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Two Funerals and a Baby Shower: Reflections on the Changing Face of America

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Message E. T. SIMON
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On the way to a Baby Shower recently, traffic had to give way to a Funeral Procession exiting the intersection of I-95 and Commercial Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. There was the usual, front and back end police escort stopping traffic in advance of the procession proceeding west on Commercial Boulevard, so that the hearse and mourners could go through, uninterrupted in their grieve and journey, to the awaiting grave at the cemetery of their destination. Or so I thought this was the usual police escort until we came to a stop at the intersection of Commercial Boulevard and Powerline Road, where the rear escort was stopped, waiting for the last car in the procession to go by but, it was also stopped, fractioned in their march, by order of a Broward Sheriff's police cruiser, giving the right of way to another funeral and their Broward Police escort proceeding southward on Powerline Road.

Our car stopped next to the westbound police escort, who, was waiting for the funeral procession moving in the southward direction to clear, and for the tail end of the procession he was escorting to move on through the intersection in their westward march. It, being a cool day for South Florida, the two escorts in the lane next to us wore leather jackets with the words, Federal Police, printed, painted, or embroidered on them. I am not sure.

Those words, Federal Police, really caught my attention. Something seemed out of place. Actually, I suppose that at any other time in history those words, Federal Police, on the back of an escort to a funeral procession, or on his motorcycle, would not have raised a red flag for me; I may not have even paid attention to the fact that in all of the fifty plus years that I have lived here and transited these South Florida roads, I've never seen the words, Federal Police, inscribed on any of the funeral procession escorts that have crossed my path.

However, in these flood-tide times of heightened Bush Nationalism, surveillance on citizens by the Federal government, Bush gulags, speech suppressing, fear planting, American KGB expansion, Homeland Security propaganda, all of that ... the words, Federal Police, on those jackets and motorcycles on the lane next to our car, caught my attention and my fancy.

"Is this a new arm of the Bush dictatorship?" I wondered. "What does a, Federal Police, do that is different from the regular police? Why have I never seen them before? What is their jurisdiction? Who do they apprehend? Where do they incarcerate people? Are they the ones who transfer people to Bush's gulags or from Bush's gulags to the cemetery? Are they the ones in charge of custodial care (policing the streets) when Bush's nefarious Attorney General comes to the Federal Buildings in the South Florida area?"

So many questions like a quick changing kaleidoscope, fast clicked inside my head at the sight of just those words, Federal Police, on those jackets and motorcycles!

Lending to the air of mystery which surrounded the questions inside my, by now, racing mind, the black hearse was followed by black SUVs of the kind that follow presidential limousines and other people in the Bush administration whenever they are out traveling.

There were black Mercedes-Benzes too, and there was one red SUV which missed the funeral procession as it crossed that Commercial Boulevard -Powerline Road intersection as the escort and the rest of the procession moved on, while, the red SUV kept honking its horn for the car ahead of it (which was not in the procession) to move on-but, which, thankfully it did not, since there could have been major carnage in that intersection if the car had moved as the driver in the red SUV desperately wanted him to do.

There was no trail of everyday citizen cars as part of that funeral procession. There was just a handful of SUVs and Mercedes-Benz. Not a high official being buried, I thought. But, seemingly, someone with enough clout to merit a Federal Police escort to their grave or a Bush Honorable Mention, I thought.

Who, then, was this Federal Official, this Federal person, being escorted to his or her resting place and what position had he, or she, held in the Federal Government? I don't know. But I wondered. I was curious.

It was obvious that the procession had come north on I-95 from the south part of the County (Broward), or even from Miami-Dade. It turned west on Commercial Boulevard and continued to travel west to State Road 7, where it turned south again, to ... we lost them at the Oakland Park Boulevard intersection. They got caught by a stalled vehicle on the lane they were traveling; the head escort waited for traffic on the left hand lane to clear before moving the procession to that lane. I did see through the rear view mirror the red SUV finally catch up to the funeral procession and said to myself, "if he doesn't apply the brakes he is going to slam into that car ahead of him." He didn't. He applied the brakes.

They seemed to be lost, not knowing where they were headed, not knowing where they were going, as so much of the Federal Government seems to be these days, from the lack of response to the Katrina victims, to the duct tape on your house to protect you from a terrorist attack, as claimed by Homeland Security chief, Tommy Thompson, once upon a time; to Michael Chertoff's answer to a local newscaster on the heels of Wilma here in South Florida that questions about why there was not enough fuel to keep hospitals running are not to be asked on air, to ... Bush, who doesn't seem to know where he is going with his Iraq surge, or, who is simply playing footsies with America, knowing exactly where he is headed but saying one thing like blaming terrorists for the massacre in Iraq ... while knowing full well that those terrorists are insurgents who do not want their land and country occupied ad sacked by Bush's America... and all this while, Bush is making out of America a corpse lost in space...like the funeral procession which did not seem to know where it was headed.

Caught betwixt the celebration of a birth to be and the procession of a funeral that was, I was also reminded that our physical bodies will one day just simply die, and that even if none of us ever wants to die, we will. There is no escaping that. Not for George Bush. Not for Alberto Gonzalez. Not for Poppy or Mommy Bush, Not for Dick Cheney. Not for Chris Matthews who drools on hearing Bush tell C-Span that he worries about his father who watches the television news and has to listen to all the ... things being said against Poppy's loved one. Not for anyone of us... and certainly not for those loved ones who get the Bush shaft and get to come back in caskets which are not even shown on our television screens because Bush wants to have his cake and eat it too.

I realized that, also for me, Bush has turned those words, Federal Police, into unfriendly, shadowy words which give rise, in my head, to a reminder of the derailing of our country, the destruction of our Constitutional Democracy as perpetrated by George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Bush Senior, Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, James Baker, George Gates, the mainstream media, our compliant Congress, the suck-up Supreme Court and by so many others who have enabled the two George Bushes to get away with riding our Constitution into a long, dying journey, to the grave.

A dying journey which many want to deny and a grave which cannot be seen by the many who have the need to deny the changing face of our America.
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