Thursday, September 14, 2006

Finally, An Honest Answer—But Did He Think it Through?

As my profile says, I enjoy karaoke. I live in a small community that would be considered “rural” but in this homogenous country the only thing that separates rural from urban or suburban is whether you have farms on all four borders or whether you abut another town. While we’re only ten miles up the road from a major university, we still have our redneck element and you definitely meet them in the bars.

So.

I was out last evening in a local karaoke bar chatting with a man who actually did justice to Hootie and the Blowfish. When he found out that I was a writer and an editor, of course he had an idea for a book that he just had to share with me. Actually, he was describing a movie which is a completely different kind of writing. I’ll call him “Bill.” After we talked about his idea for a Biblical epic/2001 A Space Odyssey, the conversation went something like this.

“Hey, Honey!” He nudged his wife. “This lady’s a writer!”

“Oh, really? What have you written?” Honey replied.

“My book is called Rock Bound. It's about political prisoners who are arrested at a demonstration in Washington and sent to mine the moon as slave labor.”

“You must have been a hippie,” Bill commented. Honey turned back to her drink and their friends.

“Actually, I joined the Navy,” I replied. “I felt then the way most people feel now. I didn’t think we belonged in Viet Nam, but I believed we should support our troops.”

“What do you mean we don’t belong there?” Bill asked.

“Do you mean Viet Nam or Iraq?” I asked, wondering about his choice of present tense.

Iraq,” he clarified.

I thought, Oh no, another redneck who thinks we should kill all people of Islamic belief because a few attacked us—or who still thinks Iraq had something to do with the attacks on 9/11. At least that stupid ABC movie clarified that much. But instead, I asked:

“Why do we belong in Iraq?” And was thoroughly startled by his reply.

“Well, I know they didn’t have anything to do with Osama Bin Ladin, but we need their oil.”

“Do you mean to tell me,” I asked, “that you would be willing to die so your neighbor can drive an SUV?”

“Yup.”

“How does that make us different from—“

“And now we need Rochelle at the karaoke stage!”

By the time I finished my song, he was talking with his wife and their friends and he and his wife left before I could complete that sentence. But I was amazed. I couldn’t believe this man actually admitted we had invaded another country to get its oil and thought that was OK. Is that how the Germans felt when Hitler saw something in Poland that he wanted and invaded that country, killing anyone who got in his way—military and civilians alike? I really hoped that the ABC movie would finally dispel the belief that Saddam Hussein or Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks and that more people would question why we are in Iraq. But it appears there is another viewpoint that is even more deadly—the viewpoint of the arrogant American who thinks we have the right to take over any nation that has what we want if the government of that country is unwilling to hand it to us.

I was afraid when I thought the only Nazi’s in this country were the ones in the West Wing and a few skinhead gangs and survivalists who don’t bother to vote. But this man appeared normal—at least as normal as a native of this town can be. And I’m afraid that he and his friends vote. Sometimes I really wish I could take my kids and grandkids and migrate to Canada—at least until American voters come to their senses and realize that “manifest destiny” wasn’t the noble cause our history books make it out to be. It was patently unfair to the people who already lived here. And now it seems to be spreading to the Third World. Bush will keep fighting in Iraq and claiming that the Iraqis are unable to govern themselves until they agree to vote for a leader who is friendly to Bush’s interests. You see, the Iraqis were ready to vote as soon as Hussein was found and removed from his hidey-hole but the theocracy they wanted to vote in was NOT friendly to US interests, so Bush and his cronies decided they were not ready to govern themselves. Just as Eisenhower decided the Vietnamese were not ready to govern themselves when they voted for a communist regime after we helped the French retreat from their colonies in Southeast Asia.

So—look out Third World. Or for that matter, look out World. Manifest Destiny is again the war cry of the United States. You’re only safe if you don’t have a commodity we desire.

5 comments:

  1. I really liked this post. You have a lot of the same ideas as I do. I, too, am a grandmother-and love the little guys. And I am also a writer-anyway, enough of trading my life story. Just wanted to say I think you are on the side of the angels-

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  2. Ok.. new name, same japanesedragonlady as before! HA!

    I have to say I found this not mildly disturbing but VERY disturbing. I know that these types are out there but it is still distressing at the same rate. To be so blatant about it. YIKES! I mean this guy really sees nothing wrong with this viewpoint. This is why I have such little faith in Americans anymore. Some things I hear and see just drive me nuts.

    The other day Joe and I were on our way up to the Chicago area when I huge gas guzzling truck in front of us just threw their 42 oz plastic cup out the window onto the interstate, it hit our car. I was in the passenger side and reached for the horn. Joe stopped me. I sure wanted to give them a piece of my mind.

    It amazes me how so many Americans can just drive gas guzzling SUV's, devour McDonalds and then just throw the waste where ever. Who cares about global warming right? It dosen't exhist right? Who cares if we kill for oil, who cares we support big chain stores who use sweatshops and child labor. As long as our lives are more convienant.

    This kind of outlook on life scares me as do these people. I generally have a tendancy to pick up my proverbial marbles and go play elsewhere when I run into these types. They're too ignorant to even attempt to enlighten them.

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  3. First timer here... from Canada...
    I am 31 and concerned for my kids and at one point hopefully my grandkids!

    I suspect the US will (like any world superpower) Implode from the inside. The first thing to go will be the economy... how americans react will define they next century.

    Personally , I don't wish it to anyone and I know Canda will be greatly affected.

    This being said, the crash/recession of the 1930's brought the best out of the survivors.

    What we both need as countries is a better perspective. This is what I see lacking presently.

    Thoughtful post, thanks

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