29.8.08

The Potential Motion of the Ocean (Get Sunburned and Get Funky).

November second looms in the distance. Like a nervous guy on Prom night about to meet his date's parents, it looms and you know it's coming.

What's important to you?

Seriously, what is important to you? Here in the United States, you see a thousand different issues, all biding for our attention. Gas prices, health care, gay marriage/rights, abortion, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lets not forget good old immigration. Energy...so many things, and so little time.

So we place and hedge our bets in two combatants for the most glorified civil servant position in the United States: the President. Commander in chief.

For the past eight years, I can honestly say that this near-decade has been the most tumultuous time I've been through. I'm only twenty-two, but I know firmly the things happening now have repercussions on the future that have so much potential to harm our future generations.

Apathy has been the wind in the sails of the boat that is America, and I'm getting a little sea-sick. Within the past few days both "respective" nominees have announced whom they've chosen as their running mates. For Barrack Obama it's Joe Bidden. For John McCain it's Sarah Palin.

Nevermind the fact that John McCain has chosen, well...a naughty librarian and Obama has picked (most likely) the person John Cougar Mellancamp talked about in all those songs. Nevermind those facts, because the truth is..it's smoke in mirrors.

For four years, no one gives an absolute shit about politics. It's during these lapses that something to damning to the spirit of America, so defiant of the Constitution it's self; the "Patriot Act", becomes legislation.

Wire tapping, police state like activities, Guantanamo Bay and torture? Fucking torture, are you kidding me? This is America, for God's sake...we cannot allow, as citizens, for that to happen.

"But it's to stop the terrorists."

Well, maybe. Maybe it is, and lets play Devil's Advocate for a second and say intangibly, it is to stop those ragheads from destroying our freedoms. Okay.

So you torture three hundred Muslims under suspicion. Suspicion that one of them has nuke firmly implanted betwixt their colon and kidneys. And currently, they are planning to walk into New York City, and wipe the five Burroughs off the face off existence.

What about the other 299 people who weren't terrorists? You never hear them speak, you never see them again. Their stories are inconsequential because Jane and Dick Durante in Kansas City, Missouri get to sleep comfortably knowing the one person is brought to justice.

You know what? That shit might be okay for Cuba or North Korea, but this is America. Liberty is supposed to balanced and fair; JUSTICE for ALL.

It's like saying there might be a golden needle in a haystack. Only instead of searching through it all, you just say "fuck it" and burn the hay stack.

Sure, the needle might still be there.

But that hay was to feed your horses. Your horses count on you for that food, and you just burnt the entirety of what you had, only ashes remain. The irony is you burned the hay stack to prevent the needle from hurting one of the horses.

So the horses have to fend for themselves. But they've become domesticated...so they might starve. And even if you restock the hay, what if there is another needle? Burn that one too. Now, the horses don't trust you anymore.

That in a nutshell is National Security, and the governments practices. We're all the horses. We used to buck and kick when we were told what to do, but now our spirits broken.

And it cannot be like that. If you bother to speak against, your patriotism is called into question.

Except, in the word 'Patriot', 'Riot' rounds it out. You have to be willing to dissent when things aren't what they are supposed to be. At all costs, I truly believe, you must fight for your freedoms.

So what do you believe in?

The illusion of change is more romantic than the actual accomplishment of said change. Most people want to win the lottery and be rich, but most of those people never buy the ticket. Most people want big houses and nice cars, but never work for them. The illusion is much more important.

A few years ago people were buying hows that in all actuality they couldn't afford. They were offered a rate that could fluctuate, a sliding scale if you will, and they signed on. Many of those same people also leased cars. Leased, not bought. So when your driving down Evergreen Terrace, you saw all these nice houses and cars, and you thought "that persons doing alright."

Fast forward to now. In my neighborhood theres hundreds of homes that are practically brand new, but no one resides in them. It's the same all across America, too. Lexus, Chevrolet and Ford all 'phasing out' the ability to lease cars now. It's every man and woman for themselves. Fuck the children, they need to figure it out on their own.

Thats the romanticism of illusions.

So now we're facing a 'historic' election. Old white devil with hot VP, versus a black male and the 'salt of the Earth', a blue collar individual with 'family values'. Each are chosen to off-set the inadequacies of their nominee. Obama faced critique that he was elite. Bidden is the working class hero. McCain is viewed as old and set in his ways of business as usual. With Palin, well...she's a woman. A gun toting, soccer van driving, young and vibrant counterpart.

But before this election can rightfully be called historic, the electoral process it's self has to change. It simply has too. Lives are at stake, no matter which way you cut the cake, and politicians still treat it like a fucking game. Each state is worth collective points?

One state is worth more than the other. Texas is worth more than Rhode Island. Easily. So those citizens get over looked because they don't matter as much? How can my vote mean shit when theirs doesn't?

The illusion of change. Last election it was John Kerry and George Bush. The consensus is Americans felt they didn't have a choice. One was busy flip-flopping and the other was busy talking to "God". Not one of us had any clue what either were doing, and dejectedly we marched into those poll booths and cast our votes.

But now we have "choices". Whats McCain's policy on free speech? Whats Obama's stance on the drinking age? Better yet...who cares? These are decisions each individual State has the right to vote on. It's why the decriminalization of marijuana is enacted in California. The problem is the Government over steps it's Constitutional boundaries and applies Federal prohibitions on something thats SAFER than tobacco, a product this nation was founded upon.

How does America not have a Universal Health Care system in place? Besides the logical answer of lobbyists and money, how can they justify wire-tapping as a step in safety, yet not provide something as physicals pro-bono to it's same people they are trying to 'protect'? I don't understand that line of thinking.

"It has socialist tendencies."

So what about SOCIAL security? What about police, fireman, libraries and public schools?


But we allow this to happen to us. We allow it because we get scared. Of what are we fucking scared of? Planes, and bearded brown people with box cutters? Why?

During the Revolutionary War (sorry my British friends, you had to know it was coming.) farmers bore arms, pitch-forks, rocks and fists to fight. If they died, then so be it, they stood for what was true to them.

September 11th, 2001 planes fall from the sky, and thousands of people are killed and injured. Was I scared? Yeah, kinda. But for different reasons. I live in the desert, son. The desert. I'm not at the top of the list...well, except the nuclear plants near by. But I was scared that whats happened, would happen. That we'd forget we have the rights to bare arms. And thats how I feel about the situation.

We have the capabilities to protect ourselves by any means necessary, and thats where the hysteria should have stopped. But we were told about anthrax, and gas, and somehow duct tape fit into the equation. We allowed our President to go above Congress and the UN and OK a war. And I'm not going to get into the war because those men and women are there doing what they feel is right. We all got duties to fulfill, and they are there because they dropped everything at a moments notice just in case their families were in danger and their freedoms were being violated.

What repulsed me is we didn't have more faith in ourselves. Did these actions exploit weaknesses within our society that needed to be addressed: yes. But as with everything, hysteria mounted and robbed us of our sanity and dignity. The founding fathers, though slave-owning as they were, still would never have stood for what happened. The people who died on Iwo Jima and Germany, or during the Revolutionary War seem to've died in vein, because we do not remember whence we came.

Theres a line that needs to be defined. We need to come to terms that at some point, we have to accept responsibility for our own actions. We've allowed every transgression in our names.

We bitch and moan about energy and gas prices. We've drained the world of oil, because it was there. Oil is a non-renewable source, yet there are people have the gall to still drive SUV's and bitch that it costs them nearly 100 dollars to fill up. Well, I live in Arizona. I don't know what rain, snow or clouds look like. The sun shines almost every single day. Same with Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona to name a few. Why can't we you know...harvest that some how? Like...with solar panels.

Chicago is the WINDY City. Lets get some turbines in that mother fucker then. We have two huge oceans that churn every single second. Um, so...lets do something with that. These are renewable resources. They don't do any damage whatsoever to nature...because THEY ARE NATURE.

But the only answers I'm hearing are John McCain's cute little play on the Beach Boys song, "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb Iran." That scares the SHIT out of me.

Obama is no better. Neither are. At all.

We have to take care of ourselves before we decide we need to go save the world. Simple. We can't stop horrific things from happening, we can only prepare for them. That in no way entitles anyone to take a preemptive strike. We don't have that responsibility, or right. It IS important how the rest of the world views us.

America is a great place. It is, and thank God for that. Just like every other country, we've done things that we had no business doing, but what I feel is over looked is how often we reach out to the world when tragedy such and Natural disasters happens. But now we're paying for the sins of our fathers, and we have to work hard to differentiate ourselves from them.

What I would love to see one day, instead of cardboard signs and catchy slogans in protests, I would love to see everyone walk into the White House and take a painting or carpet. It's ours, we paid for it.

I would love to see Americans not vote one election year. As a form of silent protest. If no one is elected, then who wins? We do. A blood-less coup. A silent pimp slap to our Government thats refused to listen to the people who sign their checks and pat their backs. Who smell their shit, and smile and say, "You're absolutely right Senator, your shit...it just doesn't stink. Might I even say it has a hint of rosemary and pine?"

Last year my father, a life-long Republican, a 72 year old man who worked every day of his life, who has given me so much was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

At the time I lived in Albany, New York. He was diagnosed on his birthday, just over a year ago this month (August 9th). He also went through a re-constructive knee-surgery on his left knee, and issues with his right knee as well.

After having his re-constructive knee surgery, he immediately began radiation for his cancer. And for those of you who've not had the pleasure of watching the person you love and respect most suffer like that, let me tell you...it's not all that fun. Root canals and full-cavity searches are presumably more enjoyable.

And there would be nights where I would sit here at my computer, and he would struggle out into the living room, during the winter with the AC and fans on, and be sweating buckets. And he would sit in his chair, and even though it was obvious through his body language that he was in complete agony, he'd never complain.

One night though, I was sitting here and he came out. His face was beat red from the radiation, sweating profusely and eyes screaming in pain. He sat down in his chair in the darkness, and began to weep.

"It wasn't supposed to be this way", he said "I never wanted it to be this way."

And I told him cancer can happen to anyone. Anyone meaning that he's never smoked a day in his life, and has always been active.

"No. I worked every day of my life to have what small amount of things I have. I gave my blood, sweat and tears for everything I have, and now I have nearly nothing."

He's not a materialistic man. A year before this happened, my mother got into some legal problems that caused him to put leans on his vehicles he'd owned for the better part of five decades. The bank owns them now.

"I wanted more for you, and your mother. Here I sit, and I can't do anything about it, and I've never felt more worthless in my life. You come into this world naked and screaming...thats how you go out."

His HMO's wouldn't cover certain basic medical procedures he needed at the time. His disability checks decreased because he aged, and he was beginning to become a drain. Instead of Uncle Sam helping at all, a man who'd trusted his government to do so in his later years, he was shunned. He was made to feel worthless, because our citizens now have to work two to three jobs just to stay afloat somewhat. People who should be retired, and the President lauds this as something commendable. If you feel thats commendable, that an 83 year old diabetic woman would have to stand and greet door at the same Wal Mart that put her grocery store out of business, at 2 in the morning, and shes doing it so she can afford insulin...if you feel thats commendable, kill yourself. This shouldn't even be an issue. She did her time, he did his time. They don't need to work until they die, they've earned a few fucking days off.

And I watch the spirit begin to weaken.

All the while the President stood in front of seniors, and pledged support to a bill that would help lighten the financial load on their medication. Ed never saw an amount of relief from that.

One day in the mail we received fifteen pamphlets on "what to do with your deceased". Where to bury, how to do all of this shit. And instead of that killing him, he made the subtle move of changing his political affiliation to independent.

I'm proud to say he's nearly cancer free. His knees are stronger than ever. He walks easier, and works just as hard as he did sixty years ago. He still loves his country, but now calls bullshit openly when it's present. And thats not to say he never did, but in terms of what we're told in 'patriotism', he held his tongue and worked harder within his community to make things better for his neighbors. He still does that, but now he's adamant in raising his voice as loud as he can when a spade isn't even a spade.

We aren't red or blue states anymore. Thats their term for us. We're mixed. When you mix those colors, we're all purple. We're all bruised, and it's time to fight back.

God won't talk to me, my congressman won't talk to me, my mayor won't talk to me. I'm guessing it might be the same for you. So maybe it's time we talked amongst ourselves. Find common ground, and not focus on push-button topics. We all love our families (for the most part). Thats something every citizen in the world can agree on, pretty much. We all want to strive to be better people, be healthy, take care of what needs to be taken care of and enjoy life to the fullest extent we can.

So change? Yes we can. And it starts with us saying, "Fuck you Barrack Obama. Fuck you, John McCain." First Amendment. Exercise it.

4 comments:

Jason P. Woodbury said...

Obama is no better. Neither are. At all.

I absolutely fail to see how someone with a plan to reduce the number of troops in Iraq and get us off foreign oil within ten years is no better than someone who has expressed little intention to do any of those things.

Aaron Hale said...

The troops he wishes to withdraw from Iraq are destined for Afghanistan. Pro war or not, thats just tipping the cap to a different side of the same head.

He crumbled over something as trivial as wearing a flag pin because his patriotism was called into question; what happens if tangible criticism or worse, threats actually come into the equation if he's elected, you know? Does he amend the constitution to strip the right to bare arms or silence free speech because the Right gets so upset at the word, 'fuck' they literally shit themselves or because the Left think guns are implements of the Devil?

He lacks moral fiber, at least in a way McCain's open about his feelings. I feel with Obama you have to dig and prod to find the actual human beneath the speeches and slogans more than you would with McCain. Does that make McCain any better? Nope. 100 years of war is asinine. What the fuck is this, the IRA?

Bonus Cupped said...

Cheers for the comment Aaron, it's terrible about your Dad. Are there really people in the US who think the idea of a National Health Service is Socialist? So the UK is Socialist!! i don't know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of a country that is so devoted to capitalism being labeled Socialist.

Also, sorry to affiliate the words of a stranger to something so personal but your Dad's experience really reminded me of the first song on Dead FM by Strike Anywhere. It's about his own grandfather who worked to develop the atom bomb. Him and alot of his work mates contracted radiation poisoning from work they believed was so important to National Security and the welfare of their country. I think Tom from Strike Anywhere actually had a few operations in his infancy because his grandad passed the poisoning on to his Dad.

This is why i find patriotism so scary, its a mental condition that can be used to justify anything. It's like a kind of emotional blackmail; you agree or you're un-American. When of course democracy is based on disagreeing and debate.

It sounds very infantile in a Marxist sort of way but it really is a case of the many breaking their backs for the few. The massive and increasing wealth gap proves that.

Please do vote for Obama though, at least so if he does fail to deliver we can remind him of it at every opportunity.

Oh yeah one more thing, I'm so glad our political conventions don't get the same wierdo filled crowds America's does! I can't imagine anyone here waving a placard saying I heart Gordon! Then again least you have a choice, LAbour and Conservative are practically the same. Right now i literally could not tell you the policy differences between the two.

"We have the right to choose,
between Labour and Tory.
like we have the right to choose,
between Coca Cola and Pepsi"
The King Blues

Essay over

Jason P. Woodbury said...

I agree that Obama's slightly aggressive stance toward Afghanistan is disheartening, but consider some of his reasoning:

"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."

Like it or not we've stuck our big fat American foot in the middle east...we have to address, as best we can, what kind of damage and good we're doing there. I'm not suggesting that more troops in Afghanistan is the best choice, but no politician has the power to completely erase our presence there, and it wouldn't hurt to at least look into the motives for moving more troops there.

As far as the flag pin goes, yeah, I suppose he looked a bit like a prick by reneging on his eloquent defense of his former decision not to wear one. How that relates to his constitutional beliefs seems a bit far fetched, however.

As for his lack of moral fiber, I think you are seriously missing the forest for the trees. Here's a guy who has spent years in the trenches, working with faith based initiatives to help Chicago's needy. Here's a guy who in his book discussed his own drug use as a coping mechanism with unflinching honesty, and detailed the struggles those abuses brought him. Here's a guy who labeled the Iraq War as a mistake from the get go, when no one was coming out and saying that.

I used to respect McCain, but to describe him as "open about his feelings" is a hilarious. Our old friend John "Maverick" McCain, maybe, but this hollowed out shell who refuses to stand against his party on ANY issue? You've got to be kidding me. The old McCain was temperate in his view of reproductive rights, and extremely vocal of his distrust of religion when coupled with politics. Not so much these days, or haven't you noticed?

Obama represents to the entire world what America could be: multicultural, diplomatic, eloquent, intelligent and savvy. Personal politics aside, he's the best thing we've got, far, far, far superior to McCain as our representative to the global community.

Of course, you failed to address 50% of "why Obama rocks the socks of the blocks and blocks." His environmental policy is more progressive than McCain by leaps and bounds. Right now we need a leader who isn't so blinded by the short term market gains of blind energy use that they refuse to address the absolutely essential environmental matters at hand?

Now I know that you aren't arguing for McCain. But consider that if that guy gets into office, he'll be the oldest president ever elected. What if he croaks? Do you really like the idea of "naughty librarian" running the country? Hell dude, she hasn't even ran her own state for 2 years! Let's hear McCain start talking about Obama's lack of experience.

I know I'm coming down pretty hard on the side of Obama. While he's hardly perfect, I think it takes a lot of generalization and a blind eye not to view him as a better leader than McCain for America.