Friday, May 6, 2011

From A - T...and that's the problem

This country is fraught with a host of medical problems, both physical and mental. From AIDS to Zygomycosis, and from Adjustment Disorders to Tourette's...HEY! Wait a minute! Psychological disorders don't go to “Z.” The reason I suspect that psychological disorders stop well before “Z,” is because of a collective problem that is experienced in this country: A.A.D.D., or American Attention Deficit Disorder.

Collectively, people in this country seem to have the attention and retention span of a four-year- old that has had several of those old Pixie Sticks in the giant plastic straw (not the wimpy paper ones), and has poured them into a truck stop dinner's coffee, before chugging the concoction down. We remember little about what happened only a short time ago, and seem content to chase the next shiny object that floats in front of us.

Case in point: The Arizona shootings earlier this year. A true whack-job walks into a political function, opens fire on the crowd, and hits nineteen people, killing six. In the aftermath, this country (briefly) realized that the partisan political bickering may have reached too caustic a level, and individuals from both sides of the political aisle vowed to tone down the rhetoric.

It lasted for about a month.

What? Too far back for you to remember that one clearly?

Let's try this: Two months ago an 8.9 earthquake struck Japan. The carnage was massive. A nuclear power plant was severely damaged in the quake and nuclear radiation levels attributed to the Fukshima Plant have risen globally.

Do you still wonder how that whole story is going?

What? Too far away? Still too far back in time?

Okay fine. Let's try yesterday: May 5th. Cinco De Mayo. This country that was founded largely by immigrants, has seen fit to take the stand that we don't like immigrants (unless you're Native American, the logic is truly dizzying on this). Prejudices against immigrants in this country might as well be officially recognized as a national pastime. We have loathed so many cultures and races over the years that it is hard to keep track of who we actually like. Chinese, Irish, Italians, French, Germans, and Poles, are just a few that have been ridiculed and persecuted.

Currently our xenophobic problem is with Mexicans. Actually to be more accurate it is with anyone from anywhere South of our border (Guatemala, Panama, etc., we just see them as Mexicans anyways). The exception to our rule came yesterday. Just like when everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's Day, everyone yesterday seemed to be caught up in the festive activity surrounding the Mexican Army's victory over the French.

I don't condone nationalistic prejudices; however, if you are going to be a narrow-minded idiot, I do think you should at least try to do it well. I have a suggestion for cultures around the world that Americans seem to have a problem with: Find a holiday of yours that allows Americans to either eat or drink (or both), and we'll at least leave you alone one day out of the year. Until that day comes, just keep supplying the majority here with Ritalin.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thoughts from the Dead Man on the dead man.

Okay so we got him. The “soulless” son of a bitch that put a hole in my skyline, left nearly 3,000 families with a waking nightmare, and guaranteed me an additional four years of the Bush Administration, is dead. Yes, after nearly ten years of hunting for a man nearly six and a half feet tall in a region of the world where the average height is about a foot shorter than that, our Special Forces finally tracked down the guy who needed to be hooked up to a dialysis machine several times a week and sent him to the other side.

Everything should now be good now, right? We can have our fairly tale happy ending, right? No, wrong. Dead wrong.

Now that bin Laden is no more, and is off with his celestial virgins (hey, maybe even a beer volcano and a stripper factory, who knows?), the book is not closed on him. In many circles all that has been accomplished by his death, is that he has been elevated to martyrdom status. We've taken a human and turned him into a myth. If you think it was difficult to fight him before when he was tangible, you haven't seen anything yet. The reason wars against philosophical and ideological opponents cannot be won (i.e. Communism, Capitalism, Terrorism, the Crusades, and so on), is that there is no definitive opponent, and no concrete measuring stick. Wars of this nature are like trying to punch the wind. Bin Laden is now the wind.

One of the cornerstones of this nation is fairness and equality (even if it is mostly just on paper). “Innocent until proven guilty” was a building block for us when we established our Constitution. With bin Laden, there was never an official charge, and will never be a trial. Trials in this country, under our laws, give the opportunity for even the most guilty person to get off Scot-free. This was never afforded to bin Laden. He was accused, tried, and convicted in the media and court of public opinion. By abandoning this basic principle, we have sold our collective “soul” in order to obtain a measurement of revenge. How does it feel America? You know that little bit of unease that a lot of you have been describing feeling about not feeling just right about celebrating the death of an individual? It's because you know it's wrong. You can get a prosthetic arm or foot if you have to have one of them amputated; There is no prosthetic for the “soul.”

So what's next? Where do we go from here? We have cut off the head of the serpent, but like the Hydra, another head (or forty) is going to just grow back to take its place. We are going to have to find out who the new figurehead is and what level of retaliation we are going to face for our actions yesterday, because there will be a retaliation. My crystal ball sees dark things in our future, and when I talk about something being dark, you should pay attention. We did not make the world a safer place yesterday, we kicked the hornet's nest.

I realize that it may sound like I am defending bin Laden, I'm not. I am questioning the morality and hypocrisy of our actions. After the Towers fell there were news stories that featured some people in the Middle East dancing in the streets, cheering, and singing. People in this country were overwhelmingly appalled that people could rejoice at the loss of life. Yesterday when the news began to break, American crowds spontaneously gathered in American streets to cheer and sing about the loss of life. We have lost the moral high ground. We became what we beheld, and are content that we have done right; We shouldn't be.