My Country Makes Me Sad

Tonight's big news story is the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Seven US soldiers have received punishment after abusing Iraqi prisoners by stripping them and putting them in degrading poses. The White House reminds the Iraqi people, who are recently "freed," that this is only the result of a "few bad actors" and not a reflection of the majority of the whole.

What a crock of shit. Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? What if videos were released of Iraqi's abusing American soldiers and when asked, the Iraqi's reminded us that this was only the action of a few "bad actors, not a reflection of the whole?" It's laughable, if such a thing is possible.

This is so problematic. Firstly, why do Americans hold contempt for Iraqi's? Exactly what have they done to us? It's no secret what we've done to them. We Shock and Awed them. If they had a couple of American soldiers and stripped them down and embarassed them would anyone question why? So I've put my foot in my mouth because people would ask why. Mr' Bush would ask why would the Iraqi's do this after we just liberated them from a dictator that we put in power. I'm so sick of hearing Mr. Bush say, "He gassed his own people." Does anyone out there in the blog world know where Saddam got the gas? Anyone? Did the US do anything to stop him and did we condemn the gassing, or did we instead denounce the use of gas? I'll save you the suspense. We gave it to him, we didn't condemn and we denounced the use of gas.

It just makes me sad. This is the country I belong to. The country I love so dearly. I don't want to be associated with this. I think Eduardo Galeano brings light to a fascinating juxtaposition. What if...
Iraq had invaded the United States on the pretext that the US had weapons of mass destruction? Or if the Venezuelan embassy in Washington had pushed and applauded a coup against George W. Bush, like the one the US embassy in Caracas supported against Hugo Chavez? Or if the government of Cuba had organized numerous assassination attempts against the US presidents, in response to the numerous times the US tried to kill Fidel Castro?
And what would happen if the countries of the South refused to accept a single condition imposed by the International Monetary fund and the World Bank unless they began imposing the same conditions on the United Stated as well, the major debtor of the planet? Or if the tariffs and subsidies the rich countries imposed at home but prohibit elsewhere were introduced in the South?

I think John Stewart put it best on tonight's show. He said something to the effect of, "the administration keeps a positive view, always knowing the coffins are coming back half full."

But I can't end there. It's not time to casually mention these things. I'm tired of it. I AM OUTRAGED BY MY COUNTRY! A presidential election is coming up and we haven't even figured how to properly and fairly vote. What is more fundamental to a democracy than voting? People don't like hearing about these things because it's depressing. They just want to vote for Bush and hope that it works itself out. Arundhati Roy writes, "Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease." We can't keep ignoring this.

On the one year anniversary of Mr. Bush's famous "Mission Accomplished" speech, we get these photos of the job we're accomplishing and it makes me very sad.

I've given it some thought and to be honest with you, I'm wrong. Our administration could not be sending a more accurate description of how America feels. Please Mr. Bush, remind the Iraqi's that this war is just the result of a "few bad actors" not a reflection of the whole.



True Story.

I have to apologize firstly for the lack of activity on this blog. It's not because I've been too busy but rather because I've been anything but busy. I will try to make amends.

About two weeks ago I was sitting at my computer when I heard a loud crunch. I live on the second floor and walked over to the front window to see what the noise was...it sounded like a fender bender. I have a horrible staring problem and am somewhat, how should I say, visually nosey. I like to see the faces people make when they get tickets and so on. At the wiondow, I saw my car on the other side of the road backed into a wall. I had just gotten home and fear struck. It's a very busy road. It was raining very hard because good stories only happen when it's raining. I slipped on my clogs and ran downstairs fearing that I had forgotten to pull the emergency break up and the car had rolled down the driveway, across the road and into a wall. We had just gotten our car back from a $5300 auto body repair that was partly my fault and partly the sneaky tree that ran out in front of my car's fault. There was a young girl getting out of the front seat.

She was wearing a warm colored t-shirt, jeans and a sock. Yup, A sock.

Cap.- "What happened?"
Girl- "I don't know."
Cap.- "What are you doing in my car?"
Girl- "It's my car."
I'm really kind of in shock right now and for some reason I believe her. I look in the driveway across the street and say,
Cap.- "That's crazy, it looks just like my car!"
Girl- "Well maybe we'll get a ride?"
Cap.- "Huh?!"
Girl- "I hope I get the job, I'm just so thirsty, I need a drink of water."

My wife and I use a cell phone as our main phone and she just happened to take it with her to work that day. I really don't know what's going on but I know I need this girl to stay with me until I can call the cops. I invited her in to get a drink of water. She starts calling for Meghan. My apartment is only one big room so she's talking to the wall. She walks over to my bookshelf and takes my big Egon Schiele book. She says,

Girl- "I love this book. I can build gardens in my home with it."

She opens it and puts it over her head like a tin roof and starts circling around.
I don't know if you've ever experienced something like this. It makes a funny story but it's a little scary when it's really happening. This girl is my age and she's totally insane.

Cap.- "What's your name?"
Girl- "We slept together last night and you don't remember my name?"
Cap.- "Wowahh! Ahh no we didn't. Whats my name?" (please don't say Josh, please don't say Josh, A Kerouac quote goes through my head about finding out that the whole world knows YOU"RE the clown and the rest of the world is watching YOU)
Girl- "Greg."
Cap.- (phew) "No."
Girl- "Nick?"
I double glance.
Cap.- "No."
Girl- "Mike"
I show her my license and with the utmost sincerity she asks,
Girl- "Are you his twin? How does the mask fit? Is it...Does it hurt?"

Finally I make it down to the neighbors and they call the cops. The cops ask me, "Do you know her, have you seen her before?" and while saying no, the girl is yelling to me, "Hun, why are they asking me all of these quetions," and the cops are looking at me like, "it kinda seems like you know her dude." I told them to talk to her for about three minutes and they'll understand.

Apparently, the girl had taken four Xanax, a gram of Coke and a couple of Beers. She was twenty three. It all settled out okay. It could have been much worse. Can you imagine if a truck had creamed her and my car and the cops were asking me why there was a girl in my car that I had never seen before? This effected me deeply for the next couple of days. Really put me in a funk. What could be happening in her life that would make her choose to do this. It depressed me. I didn't feel comfortable writing about it right away but I'm feeling better about it now. I even find it a little bit funny. The punchline of the night was when I asked her if she was a student.

Girl- "Yeah, I go to New Paltz."
Cap.- "Oh cool, what do you study?"
Girl- "Pyschology."

It's a funny after thought. Just reminds you that that stuff really happens to people, just rarely you.