Archive for December, 2008

Has George Bush Kept Us Safe?

Today, I heard someone say, “George Bush has kept us safe.” He argued that that was Bush’s legacy. I couldn’t imagine that he was serious.

On January 20, 2001, George Bush was sworn in as our 43rd president. On September 11, 2001, terrorists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon while a fourth airplane crashed in Pennsylvania on the way to its target. Approximately 3,000 of our countrymen were killed in what has been called the worst terror attack on our nation. Is that what we call safe? In actuality, Mr. Bush did just the opposite: he made us an easy target for terrorists when he ignored the presidential daily briefing that said “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.”

Since then, Mr. Bush has invaded a country that was of no threat to us and had, by his own admission, nothing to do with September 11, sending more than 4,000 more Americans to their deaths. Is that what we call keeping us safe?

Al Qaeda is reconstituting, we have made more enemies in the world because of our  invasion of a sovereign nation, and our borders and ports have STILL not been made made safe. In fact, under Bush’s watch, our port security was sold to Dubai! Is that what we call safe? (Eventually, Dubai did sell off its assets in the U. S.)

We have not yet again suffered a terror attack in the U.S. and that’s what some use for the Bush has kept us safe argument. Sure, if you don’t count the three thousand killed by a terror attack under his watch and the over four thousand killed in an invasion that he spearheaded for no reason, then I guess he’s kept us safe. But even then, has he really kept us safe?

It was about 8 years between the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and the second, in 2001. Under Mr. Bush’s watch, we have not pursued Osama bin Laden, have not secured our ports or nuclear facilities, and have given bin Laden ample time to plan his next move. Is that what we call safe?

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War on Christmas? Bah! Humbug!

It’s that time of year again, when a segment of the population (for example, Bill O’Reilly) starts whining that the rest of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, have declared a war on Christmas. This started a few years ago when some retailers decided not to wish every customer (who might or might not celebrate Christmas) a merry Christmas regardless of whether every customer cared to be wished a merry Christmas. War on Christmas? I like Christmas as much as the next person, but to these people, who obviously don’t get out much and don’t know what REALLY goes on in this country, I say, war on Christmas? Bah! Humbug!

If you must label something a war, then I would say that there’s a segment of the Christian population who is declaring war on the non-Chirstmas population—-Christians who aren’t consumed by Christmas, Jews, Muslims, etc. Although these Christians like to defend their right to preferential treatment in this country by parroting the empty sentence, This is a Christian country, I say, Guess again.

This is a country with a lot of Christians. This is NOT a Christian country. There is a difference. Although in the last 8 years, extreme right-wing conservative Christians have tried, with some assistance, to convince us that this is a Christian country and have tried to make this a Christian country, the fact remains: we are a nation of all religions, all colors, all beliefs, and many of the people who settled this country did so in order, we are taught in school, to flee religious persecution or oppression. While some of the founding fathers were Christians, they provided that religion should not be forced upon us by our government by establishing the separation of church and state.

But back to the War on Anyone Who Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas….. Starting in early November, our homes are invaded by television commercials that have images such as Christmas-wrapped Hershey’s chocolates dancing across the screen, and our senses are further attacked in almost every retail store by twinkling Christmas trees and Christmas decorations of Santas, candy canes, crosses, and nativity scenes. We can’t pick up a bag of M & M’s that isn’t wrapped in Christmas packaging, and starting in December, we are held hostage by incessant Christmas music while we’re waiting in line to pick up our pizza or pay for our trouser socks. And then we even have to hear the Weather Channel talk about christmas weather! It’s just Christmas bomb after Christmas bomb after Christmas bomb, exploding in our ears and in front of our eyes.

We are forced to watch while our country is taken over by ONE DAY that, for some reason, has been turned into an entire SEASON. Why SHOULD I have to be accosted by “merry christmas” every time I go into a store? And what about the people who are alone for the holidays and don’t want to be reminded of how lonely they are by hearing someone chirp “merry christmas” with every “paper or plastic”?

I could go on, but I won’t. The whole war on christmas thing is a joke. You want to see war? Go to Iraq or Afghanistan or Africa, or go to the inner-city streets and watch people suffering there. But don’t tell me that there’s a damn war on Christmas.

The Washington Redskins and Political Correctness

I was watching football this weekend, specifically, the New York Giants destroy the Washington Redskins, and it got me thinking about something I haven’t heard about in a while. Several years ago, there were some whispers about the “political incorrectness” (why can’t people just say insensitivity or insult?) of calling Washington’s football team the Redskins, and some in and out of the league wondered whether it was too offensive. It wasn’t long before we all recovered, though, from our temporary brush with sensitivity and awareness, and it hasn’t been mentioned anywhere on mainstream television since.

 

Some people said that too many of us were too consumed by this “political correctness,” complaining, for example, that people were being too sensitive and saying, for example, that it seems as if you can’t say anything these days without someone yelling about bigotry or prejudice. Political correctness, huh? How about just plain old awareness and respect of others?

 

I wonder whether any one of us would be offended if we had a team called the Cleveland Brownskins, the Arizona Pale Faces, the San Francisco Yellowskins, or the Pittsburgh Rednecks. Doing the right thing isn’t about “political correctness”; it’s about doing the right thing and being aware that there are other people around you who feel just as strongly about their heritage as you do about yours.

 

It’s part of living in a world where you are not the only inhabitant.