The other day my son called me from the mall to tell me that he was swarmed by military recruiters all wanting him to enlist. There were three recruiters in the mall itself and another team working in tandem in the parking lot. He explained to them, "I've spent the last three years trying to build my own business. Do you really think that I would just chuck it all to join the Marines? Why would I want to do that?"
"Aren't you patriotic? Don't you love your country?" the recruiter countered with the confidence of a Philadelphia lawyer.
"Yeah?" My son answered, "I've got buddies who've come home in boxes and I got a buddy who came home messed up in the head, and for what? He's sitting in a brig in Texas. He was fine when he left home; now you people say he's a criminal only worthy of a jail cell, but he was good enough for you when you wanted him to serve his country!"
What alternative universe could contain such thoughts? The former President lives in a dream world detached from reality. He thinks after six thousand Americans dead and seventy-five thousand wounded and almost a trillion dollars just pissed away that it is somehow about his soul?
Asked if the former President had any regrets, "I spend a lot of time thinking about Katrina, and whether I could have sent in the federal troops right away, even though it was against the law," Bush replied.
American politics has become a never-ending Wagnerian opera; onstage the hero with sword and shield fights the very gods themselves for justice. Yet when the curtain falls and the lights go dim, he smokes cigarettes and drinks brandy backstage and doesn't give a fat rat's ass about truth or justice.
The entire health care debate looks like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. There is no doubt that health care reform is decades overdue. But the house is on fire; is that a good time to choose to rearrange the furniture? We have in this country three million people who lost their homes in the past ninety days. Unemployment claims are running at more than over half a million per week! Four hundred thousand struggling Americans lost their unemployment benefits October 1st because the Senate wanted to play procedural games.
Before hurricane Katrina, the population of New Orleans was 485,000 people. Last week a number exceeding the entire population of New Orleans filed for unemployment. A number equal to the entire population of New Orleans lost all unemployment benefits. Six times the pre-Katrina population of New Orleans have lost their homes since July.
The healthcare debate is being waged along partisan lines, your health versus large corporate profits. The Congress struggles to find a balance; meanwhile, the nutballs on the right call it socialism and ask, by what power does the constitution allow the government to intrude into the healthcare industry? But a better question to ask might be, by what power does the constitution allow the corporations of the country to be placed on the balance scales against the wellbeing of the people?
This weekend the President declared the H1N1 flu outbreak a national emergency. Very well, are there any inoculations available for cold weather? Homelessness? Unemployment? Underemployment? A government with seven billion dollars in aid money for social programs in Pakistan tells its own unemployed, "Well, we will just have to wait and see." That's cold comfort, Bubba! Tell your countrymen with children that maybe there will be more jobs next year or the year after that.
So, Congress explains how they're fighting for or against healthcare reform to people sleeping in tents. How they will fight to the ends of the earth for the public option when what was needed was single payer, but that was off the table because corporations couldn't profit off of your illness with single payer. They treat us like the Eloi, and millions of gullible sheep are sitting quietly and waiting for the sirens to go off.
We've become a populace living in a semi-conscious state, unaware and clueless. Numb and emotionless, clinging to meaningless euphemisms and statistics. Reciting jingoistic slogans over a mother's tears. A "casualty" means that some American boy's head has been splattered on the ground for some god-damned political theory for the ignorant. Wasted in the name of corporate America, but we love our troops.