I LOVE MY COUNTRY BUT FEAR MY GOVERNMENT
I live in fear. Thanks to an ass kick from one of my favorite bloggers Todd Vodka, Im now watching the presidential debates and thinking about politics. My favorite way of dealing with subjects that make me uncomfortable is to ignore them. As a tattooed activist, who marched in WTO and has ties with NORML and other groups, I fear speaking out against this country. I fear being labeled a terrorist by the Patriot Act and I fear unreasonable search and seizure. The main reason I gave up activism was because of George Bush. While Clinton was president, I was free to roam, to smoke pot in the mic on the Whitehouse lawn, protest in bondage gear at the US Capitol, march the streets dressed in all black during WTO and sing “Were not Gonna Take It” with hundreds of other like minded activists. No longer do I feel safe doing this, putting my name out there as a “long haired trouble maker”. I feel like Captain America in Easy Rider, someone who because of how I look, or what I believe, might be killed and told to “get a haircut”.
“Mom, Someone Bombed the World Trade Building!”
Since 9/11, my fear has intensified and my alliances have somewhat clouded. Never can I forget waking up in the morning on Sept 11 2001 to my son banging on my door, telling me the world trade center was “bombed”. I thought he was just being a pest and waking me up. When he knocked again and said “mom, someone just bombed the Pentagon”, I took him seriously and watched TV. It kills me that my son had to see something so scary like that on the news. Once I realized the severity of that day, I selfishly thought of my brother. I knew his life in the military as a blackhawk pilot and Captain in the Army would forever be different. I cried tears that day not only for the casualties of 9/11, but I cried tears for selfish reasons...knowing my brother would now possibly go to war.
Terrorists and the “Dark” Menace
Once it was determined that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were the ememies and the war on terrorism began, I was frightened. Then the DC sniper started going crazy and further stirred this fear. How do you know whose a terrorist? Could I be considered a terrorist for being an activist? Would my interracial son be viewed as a terrorist because he has dark skin and looks Muslim? Who are these terrorists that want to murder Americans? Hatred and fear of Muslims came to a feverish pitch worldwide, reminiscent of WWI and the internment of Japanese. My sister married a Muslim man, and though he turned out to be an asshole that screwed her over, I know he is not a terrorist. But, I’m sure he is now profiled due to his affiliation.
Veterans are OUR Heroes
When world attention and blame for our 9/11 travesty turned to Saddam Hussein, I got flashbacks to my navy wife days during the first Iraq war. I didn’t support that invasion then, though at that time there was an invasion of Kuwait. My support then was 100% with the troops, and the families I lived with in navy housing. All our lives were effected by that war, with our husbands being out to sea, or working long and arduous hours at home. I lost friends in that war, since most of the young troops were my age. The way these troops were treated after the war also upsets me. Veterans of War should be honored as heroes, and given special status in society. As with Vietnam, I saw my friends come home affected, sometimes sick, and lost. Going to war is hard on soldiers, it is an experience that changes someone forever. Resources, support, medical care, etc, should be available to them. From what I have seen, once you get out of the service, you are on your own. This makes me sad. How interesting is it that both Timothy McVeigh and the DC sniper were war veterans? These guys get all fucked up, then lost, and forgotten.
Waiting for the Men in Uniform
Soon after 9/11 my brother went to South Korea. This frightened my family because we knew things were getting crazy with the threat of nuclear weapons. While he was in Korea, America invaded Iraq. I obsessed on the news, crying each time there was a casualty. When all the blackhawks started getting shot down, my fear escalated. I knew it wouldn’t be long before my brother was in Iraq, flying one of those blackhawks. Sure enough, he went to Iraq soon after. Like the hero that he is, he left ready to die for our country. We tried not to cry as we said goodbye when sending him off...but its so hard to be strong, when you know someone you love may be sacrificed in a political war. Once he got to Iraq, my paranoia and obsession with Iraq intensified. Every time I read that a blackhawk went down I panicked, but then remembered my brother’s words. He said in the military, no news is good news. Phone calls from military officials, are also no cause for alarm. “But when two guys in military uniform show up at mom’s house, then you know”. I kept waiting to hear that the guys in uniform came while my brother was away, BUT THANK GOD, they never showed up at the house.
Homecoming and Abu Ghraib
My brother came back from Iraq last spring. He came home here on leave to a heroes welcome. I sported him around town, always announcing to the bar tenders that “this is my brother and he just got back from Iraq”. Many a drinks were bought for him and me too, for being with him. Unfortunately, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal happened right around the time of his homecoming. I got so sick of people giving him shit about that. Why did my brother have to speak for some bad apples in the Army?
Back in Black 2005
Since the Army is on 1-year rotations, my brother is going back to Iraq early next year. I’m going to move into his house and take care of it while he is away. This thought is re-assuring to me, because for some weird reason, I will feel closer to him, living alone in his empty house.
Bush V. Kerry….I Cant Watch!
Watching this debate and hearing them talk about Iraq scares the hell out of me. I almost can’t deal with it. I’m too scared, I don’t want to lose my brother. I’m also scared for my vampire biting soldier friend, who is shipping off to Iraq now. I love and worry about all our soldiers. They do a job to protect us, they make sacrifices for us, and they are willing to die for us. I don’t want any of them to die...I guess I’m just selfish.
Calgon Take Me Away
Watching this debate is like watching a train wreck. I’m compelled to listen, but it also hurts me. Hiding my head in the sand, and thinking about other issues seem much safer. These debates, this election, touches upon issues that I have a hard time dealing with. If I was a stronger person, maybe I could handle sending loved ones off to war. I’m a big, selfish, wimp who needs xanax, cigarettes, pot, wine, or any distraction to deal with my fear. Sorry to be a political cop out, but I don’t want to live in fear anymore, and I really don’t know how to go about curing this condition.
"The mark of an immature man is that he would die knobly for a cause. The mark of a mature man is that he would live humbly for one" - Catcher in the Rye -WARNING WRITER SPELLING CHALLENGED! But Sometimes you have to say "what the fuck!"
Thursday, September 30, 2004
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