Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Real Message

Let’s recap the election at this point: Bush looks like he is going to be re-elected. And all 11 states voted to ban gay marriage. So, someone please help me here. Apparently the real message is: it’s OK to go to war with a country based on zero evidence--and allow thousands of young men and women to die—but it’s not OK for two homosexuals to get married and quietly live out their lives?

Someone please help me. What has Bush done in the last four years to warrant a second term? He stood on a pile of rubble on what was once the World Trade Centers, days after terrorists caught his administration with its pants down, and brought 220 stories of concrete and steel down on 3,000 innocent civilians. In that moment Bush talked tough and later unleashed hell on two Islamic countries. He fabricated tales of WMDs in the desert, of smoking guns in the form of mushroom clouds, he gave us code oranges (does anyone know what to do during a code orange?), and epic struggles of good vs. evil. He did everything he could think of to divert the failure of his own presidency into an act of vengeance against any country he saw fit to punish. And the people bought it. The real message: Fear sells. I’m sure the terrorists are enjoying this one.

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie “American Beauty”. Perhaps you remember the character Col. Frank Fitts, USMC retired. The fag hating, crew cutted father who, after all the tough talk, in the end was simply too scared to face the changing world around him. He was a little man, trying desperately to hold onto the world the way he liked it. That is our country. Behind all the smart bombs, the money, the power, the opulence, the vacations in Florida, we are a scared country clinging desperately to a narrow, close fisted view of America. The real message: We’re afraid of change.

“I’m just afraid,” one friend confided in me, “that if Kerry is elected we’ll be cozying up to the French. We’ll all be speaking French!” The real message: I’m scared.
Standing in line waiting to vote a woman behind me reasoned, “Well, we’re in Iraq now, we need to see it through.” The real message: Make a mess and we’ll give you four more years.
Someone help me. Maybe I’m not thinking clearly. I’m obviously the crazy one, because me and my kind, are going to lose this election. But I read between the lines. The real message: Bush may not really know how to protect you, but he’ll make life hell for anyone who might hurt you. He’ll create the fear and save you from it. And apparently for most, that is good enough.
People in this country are lost, scared, unsure, and they are tired of accepting change and dealing with the stress of change. We look to ministers, to talk show hosts, to AM radio, to celebrities, to presidents to show us the “way”. Never mind that they do not know any better than we do. But they do know how to bind us up with fear. The real message: Tell me what to believe and I will.

We can’t take the 10 Commandments off the walls of schools, or remove lines from the pledge, not because these things add up to anything in the minds of kids, but because we are afraid. If we take the 10 Commandments off the walls what’s next? Our kids might become pagans! Along the same lines we can’t allow homosexuals to marry each other. Allow that, and all hell might break lose! The real message: I want everyone to think and act like me.

Why two consenting homosexuals are not allowed to get married and have the same rights as me, I just don’t understand. But all eleven states have voted to ban such a thing. How that arrangement affects the “sanctity” of marriage is beyond me. As if Christians, who have had a lock on marriage in western society for the last 2000 years, have done such a good job keeping it holy. The real message: This country hates fags.

And why someone would re-elect Bush, on the argument that we’re stuck in Iraq and now we have to stay the course, I’ll never understand. The best course would have been to leave Saddam alone, to not perpetrate on the public that WMDs existed when the intelligence could not back it up. Cops do not go around breaking into homes based on lack of evidence, do they? They don’t then burn the house down and kill the family based on fear, do they? We would never stand for that, would we? Yet we re-elect the man who does this to other countries? The real message: We’ll do whatever we want, but if you do what you want we’ll crush you.
And unfortunately, fear sells. Dick Cheney goes around predicting terrorist attacks, should he and Bush not be re-elected, and soccer moms get nervous. John Ashcroft raises the terror alert and NASCAR dads get protective. California tries to marry homosexuals and people turn to the God loving George W. Bush, because they know he hates gays too, doesn’t he? And he won’t let them have a piece of their America, will he? No, not on his watch.

It is easy to organize and rally people based on fear. The Nazis knew this. Unfortunately it is much harder to unify people on optimism and peace. Perhaps this is why God has wired into all of our lives so much pain. Without it we might never consider him, or pray to him. With it, we are drawn to him like good little children who need protection and safety. We are all like sheep, gone astray. And in George we trust to keep us safe at night. But when you act out of fear, facts are ignored, innocent people get hurt, rights are denied and helpless countries get bombed. The real message: We’re no better than the Nazis.

You can learn a lot from a country based on who they elect as president. And more-so, what they elect that person based on. This is probably why the world watches us so closely this time around. Will we re-elect the man who is running the company into the ground, based on fear? Or elect the alternative, any alternative, because we do not want to operate out of fear anymore? The real message: We want to be pushed around.

So what have I learned during this election? Our country will not allow homosexuals to get married. The real message: we’re scared of gays. It will oppose stem cell research. The real message: it’s ok as long as it affects someone else. This country seems to love a good war, even a meaningless one. The real message: we love to take it out on the other guy, and we love the illusion that that makes us seem strong and secure. This country seems to place no value on the judgment of a man who served, was wounded, and decorated in a previous meaningless war. This country seems to have no problems watching that vet get defamed. The real message: we do not honor our troops or their opinions. They should fight and die, but not form opinions, or learn from mistakes. The real message is this: This country would rather operate on fear rather than facts. And as long as that superstitious mindset remains, this country is in the Deep South , looking over its shoulder, waiting to lynch the next ideal or lifestyle or foreign country that threatens it.

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