Friday, March 07, 2003

"Today feels like a good day\To burn a bridge or two..."

Greetings from this Beautiful Disaster.

I'm in a ranting mood. So be advised, adult language may ensue. But I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

Issue One: "Parental Advisory"

For those of you who may have not spoken to me in weeks or something, I have been job hunting like a fiend. Applying, interviewing, wishing and hoping and praying. All for naught. Until this week, when I got a job with NCS Pearson, the company that grades all those fun standardized tests like the TAKS and whatnot. The position is "temporary", as in, it's a job-to-job basis. The first assignment is five weeks, full time, beginning March 24. According to the HR person, the jobs will continue throughout the summer. It pays eleven bucks an hour and the dress is casual.

So this is a great job, right? Apparently not. My loving parents, eager for me to find success in the world on their terms, want me to look for another job and not take this one unless i have to. They weren't even excited about the fact that after weeks of searching and applying, I was actually hired anywhere. Because what you'll learn, kids, is that it's NEVER good enough. So they want me to apply to a bunch of other jobs I would probably like a whole lot less that pay a little more.

Now, because I'm a wuss, I have to be "fair" and say they are really concerned about me. I am behind on a truck payment and am struggling to put together the cash from pizza delivery to make it up. They now spend their time away from me arguing about my future. Which makes me feel great to know that I contribute so much to the stress level of the family.

And now, the latest development. I was informed to get into bed early tonight (due to last night's insomnia, I slept from five thirty a.m. to one thirty this afternoon), because starting tomorrow, I will be living under "Mom's direction". Obviously, since I cannot apparently control my own life, my folks are gracious enough to seize control and run my life for me. Sounds ridiculous, or at least a bit excessive? These are the same people who have tried to impose a bed-time on me again, to "make sure" I get to church with them. (Fact was, I was up in plenty of time, I just decided to do other things that one morning.)

The choice was Mom's control or getting thrown out. I'm seriously looking into my options.

Issue Two: The Gathering Storm

This really gets me upset. We are on the verge of going to war with Iraq, which will likely spawn retaliatory terror attacks or other military issues. We're being more or less threatened by North Korea. We're still looking for Al-Qaeda (sp?) and others. And all anyone can seem to talk about is how foolish/arrogant/dangerous/unprepared our president is. What the hell? Do people honestly believe that "George Bush, Texas Ranger" sits in the Oval Office?

There is not one person in the world who would like to be in his position right now. He carries the weight of national security, world stability, and future international policy on his shoulders. He knows that he will be blamed for every American life lost in a war, and he would be likely blamed for every civilian life lost from any form of terror that might occur whether we go to war or not.

But the public blasts on, questioning his motives, questioning his abilities, questioning his intelligence and integrity. Because we, as the American people, are in the wonderful position of no responsibility. We have the luxury to cast stones and spew insults because we never have to make the hard choices. What the hell are we thinking.

I respect the fact that there are many (as much as half the nation, by some polls), that don't believe in war and don't want us to go to war. I love that, as a matter of fact, because there is nothing more democratic (small d), more AMERICAN, that disagreeing with the people in power. But I think we've forgotten that the only reason we can protest at all, is because way back when, someone fought a war about it. And people died.

Yes, the circumstances were different between the American revolution and this impending war. We aren't trying to liberate ourselves from an oppressive regime this time. But let me take you back to another war. Britain was involved in World War II for THREE YEARS before we joined in. Hitler was creating the world's largest army and slowly, methodically gobbling up small "insignificant" European countries. He was slaughtering thousands upon thousands of his own people--German Jews. But we sat back. We did nothing.

It "wasn't our war."

The first time we actually did anything, we had to be rocked out of our slumber by an ambush. How many soldiers could have been spared at Pearl Harbor if we were on alert? One person saved would have been enough.

Today we face another threat. Maybe it would be hyperbolic to describe the Iraqi warlord as another Hitler, but it wouldn't be too terribly far off. Because no matter what you think or believe about the issue, the fact is that the United Nations UNANIMOUSLY called for "total disarmament" and Saddam has refused. He has given up thirty-something missiles that he swore vehemently he didn't have. And he has more. We know he has more. The weapons inspectors know he has more. There should be no discussion.

But there is. And discussion is good. Dialogue is good. But insults, illogical claims, and disinformation is not good. It is not helpful. It gets us nowhere.

People on the left side of the political debate have overwhelmingly disagreed with the president's methodical, careful process. But instead of debate, they have retreated into rhetoric and name-calling. Bush is a moron, Bush is a warlord, Bush is holding a grudge from his father's administration. This is the president they see.

They ignore that the president went to the UN, that he pleaded and argued his case, that he forced the issue and helped pass the last resolution, on the good faith that the UN would back it up. They ignore the president that has given time for a second resolution, more inspections, more reports, more Iraqi stalling. They ignore the president that has accepted setbacks like the Turkey debacle, has respected the rights of nations to disagree, and still maintains that countries like France and Russia and Germany are still considered "friends" by the United States. They ignore the president who has more or less jumped through every flaming hoop the world has put up, and has reached the point where he knows there must be a decision.

Last night, in his press conference, he said that the job of the president is to protect the nation. He has listened to everyone so far who has told him to wait. Now he knows that any more waiting could be more disastrous that any war. He knows that North Korea is Iraq, ten years from now. Any more waiting will result in another nation waving their nuclear capability in the face of the world.

He is in an unenviable postion. A difficult one. No matter what he chooses, he will be judged harshly by history and by his own people.

But we mock him, we lampoon him, we tear apart his ideas and paint him with the same brush with which we painted Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. This president has been called the worst in America's history, by some. And what I'm realizing is that the loudest voices are the ones believed the most. And it's fashionable to protest. Being loud, being angry, being insulting is the American Way. Many of us malign anyone who "spews" anything but anti-war opinions, calling them hatemongers, killers, fascists. We attack them relentlessly for not accepting anyone else's opinion.

We attack a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, who's just trying to make the right choice, because we have the luxury of attack.

What the hell are we thinking.

That's all i've got. I'm tired. Thanks for reading.

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