July 4th is quite a national holiday. I never liked it because, the older I get, the more I disdain and avoid fireworks. My cats hate that bombardment each July 4th evening- it scares the dickens out of them! To see grown men cavorting around with rockets and cherry bombs exploding all about, just for the thrill of the excitement.... well, I'd rather watch a horse race or listen to vintage Rolling Stones. To their credit, the Nascar aficionados like an exciting car race. Good for them. One wonders, when Cheney showed up on that warm, pleasant evening, did anyone in the crowd ponder " Hey, you know, my neighbor's kid is in the Guard, and he's over there for his 2nd tour. Didn't ole Dick avoid serving during Vietnam, what, five or six times? Is it true that when he was asked why he avoided serving in a war he supported, did he really say ' I had other priorities.' Is that true?"
Before we slam those Nascar folks too much, lets look at other Americans who have become CO dependent on the status quo. Yesterday in Iraq, it must have been over 120 degrees in that desert furnace. How many young American troops have died there already- what, over 2500? How many tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead from that morally reprehensible phrase collateral damage? So we stand on our town's street corner each week, holding signs to protest the Bush/ Cheney fake war. How many of our neighbors can we entice to join us, what , about 20 or so? On a good day, perhaps we get 25? Many folks float by at rush hour and honk and wave to us in support. Yet, they refuse to park and join us, even for ten minutes! They hate this so called ' War', and they are disgusted with the myriad of oppressive acts by this administration and its compliant Congress. Yet, they are still CO dependent on the status quo of high home prices and a vibrant stock market. The state of the economy and of their lives has not yet reached critical mass .Unlike during Vietnam, there is no military draft, so their sons and ( yes) daughters are safe for now. As long as someone else's kids are in that hornets nest sweating out each day, its OK. Oh sure, they don't like the fact that health care is in such a shambles, and that the ' wolf is around the corner' on that issue. They don't like the fact that government eavesdropping is now in vogue, or that the rich get off the hook on inherited family fortunes. They turn a blind eye when they read how CEOs of oil companies are earning hundreds of millions per year. And on and on.
Then we come to the others in our community, the ones who are really getting the shaft. You know them. Some of them greet you at Wal-Mart, or cash you out at Publix. They do the menial jobs for the dead end pay. They have little or no health coverage, cannot afford dental care , they pay ever increasing rents, and they are either ' car poor' or they drive old clinkers. Every town has them: the underclass. They too pass by our protest signs, saying and doing nothing. Some of them are even so hooked on right wing talk radio and Fox cable shows that they actually support the very people who are driving home the spike into their economic chests. Sad, but true.
So, there you have it. As we celebrate Independence Day, America is in three camps. We have the flag waving, yellow ribbon, born again supporters of the Bush/ Cheney crusade to democratize the world at gunpoint. Then we have the ostriches who don't wish to make waves. Finally, we have the true patriots who question everything and overlook nothing. ' Door number 1, Door number 2, and Door number 3'. America, the great game show. How fitting on this, CO Dependence Day 2006.
Philip A Farruggio is a small businessman, progressive activist leader, columnist and part time radio talk show host. He can be reached at email@example.com.