Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's the Contradictions That Will Kill You.

In Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire," Blanche Dubois believed herself to be a great Southern beauty, pampered in life, admired by everyone and desired by all men, but someone who held herself apart from the masses, a genteel and delicate, privileged woman. The truth was that life had been unkind, her beauty was faded, her admirers had moved on, nobody wanted her, and there was nothing but delusional hallucinations between her and the streets.

I was reading a Santa story for a 5 year old and loved the pictures, the entire story, of this kindly white-haired man with his wife and elfs who spend their time making presents for all the children of the world so that everyone can be happy on Christmas day. And it occurred to me that, just like Blanche, we Americans have a grossly distorted picture of ourselves. There is no American version of Santa going around the world trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We're more like the reverse Santa: we steal resources from other countries and leave their children poor so that the upper classes in the U.S. can brag about how many hundreds of millions of dollars they were paid this year.

We, as a nation, have no commitment to helping children in or outside of this country. We don't even provide our own children with health care. If some baby happens to be born to a poor family in the U.S., we'll just let them die if they get sick because we don't care about other people's babies, at least not once they're born. That's the twisted thing about the right-wing: they claim to love the un-born children, but hate the babies.

We don't send the children of the world presents, whether by plane or truck or sleighs with reindeer, and we do not care if they are hungry or if they die young. We do nothing about the misery, poverty, suffering, and death of children in the world except hand out an occasional band-aid.

In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have caused the suffering of those children by dropping bombs on them, wounding them, starving them, injuring or killing their families, torturing and imprisoning the dads, blowing up their homes, destroying their schools, roads, hospitals, electrical system, water delivery. We've left them living in a military dictatorship with gangs of thugs and murderers roaming throughout the cities killing without consequence -- and those are our gangs, our private mercenary gangs that we not only approve but to whom we pay exceedingly good salaries. Money that could, instead, be used to buy presents and to make those children of Iraq and Afghanistan happy.

When I read about the CEOs, the Wall Street Boys, the politicians in Congress being "given" millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars, and then think of the children with no food, it is impossible to think of the U.S. as being a decent country, or a kind country, or a good one. Why is it that with the recent unfortunate growth of religion in our country, crucifixes hung from every neck, we seem to be getting more murderous and brutal. Does anyone else see the contradiction there? Exactly which religion is it that says we should starve children and adorn ourselves with gold and jewels?

They just reported on the news that some hedge fund scum was found dead in his office, possible suicide. Good. Back in the 1930s when the predecessors to the current Wall Street Boys destroyed the economy of the U.S. and the world by greed, speculation, and fraud, many of them at least had the decency to kill themselves, which is what they deserved, sometimes giving the public a show by throwing themselves out of windows from high rises near Wall Street. When they killed themselves, it helped to restore honor and dignity to the country because it allowed the public to believe that there is a God after all, justice will prevail, and no matter how big of a crook someone is, they'll get it in the end.

I think that's what should happen today, also. It would be a tiny bit of justice in an otherwise bleak time of year. In fact, maybe it could be arranged as a Pay-Per-View with the money to go to poor children, with webcams and news crews present to catch the bodies from every angle. Clear the streets to avoid further damage to the citizens. Then tell the boys to jump. Maybe sychronized. It would be like a ticker-tape parade, except for the part when they hit the street. We could call it the Great Leap Forward. The world would little note nor long remember the criminals known as the Wall Street Boys. No loss there. If we were feeling kind, we could say that everyone who jumps will be given a pass in the history books. It would be their way of redeeming some tiny shred of dignity. Kill themselves. And give the money back. In fact, get the money before they jump.

How about the Bigoted Pastor Warren, so intent on hiding in other people's closets to spy on them when they go to bed at night (so to speak), as his "Christian" duty. Does the Bigoted Pastor Warren ever think that he should simply pass the collection plate in his Orange County mega church and ask the ladies to donate their jewel-encrusted crucifixes to be sold, money used to feed the children? I guess that's not as exciting as spying on other people having sex. What is it about these white male preachermen that they spend so much time obsessing on other people's sex lives? I'm wondering if we raised lots of money and bought some enormous porno collection, put it on-line for all the white privileged sex-obsessed preachermen to watch 24/7, maybe they'd leave the rest of us alone and the world would be a better place?

None of this is so hard after all. We don't need the Ph.D.s in this and that and the Departments of Whatever to figure it out. The solution is to live a life, run a country consistent with what we claim are our values, laws, and beliefs. Do as we say.

We need to face up to our wrongdoing. Acknowledge to ourselves and to the world. Then make it right. This is what we need to do immediately, as soon as Obama takes office:

(1) appoint independent (of the white house and congress) prosecutors to begin subpoening witnesses to take evidence for use in war crimes prosecutions;

(2) arrest those accused of war crimes and have public trials, throw them in prison if convicted;

(3) appoint independent (of the white house and congress) prosecutors to begin subpoenaing witnesses to take evidence for use in financial crimes prosecutions;

(4) arrest those accused of financial crimes, including politicians who have taken bribes or kick-backs to allow these crimes to occur, have public trials, throw them in prison if convicted.

(5) End both wars now and bring the troops home.

(6) Establish and fund reparations to be paid to the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan, to be administered by some independent nations and organizations.

At least that would be a good start. Ho Ho Ho.

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