October 2006


     Furious  It's The War, Stupid!        

    As I write this a week before elections, I am dumbfounded and perplexed that, 1.) anyone at this late date could possibly be undecided about whom to vote for and, 2.) you, the voter, have not unequivocally determined that the Iraq war is “THE” issue beyond all others and will vote accordingly.        

    Accordingly, in my opinion, is to vote out of office any Representative or Senator who voted to approve the war in Iraq. Period.  End of story.  Republican or Democrat. Vote the slackers out!                

    I laughed out loud over the Sentinel endorsement of John Mica.  I am sure he is bringing home the bacon.  Why not?  That is what incumbent Republicans (Democrats, too, when they’re in control) do. They feed their favored constituencies.  But Mica voted to support America’s war in Iraq.  As did countless other incumbent Republicans and Democrats.         

    The Sentinel endorses an elected official who totally missed the boat, was too flummoxed to figure it out for himself, was too much of a go-along boy to properly think it through, was too ignorant of history and geo-politics to see the ramifications of an American occupation of Iraq and was too smitten with American power to see the inherent hubris and flaws of America’s ill-conceived occupation of a Muslim nation.  Is that what passes for leadership these days?                

    America’s Iraq War is the biggest, most costly foreign policy blunder since Viet Nam. Actually, it is the most devastating, ill-conceived American initiative of the past 100 years of American history.  And we’re to give a “bye” to our elected officials, why?, because the President and his Neo-con cronies totally misrepresented the war to the nation?            

    Where was the due diligence of our Representatives and Senators? Are they not elected to look after the nation’s best interests?  Or, are they just rubber-stamp, blank-check lackeys?  Are we to re-elect go-along flunkies who lack a backbone or, worse, do not properly think things through at all?  If so, re-elect those Congressmen and women whose vote so far has cost America 2,800 servicemen their lives, 20,000 wounded and limbless and some $2 trillion of projected national indebtedness.                

    Oh, you say, Congressman Mica (or any of the other elected dupes of the President) was/were misled into war.  How was he to know there were no weapons of mass destruction, no real links to Osama bin Laden, that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on 9-11?  For the sake of argument and let’s be generous, where has Mica been on how the Iraq occupation was planned and executed?  Where was his clear and resonant voice on this escalating fiasco, where were his questions to the administration calling for heads to roll, for accountability?  What you get is silence.                

    Folks, this election is about our war in Iraq.  If you do not care how we came to be in Iraq, if misrepresentation, half-truths and out right lies, if no planning and poor execution, if death, mayhem and indebtedness mean nothing to you, then, by all means, re-elect your chump of a Representative or Senator.  But, but he’s our chump!                

    I’d vote out every last mealy-mouthed, spineless Democrat or Republican who voted (lemming-like) for this war.  They in as much as took America right over the cliff and we haven’t even begun to hit bottom.                

    President Bush, based on some inner messianic voice only he hears, took us to war on false pretenses, a tragic war of choice and Congress rubberstamped his idiocy without so much as a head nod to vigorous debates of the issues.                

    Our government is based on a system of checks and balances. Where were those elected officials to balance an out-of-control executive branch?  Our government, our Representatives and Senators (Nelson, too.) failed us miserably.  How many servicemen and women must die before we hold accountable those who so rashly and falsely took America to war?                 

    Safer?!  Ha! America is far less safe as a result of our occupation of Iraq. Ask yourself this: Did my Representative serve America by blindly voting approval for the occupation of Iraq?  If the answer is no, vote accordingly.                 

    It’s the war, stupid!  

Reach Jepson at: Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US 

11.02.06

And To The Beast She Said, “Take Me.” 

  Cormac McCarthy has a new book out titled, The Road.  Years ago Russell Troutman recommended McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses and I’ve been an avid McCarthy reader ever since. Thank you Russell.  The Road paints a bleak picture, a sparsely written, post apocalyptic world of starvation, cannibalism and doom.  It is neither a pretty picture of humanity nor of our prospects.
  On the road, so to speak, are a father and son and it is their story that McCarthy tells.  All the father’s energy is devoted to ensuring the survival of his adolescent son.  The world is becoming increasingly colder (after some unspecified apocalyptic event) and the father and son are literally walking through what remains of Tennessee to the Gulf coast, to hopefully warmer climes. There is danger and unbelievable cruelty around every bend, beyond every hill.
  The father speaks of the bad guys and refers to himself and his son as the good guys.  The bad are about as bad as anything imaginable.  People are kept alive to have shanks of their legs and buttocks periodically sliced off for eating.  How bad is that?
  We do not need, however, McCarthy’s fiction to remind us of how truly bad reality can be, how truly monstrous human beings are. Do we?
  I always want to hear Sunday’s sermon after some fresh demonstration of man’s “free will” slaughters innocence, how an omnipotent deity once, not so long ago, innocently created a world where purity is puréed, so effortlessly sliced & diced through the madman’s meat grinder of a mind.
  When I heard the details of the Amish slaughter, I was appalled. How, how can this be?  Why?  Why would a man enter a rural Pennsylvania one room schoolhouse, release all the male students and then execute the female students?  Why?  
  Allegedly, the beast had constructed a torture rack (actually brought tools with him) to which he was going to bind the girls and sexually assault them prior to their execution.  The ten children were aged six through thirteen.  The beast brought two tubes of K-Y Jelly.
   I weep at the thought of their fear.  I recall seeing a single, solitary photo a day or two after the tragedy.  It was an image of a child’s stark white Amish bonnet hanging from a peg on the schoolhouse wall. The strings that tied the hat, dangling, just waiting for its owner to laughingly grab them and dash out the school door, back to loving parents. 
   No, what kept these little girls from being sexually tortured prior to their deaths was the rapid response of the police. The beast expected a lot more time with the girls before he killed them. The immediate response of authority thwarted his plans.  He murdered innocence and then himself.
   And then I heard the silver lining. What possibly could make this anything better than what it is, yet another example of the beast within the being? Us. The beast in our family.You’re about to die, or worse, and you’re 13 years old.  What grace, what ultimate presence of mind to confront the beast with, “Take me,” in hope of saving those younger.  A young woman, barely out of adolescence, says to the face of deranged terror and imminent death, “Take me.”
   And we weep.
   Mark Scolforo of the Associated Press reported that, “Two of the survivors of the shooting told their parents that 13-year-old Marian Fisher, one of the slain girls, asked to be shot first, apparently hoping the younger girls would be let go, according to Leroy Zook, an Amish dairy farmer."
    Take me. Two words summing up too much of our history.  How (why) is it we are such beasts and such angels?
   We have completely lost track of what heroic means.  We speak of athletes as heroes.  “Tiger is heroic,” some ridiculous sports page proclaims because he won yet another tournament.  Absurd.  Marian Fisher is the hero.
   Reflect on Marian Fisher. Thirteen years old and about to be slaughtered and she has enough presence of mind, enough humanity to say, “Take me.” 
   Gentle, heroic Maid Marian and the beast.  It is our sad story.  It is our long road.  
Reach Chris Jepson at:
Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US 
10.19.06

Knock, Knock.

Is Anyone Home?

 

There is part of me that is totally enthralled with the Congressman Foley scan-dal.  I absolutely love it when Republicans aggressively eat their own, particularly when they are still breathing. It makes me laugh out loud at the hypocrisy exhibited,  whether it be the irony of Foley once spearheading legislation criminalizing internet predator activities or Republicans in general fumbling for words reiter-ating their moral rectitude.

“Buh, buh, but don’t forget, Clinton lied about having sex in the White House!”

Yea, yea, we all know.  But no one died when President Clinton lied.

Okay, that’s a cheap shot at the current White House occupant yet it certainly has a ring of “truth” to it.

Think: How did America come to have 2,700 dead in Iraq?

What bothers me about Congressman Foley is not that he was a closeted gay.  No, his coming out would have been the kiss of death politically, particularly in the Republican Party. I am not surprised either that he was attracted to young men. 

Heterosexual men are, at times, undeniably attracted to young women, too. Why would homosexual men be any different? 

There is no denying the beauty associated with youth. It (the attraction) seems to be a factor of our species.

No, what bothers me about Foley’s behavior was that he acted upon it.

Arguably, human beings reach their “physical” beauty at a young age. The Beatles sang of it, “She was just seventeen and you know what I mean and the way she looked . . .” It’s a fact Jack. But, sigh, alas, just because someone lights up the room doesn’t mean the lights are on. 

The young are not wasted on the young. They deserve each other.

For Foley to act upon his fantasies (desire for youth) is a reflection of his mind and maturity. To me, the man must have been tremen-dously insecure about his own faculties and abilities— all his political swagger and posturing to the contrary.

Foley is a pathetic human being. He is not a demon. He’s a congressman.

Aside: For those quick to criticize America‘s gays for Foley’s behavior—his lusting after the laddies—is in any way representational of that entire community: It is no more valid than indicting all hetero-males for “Lolita” longing. It is just the occasional bad apple lusting after a green apple.

All that said, can we please move on?

 Knock.  Knock. Is anyone home?

All this energy, all this media coverage over this sorry, trite little story of truly limited consequence.  Sure the Party of “family values” got handed their heads. Today. This time. So what?  The Democrats aren’t Snow White. They never have been.  As long as it’s human beings we elect to Congress, there are going to be such stories of desire, hubris and arrogance. 

Grow–up America!  I’m the first to acknowledge it is titillating. Tremendously funny, too. As much as anyone, I love a good “fall from grace” story.  It’s part of what makes us humans interesting.

But we have more tragic fish to fry!  We’re in an unjust war that’s bankrupting America both financially and morally. We’re losing men and women everyday in a conflict that our President chose to initiate. A pre-emptive war of choice! Evidence was suppressed.  Evidence was fabricated. We have no business in Iraq. It was a doomed operation from the git-go.

If heads are going to roll, make them roll over something of substance.  Yes, Republicans are guilty of abusing their mandate (In so many ways! Where’s that Grand Old Party, my father’s party, of fiscal restraint?).

Focus in on the deceit necessary for America to be bogged down in this quagmire called Iraqi Freedom. (Irony?)

 Focus in on our dead servicemen and women. And the thousands horribly wounded.

Focus in on the $2 trillion (our grandchildren’s future) we are borrowing (from the Chinese) for this abominable war.

And those livy-livered Democrats who caved in rather than say, “Up yours” when labeled soft on terrorism, vote those spine-less nematodes out, too.

And ask yourself this, “Where was my brain when war was being bandied about so cavalierly? What is my culpability as a citizen in this monstrosity of an American war?”

And then vote accordingly.  Just because you were possibly out-to-lunch once doesn’t necessarily mean the day is lost.

Foley is merely symptomatic.  Iraq is tragic.

Reach Chris Jepson at:

Jepson@MEDIAmerica.us

 

10.12.06


A Cross To Bear? 

    Interesting, is it not, that in today’s environment being labeled “liberal” is the worst charge one politician can level at his opponent? It’s equivalent to using the “N” word, perhaps worse. I’ve been with black friends when they’ve used the “N” word, in a jocular way, with close acquaintances. Being called queer was once an epithet but even that form of name-calling today is less emotionally charged than branding someone a liberal.
    Republican candidate for governor Charlie Christ in his campaign advertisements calls his Democratic rival Jim Davis a liberal. And we are supposed to think less of Davis. Why is that? Why is being labeled liberal such a cross to bear (so to speak)? 
    Is it because liberals pushed for integration in America? Thus alienating Southern whites? Is it because liberals supported the voting-rights initiatives of the 60s? Perhaps, it is because liberals opposed America’s ill-conceived war in Viet Nam just as many liberals today unapologetically oppose our foolishness in Iraq. Or, is it because liberals pushed for Medicare for the elderly in the 60s, much as Roosevelt had pushed for Social Security a generation earlier? 
    I’ve heard it said of liberals that they have pressed too hard for equality. That they’ve embraced quotas and set-asides for minorities and that better qualified white applicants lost out as a result. And that Affirmative Action was/is bad and inherently unfair. No matter America’s long history of racism and intolerance. Oh, and don’t leave out how liberals, particularly women, have pressed for equality. In the workplace, in government, in healthcare, in education, in relationships, in the family, in the way our children are raised. 
    In today’s climate the only thing worse than being labeled liberal is being labeled a feminist. Two classifications that are inextricably linked: feminist liberal. Actually, that may be unnecessarily redundant. Then there’s the whole “sexual” thing. Liberals typically feel birth control should be free (if necessary), safe and readily available. And that it is in the nation’s interest that that actually be the case (free, safe & available). Of course, liberals feel the government has no business in the bedroom (it’s a freedom thing), as what consensual adults do is their private business. 
    Liberals have been legitimately concerned regarding government encroachment of individual rights whether it be illegal surveillance to unlawful search and seizure. 
    Typically what precedes the charge of liberal is tax & spend as in tax & spend liberal. This is significantly different from the current Republican approach which is bankrupt & spend.   Ha! Is it ironic that President Clinton, a liberal in many circles, left the American government in far better shape financially than it is today (under allegedly conservative leadership)? Go figure. 
    I have the opportunity to speak Tuesday, October 24th (10:00 AM) at the Winter Park University Club. I will be addressing the idea of Liberals & Liberalism. At the conclusion of my talk there will be an hour-long forum where the audience will have a chance to express themselves in a hopefully, good-natured, spirited give and take ex-change of individual opinions. The range of topics will be limited to government, politics and American society. 
    This event is open to all. The only admission requirement, an open mind. Or, if not an open mind, a civil tongue. 
Reach Chris Jepson at: 
Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US 
10.05.06