by georgia10
Tue Mar 21, 2006 at 03:51:32 PM PDT

I am ashamed. I am ashamed of this President. Aren't you? After watching his press conference today, a sense of shame overtook me. I'm ashamed that he took to the podium today as if he emptied out a container of laughing gas. I'm ashamed of a President who has the temerity to laugh when asked a question about war. I'm ashamed of the whores of the fourth estate who care more about having the honor of being the butt of one of the President's jokes than about exposing the truth to the American people. I'm ashamed that millions of my fellow Americans are so scared and so desperate for leadership that they believe the President's bullshit.

I am ashamed. I'm ashamed of this President, this megalomaniac hellbent on leaving his assprint on the map of the Middle East, no matter how much destruction is wrought and no matter how much blood flows in the streets of lands that never threatened us. I'm ashamed that when I see the American flag waiving, images of flag-draped coffins flash in my mind. I'm ashamed of Freedom's MarchTM. Ashamed when I see villages reduced to rubble. Ashamed when I see the tiny little corpses. God, they're so painfully tiny--lined up in a row, little angels wrapped in colorful blankets that starkly contrast against their gray-tinged faces. Ashamed when I see wailing Iraqis slam their hands against plain, unvarnished coffins, over and over, asking "Why? Is this democracy? Why?" When I see those image of funerals, of broken families, I want to crawl into my TV, I want to go to them and grab their slumped shoulders and scream "I'm sorry, good god, I'm so sorry. I want to leave, I want us to leave, believe me. But they won't listen...No one listens anymore."

I'm ashamed that the word "massacre" is even uttered in connection with our actions in Iraq. I'm ashamed it's not just one massacre that is alleged, but two. I'm ashamed it's gotten to the point that I can't even tell this little voice inside of me to shut up, that little voice that says maybe, just maybe it could be true. That the impossible may be plausible. Before this war, I would have rejected such claims outright. But that voice of plausibility is the consequence of those black hoods. It's the consequence of those leashes, those snarling dogs. It's the consequence of those detainees chained to bedframes. Of naked pyramids. Of forced sex acts. Of beatings and blood-streaked floors.

I am ashamed. Ashamed that Justice is no longer blindfolded, but gagged. Ashamed that in America, in AMERICA, I can only protest in "free speech zones" the size of postage stamps. Ashamed that by the time I'll take my oath as an officer of the court to support the Constitution, I'll be swearing to uphold a tattered document that has managed to survive over 200 years only to be shredded by this President in less than eight.

I am ashamed. Ashamed that in America, I see bearded men panhandling in the street, holding cardboard signs that read "U.S. Vet, can't work, need food. God bless." Ashamed that somewhere, in our America, a grandmother is sitting alone at her kitchen table, crumpled bills clutched in her thin hands, agonizing over the choice before her: medicine for her pain, or food to keep on living. Ashamed that there is a child who will go to sleep tonight on a cot in an orphanage, with no one to read him a story, no one to stroke his hair and kiss him goodnight, because the American Taliban thinks gay Americans can't love, can't parent, can't provide.

I am ashamed of my fellow Americans. Ashamed that they haven't flooded the streets. Ashamed they care more about Brangelina than the Bill of Rights. Ashamed that they're seemingly ok with the subtle but steady transformation from democracy to dictatorship. Ashamed that they are so gullible.

I am ashamed of myself. For not having the courage or the strength to do anything else but sit here and blog. I write. I protest. I vote. And yet, I'm impotent. Stuck in a unrelenting cycle of hope and despair and hope and despair. What a curse it is to be 23 and want to change the world. What a curse to be so disillusioned so early in life. What a curse to want to change a world that will not change...that cannot change? That cannot change as long as we sit and wait for others to change it. That cannot change as long as our elected Democrats refuse to take a principled stand. That cannot change until they--until we--appreciate the gravity of the situation before us: we are losing America.

This is not America. I refuse to accept it. America doesn't torture. America doesn't jail people incommunicado for years. America doesn't sit idly by as an entire people are exterminated in Darfur. America doesn't stifle science. America doesn't conduct massive, secret spying on innocent citizens. America doesn't believe the individual is an annoyance, an impediment to supreme government power. This isn't the greatest democracy on earth. This isn't the nation that pioneered human rights. This isn't the America that leads the world, that leads humanity towards a greater good. No, I refuse to accept this America of shame. This is not my America. It is an America perverted by Republican stewardship. A nation that under GOP rule has abandoned its founding ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. True Americans--coast to coast, young and old--now bow their heads silently in collective shame for a nation that has lost its way.


Craig Schwarze said...

I'm starting to detect a pattern Neil. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that maybe you don't like GWB so much?

One Salient Oversight said...

Craig, Craig, Craig.

Now whatever gave you that idea?


Craig Schwarze said...

Who would you rate the best Australian PM and why?

One Salient Oversight said...

Let's see:

Howard: Generally good economic policy although current account hasn't been addressed. Showed his true colours from the Children overboard affair and invasion of Iraq.

Keating: A very savvy political animal. Had some very good economic ideas as treasurer but ran out of puff while being PM. Could've repaired tax system with a GST but chose not to.

Hawke: Ugly, beer swilling and embarrassing. Despite this, managed to reintroduce medicare, floated the $AUD, controlled inflation and began much-needed microeconomic reform.

Fraser: Didn't seem to have a clue. Couldn't control inflation and kept Australian industry and agriculture protected and weak.

Whitlam: Essentially tried to set up a communist revolution with some very very good social schemes that were more than matched by some exceptionally bad fiscal decisions.

Menzies: Just happened to be there at the time when everyone was happy.

My pick would be Whitlam. I suppose that might sound predictable but I am very well aware that the guy made some very stupid fiscal decisions. The guy did throw money around like it was going out of fashion which, if you take inflation into account, it probably was.

But it was social programs like Medicare that really influenced Australian society. for the better, as well as investment in education. These two things have really helped Australia be one of the top nations according to the UN Human Development Index.

But I'll say again - he was a fool when it came to financial matters. He should have been more responsible with the extra spending he set up, and he should have balanced the spending with tax increases.

Craig Schwarze said...

I am rather surprised. I thought you would have picked Hawke - certainly he is my pick for best Labor PM.

The thing about Whitlam is that he was martyred so early that it's not possible to subject his contribution to Oz in a really critical way. It means people can romanticise him - as they do.

But (as you acknowledge) there is plenty of bad there to go with the good. He was massively unpopular by the time of the dismissal.

I think some parts of his legislative program were good - federalising tertiary education, reducing tariffs and Medibank.

But all the ideas in the world are no good if can't pay the bills. Hawke was a much better Labor PM - practical, got things done.

Craig Schwarze said...

BTW, do you have Michelle Grattan's book on Oz PMs? It is a good read...