10 years ago this week, SCOTUS made one of the worst rulings in recent US History with Bush v. Gore. Things have only gotten worse from that day, and it is continually proven to us by our political and judicial leaders just how unimportant we actually are. I think that’s all that really needs to be said today.
Archive for the 'President Bush' Category
I’ve railed against the paparazzi in the past, especially when they’ve taken some deeply personal incidents in a person’s life and made them incredibly public. There’s no reason why Dick Cheney’s and George W. Bush’s crimes, deceits, and missteps should be largely ignored while actors and singers whose lives have no impact on our own should have everything they do broadcast for all to see. Deciding to make a movie, TV show, or album is not the same as choosing to run for public office, and yet one career is scrutinized a every step with personal attacks and public failures and the other is left alone to fester until real damage is done. Even if you believe that a career in film or TV opens you up to public criticism, hopefully you agree that there are limits. Halle Berry should have been able to play with her infant in her own backyard without being photographed* (and as a mother, if someone had done that to me I would have ripped their head off). Politicians should be transparent in most aspect, but Barack Obama should have been able to place a prayer* in the Wailing Wall without it being taken out and made public. This country has some seriously screwed-up priorities and a better America is a pipe dream until the media stops bombarding us with useless information that only harms us.
*Out of respect for both individuals, I will not post the pictures or the prayer.
I saw a piece on 60 Minutes about Christians in Iraq. Before the war there were over one million Christians practicing openly in Iraq without being bothered because Saddam Hussien allowed for religious freedom. That meant that women could drive, work, go to school, etc… Since the beginning of the US occupation of Iraq the Christian population has dwindled significantly. A young man in the story told of how his family split their time at mass so that if the church was bombed, only half of them would die. The Christians who survived the initial religious persecution by the Islamic Fundamentalists have mostly escaped to Syria. All that are left are the women whose men have been killed, the very old, and children. They practice their religion in secret.
My problem with this story was the spin. 60 Minutes detailed how the Christians were surviving in Iraq and how their lives had been better before the US invasion, but glossed over the part where their slaughter was largely our fault. It is true that had we not invaded, these people would still be living under the rule of Saddam Hussein, who had NO ties to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda AND allowed his people some religious and social freedom that is wholly absent from the Iraq of today. Now that is impossible. The militants have made sure of that. Good for us!
Wouldn’t it be nice if, during this time of a national environmental crisis, in which towns are being leveled by tornadoes and swept away by floods, we had some sort of force – a National Guard, perhaps – to help these towns and cities clean up and rebuild? Wouldn’t it have been wonderful is some past President had thought of a situation in which we might need such a “Reserve Army” if you will, and had made provisions for such a thing? And if a President had done so, wouldn’t it be a little irresponsible (maybe even slightly criminal) for a current President to commit that force elsewhere, out of the country which they had taken an oath to serve, to fight a foreign enemy on foreign soil and leave them there for an extended length of time, even when they are needed despareately at home? Might that not be a reason for impeachment, especially if it had happened more than once during a particular President’s term?
When I was in college (sometime in 1997) I read an opinion piece about the lack of heroes in America and I wrote a counterargument for a class I was taking. I remember focusing on the small, everyday heroes (firemen, teachers, the occasional cop), probably unable to find the large scale heroes the piece was longing for, thus inadvertently proving the author’s point. I wish I had that counterargument. I think I would be amused at how naive and self-absorbed I was. Here was this prophetic piece of writing in front of me and I dismissed it completely. I actually believed the things my parents, teachers, politicians, and news anchors told me. I didn’t look elsewhere because I had the opinion of everyone that mattered. Even through college I remained ignorant of what was really going on around me. I probably would be to this day if I hadn’t met my husband. (Man, that revelation is going to piss some people off.) It terrifies me to think of how many things I missed in my youth. But it horrifies me more to look ahead.
I see what this drop in the economy is doing to my city. I’m watching my students get more depressed and angry by the day as their parents lose jobs, their rent goes unpaid, and they try to study on empty stomachs and lost hopes. They’re afraid to graduate, knowing there’s not really anyplace to go. We send some to college, but trade school is becoming a waste. Who wants to get into student loan debt when there’s no promise of a job when you graduate? They refuse to join the army and I’m torn between being proud that they won’t fight this pointless war and upset knowing that their salary would have provided them three meals a day and kept their family afloat, especially when supplemented with combat pay. There’s an up-rise in violence, especially toward law enforcement. This means that people are angry at the establishment, and as our nation degrades financially, the violence will get worse.
There are no heroes in this city. There are no heroes in this country. No one is standing up and saying, “Look around you. We are killing each other. We are letting each other die. Our children have little education and no health care. Our young men and women are hustling on the streets to survive. Our families are broken. Unemployment is high. Teenage pregnancy is high. Truancy is high. This has to stop.” Not loud enough to be heard. Maybe the problems seem so overwhelming that no one has any ideas(except Al Gore, Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich). They’re stunned. They’re looking at the wreckage of our city and our country and shaking their heads. We need a hero. Or maybe we have the heores, adn we just won’t listen.
The United States has put out a video supposedly showing Iranian soldiers dropping what they claim to be explosive devices in the water near US Ships in the Persian Gulf. I have several problems with this video. First, when the “provocation” was announced, there was no mention of their being video footage of the “attempted attack”. Second, Iran says that the video is doctored, and having seen the video, I tend to agree with them. Though they admit that speedboats were in the area, they contend that this is a normal occurrence and the boats were doing nothing out of the ordinary. The voices of the “Iranians” sound more like American soldiers. The accent isn’t right for a speaker of Farsi, and the audio is easily understood over the roar of US and Iranian vessels. I don’t think the propagandists are even trying anymore. How can anyone take the US Government seriously anymore? Has the enire Iraq war just been a premable to the US going into Iran?
The American News Media has been discussing the situation in Myanmar for over a week now, but not President Bush’s connection to what’s going on there. I think it’s important that we call attention to protesting repressive governments as much as possible, but I can’t help but wonder why we’re forcusing on this particular one. The more I watch the news the more I see how much control is being exerted over anchors and journalists, whether it be from the government or companies (like the ones fueling the junta) controlling nearly all media outlets.
We hear so much about our freedom these days and how lucky we are to have it, and I tend to think that we’re seeing these protests in Myanmar as a gentle reminder to be thankful that we don’t live in a police state. I don’t think we’re that far away from descending into one, but the average American doesn’t agree. Seeing these protests on the news gives them the opportunity to fluff their feathers and say, “see, if you don’t like the way we run things here in America, go to Myanmar and see how much you like it there”.