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I Was Lying About Monsters

The sound of an airplane overhead drew me outside – there were no airplanes in the sky over America that afternoon, not anywhere in the country. You could go out in your yard and hear the silence, a sound unto itself, like when an air conditioner kicks off in the middle of the night.

So I was standing there in the driveway watching the sky, hearing its hidden vacuum cleaner sounds, looking for vapor trails.

It was Air Force One, I found out when I went inside. The President of the United States, escorted by a squad of fighters, on his way to do whatever it was he needed to do that day.

No one knew if this was the beginning of the attacks or the end. It seemed like mushroom clouds could bloom on the horizon any second, and I found myself thinking about military targets in central Ohio – what was here that might be attacked?

DCSC, I thought – a defense contractor or military base or something, I didn’t know exactly what it was. But it was right there on the east side of Columbus, and we had a Federal Building downtown. And an international airport, too.

Ellen was three and a half years old. I picked her up at preschool and found a sign on the wall which asked us not to discuss the attacks with our children, since they’d only spend the next few days freaking each other out.

I remember not liking it, not liking the idea that anyone might instruct me on how to talk to my daughter about this – or how not to talk to her. And anyway, it wasn’t an option for me. Ellen is a little Deanna Troi from Star Trek, an empath, and she always has been. She can’t quite read your mind, but she can feel your emotions about as clearly as you can.

Try lying to her about being terrified – go ahead. You might as well try and convince her it’s winter on the Fourth of July.

Big Uncle Shawn had come over. His mother was in Cincinnati with her husband, and he was as convinced she was safe as one could be, and so he came to our house. If society collapsed and we had to make a break for western Canada, well let’s just say that was something we were prepared to do.

We had only recently brought a television back into the house – we hadn’t had one for years – and we moved it downstairs into the den so we could watch the news without filling the whole house with it. Ellen didn’t care if we wanted her to see it or not; she already knew something was horribly wrong, and a round of Polly Pockets was pretty much off the table.

She crept in quietly while we watched the cavalcade of non-Hollywood explosions, filthy and gray and quick, devouring New Yorkers like a freakish sandstorm. Human beings were jumping out of windows a half a mile in the sky, to escape the heat.

Ellen was simply standing there all of the sudden, next to us. She said, “Why are they jumping, Daddy?”

Shawn was accustomed to Ellen’s little girl ways, but by no means was he prepared to answer that one. I shrugged and told her the truth. “Some people crashed some airplanes into these really tall buildings in New York, and knocked them down. It’s a big deal. A lot of people died, Ellen.”

“On purpose?”

“Yes, on purpose.”

She chewed on it with her brain and then asked, “Did they die, too?”

That took me a second to figure out. She wanted to know if the guys who flew the planes into buildings on purpose had died. I hadn’t really thought of it that way – at least there was that.

“Yes, they died, too.”

Still too young to really get a grasp on death, it troubled her. With no religion to simplify it for her, we’d been forced to be as honest with her about death as I was being about the attacks – we don’t know what happens when you die, that’s all there is to it.

She said, “Why would they do that?”

More people on the television fleeing down the street as another rumbling cloud of debris overtook them, and then the camera itself. Shawn turned it off.

I said, “There are people in the world, Ellen, who are just monsters. I don’t know how else to put it. They were monsters and they did something terrible.”

She had climbed onto my lap as I answered, and now she looked up at me, her eyebrows furrowed in a level of concentration usually reserved for chess players. She said, “You told me there was no such thing as monsters, Daddy.”

That’s exactly what she said.

And I’ll never forget the look Shawn and I exchanged as that little piece of her innocence fell away, the chilling realization that these people, these monsters, these terrorists, whatever you wanted to call them – they’d done exactly what they’d meant to do.

I told her, “I’m sorry, Ellen.” And I was.

Because there wasn’t anything else to say.

 

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Just Like Seein’ Bigfoot

You know how whenever anyone sees Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster or Ogopogo, they’re so freaked out that they can’t snap a decent picture of what’s obviously, definitely, not horseshit and is instead really right in front of them? So what you get is something that looks like a large, blurry man in a Bigfoot suit:

Bigfoot Classic

Or a snorkeler with a Monster-Shaped Sock Puppet:

Loch Ness Monster

Or I guess sometimes yes, they do get a decent picture of Ogopogo. Watch out, kids!

Ogopogo

Well that’s how I feel when I see a Women For Romney bumper sticker. Let me tell you something – they are OUT there. You just have to keep your eyes open. My friend Spang and I call each other when we see them – ohmygod, ohmygod, OHMYGOD! TOM! I SAW ONE!

Then we get cosmos. Other than that, we’re pretty manly.

But not the bumper sticker. I’ve never been able to get a clear picture of one, but here’s an artist’s rendition straight from my own personal Google Image files:

Women For Romney

See? It’s pink – that means chicks dig it. And some of the letters are all fancy, like a girl wrote it on her notebook, a girl who doesn’t just “like” Romney, but who “‘like’ likes” him. Sometimes they don’t even get bumper stickers, they just spray paint their whole Romney-ending name all over their car, as if they’ve already married him and his First Wife. Stephanie Meredith Romney! In a big heart, you know.

But anyway, today I saw this cryptozoological wonder cross my path:

Bigfoot2

Holy shit! Christians For Obama!

At first, I didn’t even comprehend it. Why would Christians ever vote for a guy who is not only a Muslim, but also a Satanist AND an Atheist? FROM KENYA?

I don’t know, but this guy not only did it, but he’s permanently bragging about it on his car! Who’s driving it, Mothman??

I’ll tell you, it was a spiritual experience, like looking the Abominable Snowman right in the eye across a card table, thinking, “He’s got the jack. He doesn’t have the jack. HE’S GOT THE JACK!”

Surely you can relate. Anyway, someone needs to fly me to Loch Ness or to Bigfoot Town (Canada? Seattle? I don’t know where Bigfoot lives) cause do you see how I calmly stopped texting while I was driving, and snapped a picture of the Sasquatchmobile? I’m like motherscratching Steve McQueen, baby.

Cool, now I have to go run this by some network execs, make some scratch. Don’t show anybody, blogosphere, because it’s not worth any money that way.

Bigfoot SuitNow, I know a lot of you are like, Tom, that could just be a Jesus Fish Eating A Darwin Fish bumper sticker wearing a Christians For Obama bumper sticker suit. Like when those knuckleheads said they had Bigfoot in a freezer and instantly, pre-Tom-On-Facebook, someone came to my desk to show me their Facebook page and asked me what I thought of it.

I said, “Well, shit, I’d say that’s either Bigfoot in a freezer, or it’s a Bigfoot Suit in a freezer. And since we already know there are Bigfoot suits, and since we don’t know if there’s Bigfoot, etc., etc. etc.”

Well – we’ll just have to let Science decide, and Science can tell History, and someone from Television can give me a check, is how I think this works. I’m going to get a new suit and a steak dinner, you guys stay here in case my studio check shows up.

 

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Welcome To Crazy Town

Driving around outside of Columbus without satellite radio, without any recorded books, with zero CDs and I mean zero, the way I listen to the radio is I hit the scan button and then wait for a reason to stop scanning. Sometimes it’s a song in the general vein I like, and that might mean good news for twenty miles or so. Sometimes it’s somebody British, saying British things.

This time it was a conservative religious talk show, and the three second-snippet which caused me to stop the scanner included the phrase “homo marriage.”

Chet From Weird Science Making EggsI’m pretty sure the woman who used the term – especially since she proceeded to use it repeatedly for the next half hour – believed that it was the proper term for gay marriage. Because if you’re using terms which would seem normal coming out of Chet from Weird Science, then you can pretty much bet the farm your lingo is legit.

Welcome to Crazy Town, is what I assume the show was called, though the key word there is “assume.” In truth, I can’t tell you who these people were or even what station they were on, but that’s where they were broadcasting from, and I’m pretty sure one of them was the Mayor.

The first thing they were doing was hammering down the following point: Teaching evolution in school without also teaching that Maybe It Was Magic, well that’s not teaching science, that’s indoctrinating students into a non-Christian philosophy, just basically cramming the Opposite of The Bible down their throats and then stamping the word “Science” on it.

“The Word of God predates science!”  One of them complained. He’s the one I think was the Mayor, sounding like Pat Robertson thirty years younger with a couple of solid martinis in him.

They all cracked up at how obvious that was, and then to demonstrate how much it was obviously a bad idea to teach Science without the Word of God, the woman – I’ll call her the Reverse Terminator, because she sounded like she had maybe come forward in time a hundred years, and like she knew nothing about technology of any kind, and was perhaps even unaware I could hear her in my car – pointed out that a recent study had shown NINETY PERCENT of young people now believed in Homo Marriage.

Hell in a handbasket, they all agreed. And then suddenly they were talking about the Bill of Rights, unaware of the irony, since it’s the reason you can’t teach Christianity in schools.

Saul GoodmanThey had a special guy on there and again, I was driving a car, didn’t catch his name. Let’s call him Fast Eddie, because he sounded like a grifter and wanted me to go to his website and get his free pamphlet which would teach me the Bill of Rights.

Hmm, I thought. Why don’t I just consult my own copy of the Bill of Rights, if I’m feeling like I need a refresher? Or perhaps I could google it. Me and George W. Bush – we LOVE to do the google.

Fast Eddie wanted to remind us of various agencies which were buying a bunch of hollow point bullets. All of these agencies seemed like weird agencies to be buying bullets, but if you just do the google the way Me-n-W like to do it, you can easily learn that most large government agencies, even the Social Security Administration, have hundreds of special agents who work in connection with law enforcement to investigate various types of crimes. All of these agencies get trained, all of them carry guns, and hollow point bullets are standard issue.

Fast Eddie, the Reverse Terminator, and The Mayor all wanted to talk about hollow point bullets for a while. They called them Killer Bullets, and were very outraged because I guess if you’re going to allow a federal agent to shoot someone in the line of duty, you want him to do so gently.

Hey, is it okay if Zeke from Tractor Supply picks up a few thousand Killer Bullets? Damn Right! It’s the Second Amendment!

But not the government, and certainly not any government agency which doesn’t intuitively sound like they might need them. They didn’t even want the Department of Homeland Security having hollow point bullets.

I mean, what do they need them for? Did anything about the recent gun debate lead them to believe that there were millions of nutcases in America absolutely slobbering for guns, bullets, and something to shoot?

Gun Show

After all, The Mayor reminded me. Obama is now literally a hitman.

Those are two real words he used together. Literally, hitman.

“He’s killing American citizens with these drones!” The Mayor announced, and no, he’s not. Eric Holder just said that it was technically possible – see this previous post about it.

“These drones are going to have scanners,” the Mayor continued. “They’ll be able to see through the walls of your house.”

“Well what are you doing in your house that you don’t want them to see?” Asked the Reverse Terminator instinctively, cracking me up because telling you what you can do in your own house is something these folks generally like to do.

“Well, anything,” said the Mayor. “You could be fixing dinner, chopping up vegetables, facing your wife and then a SWAT team piles through your door thinking you’re threatening her.”

FlandersSo let’s all reflect on what a grasp it takes on law enforcement budgets if we think SWAT teams are going to be called in every time the X-Ray Drones see a knife. And let’s also reflect on how creepy it is that the Mayor went there first – What if the drones think I’m threatening my wife at knifepoint?

Good question, Mayor of Crazy Town. What if the flying robot thinks that, and then the SWAT guys all turn into incompetent bufoons who would do whatever the flying robot says? Say, would you like to talk to some SWAT guys about whether or not they are drooling morons?

Anywho, if that’s what you conservatives are listening to all day, no wonder you’re all losing your minds. And if you’re wondering why no one is as outraged as you about Benghazi, Chicken Little, it’s because absolutely EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS is an Obama conspiracy when you’re broadcasting from Crazy Town.

A nice place to visit though. I imagine one could get a pretty tasty slice of apple pie there, yes sir. But I don’t think I’ll be visiting the local real estate office. And also I think someone should go check on The Mayor’s wife.

 

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The Introspective Double Standard Double Standard Post

MobRemember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut, and we all marched up to his eerie, mountaintop castle with pitchforks and torches for a while? Good times, I know. I have a little scrap-book.

The defense that conservatives unified behind – and which in a way, lost the election for them – was to declare that The Liberals Have A Double Standard. After all, Bill Maher calls women “sluts” sometimes, and you aren’t yelling at him.

It may have lost the election for them because it avoided the topic. They suddenly wanted to talk about Bill Maher instead of addressing the fact that it wasn’t just Rush who was the problem. There was an element of the whole party being perceived as out of touch or indifferent to women at best, hostile at worst.

Here’s how they always sounded – “Yes, Rush shouldn’t have said that. But Bill Maher says that, and you aren’t mad at him. The Liberals Have A Double Standard.”

Then shockingly, they would add “I still don’t see why I should have to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control.”

I mean, forget that if that’s the definition of paying for something, then you very clearly want Sandra Fluke to pay for your babies, or rather for your lack of birth control. Forget that saying such a thing suggests that you have no understanding at all of how insurance works.

ZappIt’s a little sandwich of disrespect, starting with a very token acknowledgment that Rush Is Bad, a change of subject suggesting it’s bad but everybody does it so no big deal, then a REPEATED VERSION OF RUSH’S SHITTY LOGIC!

I don’t think the ladies liked that very much.

However, the real reason Republicans unified around the defense was that it was accurate. Liberals very definitely have a double standard. If you are standing around espousing liberal views, supporting a liberal cause, and then occasionally you’re a sexist prick, we’re going to yell at you.

But not nearly like we would if you are normally standing around espousing sexist views, supporting a sexist cause, and then you say something not only sexist, but demonstrably false and damaging to women.

Of course, not all liberals are the same. Certain factions of liberals hate Bill Maher 24/7. Certain factions get mad really easily, certain factions don’t give a shit. I’m sure conservatives are the same way.

ChappelleAnd to be fair, the reason no one was going after Bill Maher in the way they went after Rush Limbaugh was that folks already went after him in that manner, after 9/11. He lost his show because people didn’t like something he said, they raised a stink, threatened boycotts and his advertisers freaked. He had to go to a subscription service, where people pay for content that’s for the most part unaffected by sponsors.

But it’s true, liberals have a double standard. So do conservatives. It’s pretty inevitable. Sarah Silverman can crack jokes about Jewish people. Mel Gibson ought to steer clear. It’s a double standard, but we’re going to go ahead, I think, as a society, and keep it.

I suppose we could sit here for a few hours, make a list of relevant distinctions between Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh, between Sarah Silverman and Mel Gibson, show that they aren’t truly analogous. But political discussions don’t move like that. No one has the patience for a microscope. It’s better to just concede the double standard.

And right about now, it would be nice if conservatives would also concede the double standard.

warAdmit, for instance, that there were identical questions surrounding 9/11 to those surrounding Benghazi. If you think that we should have been as mad at Maher as we were at Limbaugh, then I think you should be 750 times as mad about 9/11 as you are about Benghazi, but quite the opposite, conservatives were appalled that anyone would question the Commander In Chief on the heels of such heinous terrorist attacks. It emboldens the enemy, we were told.

Suddenly the President runs the IRS. Suddenly it’s his responsibility, because he’s the boss. But when it’s Abu Graib, shit – that wasn’t Bush’s fault. He can’t be everywhere. And he can spend money we don’t have, while Obama gets his travel expenses audited. Hundreds of billions of dollars we don’t have on a WMD-less War? Coolsville. Hundreds of billions of dollars trying to fix the economy Bush crashed into the ground? You can’t spend money we don’t have, Obama!

Constant, pervasive double standards.

Which is cool, we all have them. What they really are is irrelevant. Either you’ve got a valid argument or you don’t. Doesn’t matter rhetorically whether or not you used it last year.

What the double standard brings into question is your motives. Why are you outraged now but you weren’t then? The most likely possibility is, you aren’t outraged. You are just affecting your outrage for other purposes. Or, you’ve purchased the outrage from your television, believing it to be real.

A time for us all to look inward, I suppose.

 

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A Word About Drone Strikes

televisionIf the way you approach news is, you let your television barf into your brain and then you run around rebarfing whatever collection of sounds you heard out into the ears or onto the screens of anyone within your actual or digital reach, then you’ve probably been doing a lot of hand-wringing and lamenting about how Obama thinks he can drone strike you while you play cornhole.

Or perhaps you think that background checks would be a violation of your Second Amendment rights. (No, and I dare you to make me explain that to you).

Both of these things are clearly, demonstrably false. If you’re still saying them, then you’re wrong (best case), not very bright (sorry) or lying (Why?).

Most of the people I know fall under the first category – you’re simply uninformed. But you know, in the Internet Age, you shouldn’t be staying uninformed very long. Your convictions are pretty meaningless if you aren’t checking into them to verify their validity, or if you simply stick your fingers into your ears when someone calmly and efficiently explains to you that you’re wrong. That’s how convictions turn into lies and delusions.

Here’s an article on Forbes entitled Rand Paul Shockingly Now Supports The Use Of Drones On US Soil To Kill Americans-So What Was That Filibuster Thing All About? I’m not crazy about the unreasonably long title, but there, we get some quotes from Rand Paul, who famously filibustered old-school about Eric Holder’s announcement that sure, it was POSSIBLE Obama could order a drone strike on US citizens on US soil.

PresidentOf course, if you continue Holder’s paragraph, you’ll find that he was talking about extraordinary circumstances in which there’s not only a clear and present danger to national security, but also one in which all levels of local, state and federal law enforcement have somehow failed or are unable to address the threat, leaving the President in the weird, barely-precedented position of having to command the US military to enforce the laws. Holder specifically held up 9/11 and Pearl Harbor as instances of extraordinary circumstances.

So Rand Paul filibustered – not the normal Republican way, where they hold up a Filibuster Card and then nobody filibusters, we all just agree they extra super duper would have – but actually by talking. Admirable, except a great thing to talk about would have been the end of Eric Holder’s pargraph, which addresses every single problem Rand Paul has with drone strikes on US citizens.

In fact the article lays out clarifying statements by Paul to Fox News (surprise) in which he says, well, I never said drones were bad, I would love to see a drone shoot a liquor store robbery suspect just as much as I’d love to see a cop shoot one. Cause he’s all for the Second Amendment, not so much for the Fourth. The Bill of Rights is like a salad bar, yes?

And then later he clarifies his situation by explaining:

““My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed, Let me be clear: it has not. Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat. I described that scenario previously during my Senate filibuster.”

Which. Is. What. Holder. Said. In. The. First Place.

Rand Paul was the one talking about drones-n-liquor store robberies.

Nonetheless, millions of Americans are still carping about how Obama wants to drone strike them. And it’s in on this leg of our journey that one moves from “mistaken” or “uninformed” to “not very bright” or “lying.”

You know what’s funny is, I am all for drone strikes in the outrageous scenario Holder was talking about. We know the President can order nuclear strikes for instance, missile strikes. He can send a team of Navy SEALs to put a bullet in your head.

Ah, but not US Citizens – not on US soil, right?

Well, why not? I mean, certainly not under normal circumstances, but Holder and Paul both agree, in extraordinary circumstances like 9/11, where there is an imminent threat, things change. What if terrorists hijacked another airplane full of civilians and they were headed for downtown New York again. We had six minutes to shoot it down before it got over the city.

Don’t you think the President can have that plane shot down? Don’t you think he should? Or do you figure – post 9/11 – that the terrorists are bluffing?

Suppose the Boston bombers were holed up somewhere, still lighting off bombs like Dr. Claw. They’re US citizens on US soil – can we drone strike them, or do we have to lose a few SWAT guys getting in the door? Why would Obama be ordering such a strike – well, Holder explained that he wouldn’t be, unless somehow every other branch of law enforcement failed.

A zombie apocalypse erupts in Hawaii, and there’s no way to contain it – isn’t it time for a nuclear strike on civilians on US soil? I mean, zombies are technically possible, they’re just very, very, very unlikely.

Holder’s problem was he answered the question too accurately – Sure, it’s technically POSSIBLE in the right set of crazy ass circumstances – when he should have realized he was talking to a vast army of flipper-whacking seal people and simply said “No! Never forget 9/11! Go Bucks!”

Mission AccomplishedLike when Bush told us the terrorists “hated freedom” and that’s why they attacked us. Yes, talk to us like we’re toddlers, we love that.

Now suddenly Paul’s saying drones are cool for shooting robbery suspects, then clarifying that he was not, then agreeing with Eric Holder. In his filibuster, he was bullshitting us, plain and simple, and millions of people slurped it up like pigs at a trough.

I hate to be blunt, and I hate to call so many people morons, but the information is right in front of you, and you’re choosing to bark out the lies. You’re choosing to, so that’s on you.

I’m not even going to argue about it. Go on over and yell at the Forbes article – I just think it’s funny. The last election showed very clearly what happens if conservatives keep running the same play. Even with a struggling economy and billions upon billions of dollars against him, Obama handed Romney his ass in the most humiliating and hilarious way.

What we have here in Rand Paul is a nice new Tea Party Ralph Nader, eager to hamstring the right-wing and hand over the House to the liberals in 2014. Is that really what you guys want? Or do you think maybe you ought to start giving your fellow citizens a little more credit, and dialing down the jackassery a little bit? If Romney couldn’t win, there’s no way this guy will – ah, but he’ll drag the rest of you down, even the ones who are smart.

Well go right ahead, that’s my thinking – I’m certainly not going to stop him.

 

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Babies, Guns and Apple Pie

Imagine you’re walking down the street having a lively and constructive debate about gun control, and everyone in your entourage is as fulfilled and satisfied by the discourse as you normally are, regardless of viewpoints. Because that’s just the nature of America – open-minded debate, good-natured back-n-forthers and substantive issue analysis. It’s better than sex, so there’s a bounce in all of your steps.

Then you turn the corner and collide with another group of your fellow Americans, and they’re so embroiled in their own equally productive discussion about abortion – laughing, joking, validating the living shit out of each other in the most respectful and empathic way – that members of each group literally crash into each other. Mutual respect flies around like confetti.

And it’s just like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials. You got Gun Control in My Abortion Debate! You got Abortion Debate In My Gun Control!

Yes, two great topics that go great together – abortion and guns. Just ask Texas Republican Steve Stockman, who recently tweeted exactly what he put on his campaign bumper sticker:

bumpersticker

Now, this is a very complicated one, so I need you to turn down your record players and your “hi-fis” and concentrate. This is the kind of philosophical shit that injures thousands of people every year, and you are very fortunate that I’m a professional, just keep your hands INSIDE the blog post, don’t make eye contact with my dad, and everything is going to be fine.

It does seem very clear that if a fetus young enough to be aborted were called a baby, and if it had access to a firearm, and if it weren’t physically smaller than the average firearm, and if it were developmentally possible for a fetus to operate a firearm with intent, that it would shoot the abortion doctor. I think we can all agree that’s true, if all of those ifs were true. But those aren’t the type of ifs we normally associate with frogs without legs who avoid bumping their asses a-hoppin’. They’re big IFs. IFs so big, it’s impossible to tastefully entertain them. So we’ll skip that part, and you and I both know what would happen.

See, even when it’s time to actually give birth and women who don’t have bumper stickers that say “I Had My Baby At Home By Choice” have their epidurals and start singing theme songs from their favorite sitcoms and hitting on the dude who puts in the epidurals, they have to be dilated by ten centimeters. And if you don’t know what I’m saying there, then go ask your mom and I’ll wait here.

imagesCAGLNYKRGot it? Cool. The point is, in order to hit the abortion doctor, the armed baby is going to have to shoot through the mom regardless of how good of a shot the baby is. And how much practice can the baby have? And how did the gun get in there? Ewwwww.

Listen, I didn’t bring this up, go yell at Steve Stockman.

I mean, Texas is a Stand Your Ground State, so the baby’s on solid legal footing going after the doctor. But the mom? Well, that’s a complicated legal matter, but she’s not physically advancing on the baby; we’ll see how the courts rule on that one.

But it does seem that the birthing mother – who would no doubt be armed, this is Texas after all – has the right to shoot back, under the same Stand Your Ground clause. But if she has the right to shoot the baby, then what the hell were we talking about again?

Ah, yes. We were talking about the incredibly gross, tasteless and stupid bumper sticker that Steve Stockman is going to use to get re-elected, and how proud we are to participate in our time-honored tradition of political discourse.

Yes. Babies shooting people from the uterus. I’ll just be in the can if anyone needs me.

 
 

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Obama Vs. Osama Vs. You

When the hunt for Osama bin Laden began years ago, I’ll tell you where I thought he probably was:  Vegas.

I figured, he keeps releasing these videos of himself in front of a cave wall, and that’s all we know about where he is, so that’s probably false.  He’s probably kicking it in Vegas in a big crazy suite, and they put up a little cave wall sound stage and filmed videos once in a while, and then when he’s done, he takes off his turban and puts on a suit and some shades, and heads to the casino.  Who the hell would think to question a billionaire in the VIP lounge?

I remember the rumor even surfaced – is bin Laden in Vegas?  And then the Vegas police wisecracked, “We’ve checked all the caves in the area.”

Which of course, they hadn’t.  And also, of course, that would be a stupid place for a billionaire in Vegas to hide.

Suffice it to say, like most people, I’ve thought about this day and how it would play out.  How we’d react to the inevitable capture or killing of Osama bin Laden.

And now it’s here – and I don’t know how to feel.

Sure, no doubt – if anyone deserves a bullet in the head it’s this guy.  I’m not sorry we killed him, and I’m as always enthralled to the point of awe by our Navy SEALs and their mythical badassery.  But the problem is, nothing ever ends with a bullet in the head.  

Murder – even the murder of a murderer – is always, always, the beginning of something else.  We have not convinced any terrorist networks that they should leave us alone, of course we haven’t.  It’s the opposite.  And did we freeze any assets?  Disassemble any command structures?  Let’s be clear – I don’t know any of this, but neither do you. 

And what can I say?  I’m never comfortable celebrating death.  

I’ll tell you where I was when I got the news.  I was waking up this morning after a Nyquil coma, and my pal Shawn had texted me, and he said what I said already – Osama bin Laden is dead, and I don’t know how to feel.

Click on the television, log on to Facebook, walk out into the street, and I find all my reservations and fears walking the Earth in human form.  Mindless cheering and Super Bowl chants – USA!  USA!  Conspiracy theories hot off the presses.  And yes, you bet your ass, allegations that Obama not only does everything wrong including poop, he also kills bin Laden incorrectly, yes he sure does.

“I just think the timing is suspicious,” I must have heard a dozen times, and you know, it’s hard not to crack my skull in half screaming at a statement like that.  Because think about it for a half a second and you’ll see that in order to be suspicious about such a thing, you must believe that Obama or the United States in general had some kind of choice with regards to the timing.  That we could have killed Osama bin Laden any time, and chose to wait until right now because it made so much sense.

Except it doesn’t.  Politically, if this were a stunt, this is the worst possible time for Obama to drop the head of Osama bin Laden before the America people.  A better time would have been right off the bat, say, Day One.  Or if he needed time to get his staff in place before exercising the – in this theory – simple Kill Bin Laden Option, right about six months or so, when Health Care Reform was clunking through.

Or the midterm elections.  Or the 2012 elections.

There’s nothing going on right now, politically, to make this a good play – even if it were a “play.”

It would be awesome if bin Laden were the Joker and now we got him, and Gotham City was safe for all time, but all of that is comic book and silly.  Bin Laden was one head of a globe-spanning hydra, and make no mistake, two more heads are sprouting as I type, right from the stump.

Not saying he shouldn’t have died, and not saying I’m sorry he died – just that I draw the line at doing a little dance about it, because it isn’t the end of anything, and it doesn’t raise the World Trade Center from its ashes or thousands of innocent victims from their graves.

The bottom line is, we got the guy we were looking for.  But what that guy wanted more than anything was to divide this nation and watch it fall, just like the Twin Towers fell, and here we are, ten years later, and yes, we got him, but yes, we’re still divided and still falling, and how far away can we possibly be from hitting the ground?

If I had a couple of wishes it would be that we reflect with more solemnity on what it means to deal death from this patriotic deck of cards we hold, and that we all for once get behind our legally and decisively elected leader, and stand as a nation not just for revenge, but for an end to a need for this kind of killing.  For a real, introspective revolution to take place among every American, about what exactly we’ve been doing as a nation that makes people want to destroy us, and for us to reserve our cheering for the day when peace rears its head, instead of these horrific, gruesome touchdowns.

Videos of blood splattered on walls, American citizens chanting like WWF fans – I have to tell you my friends.  I’m embarrassed.  I’m embarrassed by us, once again.

And I’m probably as terrified as I’ve been since actual 9/11, because there are far worse things than airplanes in this world, and one thing is certain:  This.  Is. Not. Over.

You want to try and score points on Obama on this historic day, go ahead.  I’ll tell you what I would do if I were him – I’d be so sick of hearing it from the people I’m protecting that I’d decline a second term.  I’d just say you know what, I showed you my birth certificate, I ordered the strike that killed bin Laden, and I’m moving to Kenya now, and I’m taking the Secret Service with me, cause I get them for life – how do you like those apples?

That, in my opinion, is the level of respect we deserve from this guy.  It’s fortunate for every man, woman and child in America that Barack Obama is a better man than I am.

 

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