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Home of the Brave or Shelter for the Cowering?

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By Charles L. Riccillo

In these times of economic confusion, rumors run rampant, the formerly brave begin to shudder! Where has the quintessential American "can do" spirit gone?

We always want to believe that ours is constantly a nation evolving with infinite promise and opportunity. But, contrary to that view, a hideous specter has arisen to shake our self confidence. Like the criminal personality of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," two - or in this case multiple, national - individual personalities come together to form a third, vicious entity. The face of that entity, cruel, frightened, and malevolent, now veritably haunts this nation with increasing possessive force.

As Senator Joe Biden aptly observed to Governor Palin during the recent, single debate: "The past is prologue." Thus, we cannot even begin to get a handle on present difficulties without at least some critical questioning and past recall.

During the Reagan era, a North Carolian friend in theater, now a judge - having returned to college for a law degree - told me that his mother, a social worker in Fayetteville, related that the figures on unemployment had become an outright lie! What could one make of statistics, he queried of me, which count people as employed when they have only ceased to be paid unemployment insurance monies? That lie compounded many others, including "trickle down, voo-doo economics," Iran-Contra, and the administration of Universities as though they were businesses instead of institutions of higher learning .

The lies, over the years, have grown more blatant with each and every Republican administration. While we long for Wall Street's recovery for Main Street's sake, we cannot help but re-examine the dastardly untruths of not one, but two Bush administrations. The current George is pleading for action now, and nary a soul stops to mention that the price of salvation is the same as the cost of perdition: a national debt spiraling completely out of control from a foolish and ill-begotten war.

How have we come to this pass?

With the suspension of civil liberties by the Patriot's Act, and the torture of so many Muslims - whether justified or not, we have arrived at a point more closely resembling fascism than liberty!

The first George announced he had never even met Noriega. The following morning, pictures of him with that dictator appeared in newspapers across the nation.

The second, even more egregiously stretched the truth in falsely justifying the invasion of Iraq! W. M. D. - "Weapons of Mass Destruction" failed to materialize. Where no insurgency previously existed, many, whether Sunni or other sect, began to pop up viciously in every corner of Iraq. Death tolls mounted, and the second George tried to hide even the returning, flag-draped coffins from the press! Millions per day and billions per month were spent, as if a blank check had been issued to a delinquent son by a careless father!

Spend, spend, spend!

Meanwhile the death toll mounted. If, like our republican governmental kin in England, an executive could have been ousted by a vote of "no confidence," surely the current President Bush would have been sent packing long ago! Vice President Cheney doesn't even bother to hide the fact that his Halliburton interests will soon yield him billions of dollars now in escrow!

Then, as we heard in the Biden-Palin debate, comes the chant, "Drill, baby, drill!"


No one bothers to mention that the big-oil, multi-national conglomerates haven't even bothered to re-invest record profits in the infrastructure of our nation, and, most particularly, in the refineries necessary to capitalize upon such furiously cranking oil wells!

So a clarion, resounding call of "take, take, take" from our natural resources has swelled in volume and intensity, without any heed to an ecological and financial "Inconvenient Truth." The earth lies panting, its human, animal, and vegetable inhabitants gasping for breath beneath the depleted ozone of our planet.

Where will it end?

Even Forest Gump would say, perhaps, like a modern, albeit slow-thinking Thomas Payne: "wisdom is as wisdom does!" Yet I see no wisdom, no prudence, no saving grace from our perils, except as real change can be incorporated, like that to which Senators Obama and Biden have committed.

We have arrived at the point in the woods where two paths diverge. One, mayhap, leads to salvation - upward rather than falling headlong into disaster. The other, likely the easiest and most common road, takes us downward from off the mountaintop Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once aspired to scaling.

Let us choose a direction this November.

Let us choose wisely, for surely, salvation or perdition shall result from our choice!

Charles L. Riccillo
Pueblo, CO, USA


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EARLY 50's BOOMER:Leo.Decidedly heterosexual & available EDUCATION;Roman Catholic grade & college-prep, Roncalli High '69, Honors grad, Triple Distinction,National Forensic League.BA: Theatre Univ.WY ''75 Outstanding Theatre Senior & "Who's Who (more...)

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