Works, 08.24.04)