Lessons for an Ominous Anniversary

What have we learned in five years?

Where's the Pork?
There was an Associated Press article this week that detailed concern by scientists for those living around the Washington, DC area. It seems that contaminants in the Potomac River are causing 80 percent of male smallmouth bass in that river and its tributary to grow eggs! Scientists are concerned that local residents get their drinking water from those sources, though they say there has been no such hormonal effect on humans.

To me, however, that explains why out of all the Democrats in Congress, only about half a dozen have cajones, and most of those are women! But come to think of it, as far as I can remember, the last effective Democratic president was, um, FDR? (JFK was charming but didn't live long enough to get much done. I guess LBJ's Great Society was effective, but that Texan also got done in by a none-of-our-business war.) Anyway, I am proud to be a Green, but I would encourage voters of all allegiances to vote Democratic for Senate and House (however, vote your conscience in local races) to try to restore some checks and balances to our run-away Federal govenment before all our rights and privacies are taken away--and we have to board airplanes naked. If you think you catch cold easily now when flying...

Five Years of Our Government's Best Work
Monday is the fifth anniversary of 911, and the only thing, perhaps, that an American who's paying attention may have learned is that our government has become completely ineffective. Osama Bin Laden is still walking free--our own authorities admit they are no closer to catching him than they were four years ago. I saw some newscaster on CNN mocking Bin Laden for not having released a video in two years. Now I can see mocking, say, Madonna for not releasing a video for a couple of years, but why should Bin Laden release a video? The fact that he is recruiting more converts speaks louder than any words he can say. And our aimless Middle East policies have been his greatest recruitment tool.

This week the Senate released a report definitively asserting that there is no link between Saddam Hussein and 911. No link between the invasion of Iraq and the attack on the World Trade Center. No link. No link. Yet almost half the American population blindly believes there is a link. Now that's the faith-based government George Bush has been looking for.

It seems Saddam Hussein did a better job running his country than we are doing. He kept terrorists out. And I don't defend him because he was a mass murderer. It will be interesting, though, to read our own history books in 20 years, and see how many Iraquis have been killed since the US invasion. We've already proven that we are not above the torture and corruption that Hussein practiced. Recent reports by our own military officials admit that Iraq is ever closer to civil war. What course, exactly, are we staying?

It's been over a year since Hurricane Katrina, and our government has failed to make the area fully habitable again. Only about 36% of the residents returned home, and most of those have been affluent whites. A large number of less-affluent African Americans are either still waiting to go home, or had to leave their homes for good (according to the New Orleans City Council).

Gasoline has risen to $3 a gallon (it was about $1.79 in 2000), Iraq is developing nuclear power, and North Korea is testing missles. Like Osama Bin Laden, this was the axis of evil that George Bush promised to keep in check years ago. (Watch how Republicans begin to sound the war drums against Iran as Election Day grows closer. Are we going to fall for this again?)

What mission did George Bush actually accomplish? Oh yeah, he pretty much abrograted everything that is sacred to our Constitution. Good job, Ace. So, again, since 2001 we should have learned that our government has become completely moribound. Or worse, completely manipulative.

Can You Blame Us?
Well, no wonder there was another article this week that although drug use is down about 2% among teens, it is up by 2% among baby boomers--to about 24 million people (the majority of which--14.6 million people, use marijauana). YAY! Good going, my contemporaries! Just legalize it already for goodness sake... we have the vote now, remember? Ooops, no, between the drugs and the fact we're all AARP-aged, we don't remember!

Everything We Have Learned...
And, finally, while we're all sitting on the couch getting toasted and not watching the actual news because they would rather bring us pictures of Tom Cruise's alien baby, we can watch a totally revamped 40-year-old Star Trek series ! Many of the charmingly (but dated) tacky special effects will be replaced by state-of-the-art computer graphics. I hope that includes Bill Shatner's toupee. Anyway, check out your local affiliate for programming information.

If there is any lesson to be taken from the ominous anniversary this coming week, it's that we Americans should not take our eye off the ball. If we give up our rights to trials by judges and juries, allow people to be held indefinitely without charges, to be hidden away off US soil so defendants are not subject to our laws, to have our personal communications monitored with no cause and no oversight, to have our free travel and speech impeded, then we have already lost the "great war" that our government claims to be fighting. Despite threats, we must hold true to the principles this country is based on. We should not be terrorized. Nor divided. Not by Al Quaeda, not by the Taliban, nor by our own political machine.

Goodnight Chet. Goodnight Katie. Goodnight Suri.

Posted: Sun - September 10, 2006 at 10:32 AM