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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Evil that Men Do

The innocence of a detainee was confirmed yesterday. But we didn't torture him, thank G-d. We let the Syrians do it. In the spirit of the season, I'm sorry to those for whom I've not done enough: the suffering poor, the tortured, and the soldiers who have died for blood-stained glory.

Empathy for the Devil

Farewell, oh tortured souls.
Those to whom they attached electrodes,
I bid thee, rest well.

In innocence you protest,
"I'll never wear a bomber's vest,"
While they apply the drowning test.
But now it's time for you to rest,
Oh bloody, pained and faithful soul.

Your agonized cries of note
Lead to the fall of leaders,
We are told.
But the heads that should be on the ground, still,
Are down the street from the white-domed hill.

It is agreed that if no law is conceded,
The CIA will have to cease it.
There's danger there, though,
Don't you see it?

Sure, they will be forced to desist,
But secretly, the worst will persist.
Then, once discovered, they will wake you in the gloam,
And shoot you all ere they send you home.

When the massacre's exposed,
Calamity will ensue.
And finally they'll fall
For what they've done to you.

Yet to my ode I add this apologetic truth:
I've not much sympathy for your abuse.
Fear is my purpose in protesting thus,
For when they're done with you,
They're sure to come for us.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Descent of Greatness

The descent of greatness is the true American tragedy.

One morning, five years ago, a rumbling was heard that wrinkled the gossamer of reality like a crunched plastic wrapper. Rolled into the film's flimsy folds were ash and glass, dust and death. Shock and sadness spilled from the shadows of its sharp, crumpled peaks.

Is this the ground where greatness stood?

We let the image of the horror of that morning wash over our emotions for days. For some, the tragedy endures, an unwelcome specter that never finds the bright light of the World to Come.

For others, the deaths that day are a fading memory, the decaying fringe of a sun-bleached September dress left on a dusty street long ago.

It is sad that television makes revisiting tragedy so easy, so cheap. They've taken that crumpled skin which once held a portrait of reality and stretched it before our eyes again and again. Every time they do, the dust from its folds explodes and blankets lower Manhattan once more.

We call those images "9/11," and now named, they can be recalled with the cold detachment of a record captured on film, tape and computer drive.

The constant replay is good. It helps us remember.

But emotionally, I watch the tragedy through the imperfect lenses of an old spyglass; so distorted have they become! Like and old dollar bill that's been chummy with the lint of too many pockets, holding up images or invoking memories of 9/11, whether by the press or politicians, is symbolism that's value is so destroyed by abuse it is no longer recognizable.

I want to go back.

I want to be there again on that clear Manhattan morning. And after it's over, I want to sweep away the wrinkled reality with the rest of the debris so I can see America's future more clearly.

I want to be there and raise my eyes to the blue sky and rebuke the fear and despair, because I know the only way to dispel the darkness is to be a source of light. That is how America's greatest tragedy becomes her greatest triumph.

There is always a way.

Even now, when there is still a hole in New York and soldiers continue dying overseas, if you stand in a place of progress, of creating a better country and a safer world, we will ascend again. It is what America really wants - to be fearlessly great and a beacon to the world once more. Lift your lamps and you will light not only your own path, but the way for all those around you. We all move forward together. E pluribus unum. Long live the republic!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Decider's Wrong Decision

Donald Rumsfeld may be slapped by the time you read this, but he won't care. His sallow, weepy-skinned cheeks and the way he talks while inhaling will sadly be around at least through the end of the year. He is the bad taste that just won't go away. He stays because the Decider says he does, and the Decider is, by definition, decisive, though he's giving decision making a bad name.

Let's set down a few truths: none of us - none - ever always make the right decision. Even before he became the Totem of the Right, George W. Bush had a life that was full of bad decisions - drug abuse, alcohol abuse, cheerleading - that made him a threat to himself.

If he only stopped there, maybe everything would have been alright with the rest of the world. Too bad for us he met Karl Rove, who probably told him something like, "You help me get laid, I'll help you get Jesus. That way we both might have a future."

The Decider took us into a war with at best faulty, and at worst falsified or selective intelligence. Can anyone really believe him when he talks about the British police finding an anti-American terrorist manual in 2000? Or is it easier to believe this is just more fear mongering? Who really has decided to take up "the diplomacy of the cannon and the machine gun" rather than engage in dialogue those who threaten us?

The Decider's latest rhetoric points to the bad men of the twentieth century, namely Lenin and Hitler, as the reason he decided that this is America's next enemy. (We can argue the merits of using Lenin's name instead of someone really evil, like say, Stalin, but that was the Decider's choice.)

The problem is, what he said yesterday to the Military Officers Association of America is true. "History teaches us that underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a mistake." Unfortunately, we have underestimated the capacity for evil that this administration has unleashed in the world. (Maybe the reason they don't enter into dialogue with the "Axis of Evil" is because like-forces repel each other!)

I agree with Bush that organizations that preach evil and intolerance should be stopped. That's why I'm hoping everyone who reads this weblog is doing all they can to stop this administration the only way we legally and morally can: by shifting the balance of power in Washington.

I watched C-Span this morning and they had on Sharon Burke, a representative from Third Way ( They have a phenomenal site for researching everything that is wrong with the way our federal government currently engages in lawmaking and foreign affairs. If you want a resource that will help you make a change in your community this November, then I urge you to check them out!

If you love this country and the liberties that make us great, it is our moral imperative to make a stand in your community for change. Support a Democrat. Support an Independent. Just don't let this government to continue to abuse the Constitution.

Another Republican Congress under this administration will mean suspension of habeus corpus, military tribunals for detainees, and more illegal wiretaps. It is their goal to make laws legalizing the administration's illegal and unconstitutional prosecution of the War on Terror. They will do it unless we stand up between now and November 7th.

Remember, when we stand up, they will have to stand down.