Thursday, October 19, 2006

Stupidity in Action

As is evident from many of my posts I live in Topeka, Kansas. What little news I read in print usually comes from the local paper. Recently the local paper has given excellent fodder for letters to the editor or blog posts on here. One editorial that was printed today I simply had to respond to. I went ahead and sent a letter in but there's no way I can say everything I want to in such a limited format. For the registerphobes in the group I'm reprinting the text here.


Karl Rove's red-hot buzz phrase for this fall's election is "cut-and-run Democrat." It's meant to be hurled with a derisive sneer at anyone who dares oppose George W's war of lies and failure in Iraq. But wait -- the obvious response to this is that those in the administration itself cut and ran long ago.

When it comes to standing firm in Iraq, who is actually standing there? Not Mr. Bush's two daughters or eight nieces and nephews. They're all of prime enlistment age, but they chose to cut and run rather than sign up for their Daddy's war. Not the loved ones of Cheney, Rummy, or any of the other ardent warmongers in Bush's top circle -- they cut and ran, too.

Then there's Congress. A recent "New York Times" article practically wailed that Sen. Max Baucus' nephew had been killed in Iraq, saying it "showed how death and grief can invade the halls on Congress." Indeed, this young man's death is horrible, as are those of the 2,700 other Americans who have been sacrificed in this wretched war. But while feeling the pain of this one senator, let's not forget that Congress continues to throw our young people, our public treasury, and our global reputation into the wasteland of Iraq -- yet, of 535 members of Congress, only six have close relatives whose lives have been put at risk there. The loved ones of the other 99 percent of lawmakers have chosen not to take a stand in Iraq.

The same is true of the right-wing media blatherers, the military contractors that are profiting from the war, the Wall Street financial powers, and the other elites who damned sure aren't volunteering to have their kids become "boots on the ground."

To stop this war in its tracks, require that all these cut-and-runners be a part of it. If Bush's war is not worth putting their families at risk, it's not worth the risk of any family. Rep. Charles Rangel has a bill that confronts the hypocrisy of these cut-and-runners. To learn about his Universal Service Act, call 202-225-4365.


Last I checked, there was no criteria for federal office, or any office for that matter, that required a relative be in the Armed Forces. Who the hell does this joker think he is to use someone's family against him like this? The only thing I can think of is that he's had a psychotic break and thinks he's Jack Bauer now. That or the attitude is a holdover from his days with the Russian Mafia.

I just don't get it. Where does this guy get off? You can't question John Kerry's service record but you can question why relatives of politicians aren't enlisting? Why does he even care what their individual choices are? The only reason a politician's family should be brought into the picture is if there's some illegal activity that involves the politician directly. Anything else should be hands off. If you want to call someone's personal service into question go right ahead. Call Bush on his National Guard stint. Ask Gore about his "roving reporter" status. Question Clinton about his draft dodge. Go for it. But leave their families alone. Seriously. Don't fuck with me on this.

I do have to give Hightower credit for guts though. He spends half the column ranting about how people who aren't volunteering. His solution? He specifically mentions Charles Rangel's Universal Service Act as the fix. What's the USA you ask? Good question. It's pretty much the draft all over again. Stop and think about this for a second. Hightower is pissed off that a small group of people aren't volunteering. His solution is to do away with volunteering at all and make service mandatory. Back to an army of conscripts. Back to the single biggest political albatross ever. Talk about punishing the many for the acts of a few.

This kind of emotional extortion on Hightower's part is one of the reasons so many people, myself included, are completely disgusted with the political process. Every time a commercial break comes on anymore I have to change the channel or hit mute cuz I'm so tired of listening to "my opponent is a horrible person worth of the fires of Hell while I am perfect and beyond question" ads. It's pathetic. Nobody actually deals with issues anymore. It's all hate and anger. There's no respect. There's no debate. The political process has turned into a name-calling orgy of disrespect that would even the most hardened of cut down artists find distasteful. Don Rickles at his worst treated his targets better than people in the political arena treat each other.

The other thing that annoys me about this editorial is that Hightower, like so many loudmouths, seems to think that Iraq is the only place soldiers have died in recent years. Afghanistan? Don't care. Somalia? Isn't that in Africa somewhere? Bosnia? Clinton was behind that right? That's okay then. Where were your cries for Roger Clinton to enlist? Or any of Madeline Albright or Janet Reno's families? Why weren't you complaining then Jim? Why don't you just admit that your attacks aren't motivated by any concern for the troops and that it's all because your party isn't in charge anymore. At least then I'd be able to credit you with being more honest than your brethren who make the same ridiculous comments you do.


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