Wednesday, March 15, 2006



Lately, I have been an explosion waiting to happen! One minute I can be my normal, charismatic, jocular self; the next minute I'll blow like Mt. St. Helens! My daughter has seen it. The kid who tried to pass my semi on the right as I was making a right hand turn certainly saw it! For that matter, anyone who was within 6 blocks of downtown Goshen heard it in all it's graphic, profane glory. The latest blow up came Sunday morning, when I stormed out of a breakfast meeting with my two closest friends after hearing one racially insensitive remark too many.

While I have been aware of this anger seething just below the surface for a while now, I hadn't been able to quite put my finger on it's source. I thought maybe Dubya and his misadministration, but while that explains this feeling of loathing I've had for the last 5 years, it doesn't explain this underlying rage. My finances currently suck, but hell, been there before and always survived with my humor intact! It wasn't until watching a brilliant performance by James Spader on BOSTON LEGAL last night that I realized why I am so angry. Spader's character (Alan Shore) says everything I have had on my mind so brilliantly, you would think the show's writers had been following me around for months. It turns out, my fellow citizens, that what I am really angry at is YOU!

The scene is this. Alan Shore is defending his secretary on income tax evasion charges. She has protested what she views as an affront to her war hero grandfather by returning her tax form blank, save for a post it note with the words "stick it" written on it. You can see Spader's brilliant performance HERE. Just click on "Stick It closing arguments". The following is the transcript of the scene:

Alan Shore's closing argument:

Alan Shore: When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out to be not true, I expected the American people to rise up. Ha! They didn't.

Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to regimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorists suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.

And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidentially, we haven't.

In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial - or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.

There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people seem to notice.

Well, Melissa Hughes noticed. Now, you might think, instead of withholding her taxes, she could have protested the old fashioned way. Made a placard and demonstrated at a Presidential or Vice-Presidential appearance, but we've lost the right to that as well. The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest.

Stop for a second and try to fathom that.

At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you are wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

This, in the United States of America. This in the United States of America. Is Melissa Hughes the only one embarrassed?

*Alan sits down abruptly in the witness chair next to the judge*

Judge Robert Sanders: Mr. Shore. That's a chair for witnesses only.

Alan: Really long speeches make me so tired sometimes.

Judge Sanders: Please get out of the chair.

Alan: Actually, I'm sick and tired.

Judge Sanders: Get out of the chair!

Alan: And what I'm most sick and tired of is how every time somebody disagrees with how the government is running things, he or she is labeled unAmerican.

U.S. Attorney Jonathan Shapiro: Evidently, it's speech time.

Alan: And speech in this country is free, you hack! Free for me, free for you. Free for Melissa Hughes to stand up to her government and say "Stick it"!
U.S. Attorney Jonathan Shapiro: Objection!

Alan: I object to government abusing its power to squash the constitutional freedoms of its citizenry. And, God forbid, anybody challenge it. They're smeared as being a heretic. Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American!

Judge Sanders: Mr. Shore. Unless you have anything new and fresh to say, please sit down. You've breached the decorum of my courtroom with all this hooting.

Alan: Last night, I went to bed with a book. Not as much fun as a 29 year old, but the book contained a speech by Adlai Stevenson. The year was 1952. He said, "The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live and fear breeds repression. Too often, sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-Communism."

Today, it's the cloak of anti-terrorism. Stevenson also remarked, "It's far easier to fight for principles than to live up to them."

I know we are all afraid, but the Bill of Rights - we have to live up to that. We simply must. That's all Melissa Hughes was trying to say. She was speaking for you. I would ask you now to go back to that room and speak for her. (end)

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what pisses me off so! That the citizens of this country have so easily given in to their fears, and allowed their principles and freedoms to be trampled on. We let the terrorist win, with out so much as a whimper. We've put on a great show of sending kids off to foreign lands to be killed in the name of freedom, but truth is, the war was lost when we allowed a few terrorists to cow us into abandoning our principles.

So tread lightly around me. You can never tell when I might "go postal!"

Okay GWB, so you and I have been drinking from the same well lately. I've been angry, pissed off, and couldn't point to any one thing as the culprit. I kept coming back to my Darfur post, comparing the public's awareness of what's happening now, to the 1930s-40s and the Holocaust. The news is there, in print and electronic. We know thousands of people are being murdered, yet we go on with our daily lives as if it's not happening. Which then switches me over to all the abuses in this country, and what we're doing overseas. Everyone knows about it, yet it's allowed to continue. I know some are protesting, myself included, but I just don't get why everyone isn't jumping up to yell "STOP! ENOUGH ALREADY!!" It's like that bumper sticker, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." So how do we fix the attention spans of all Americans?
My fear is that we won't until it is far too late!
I wonder how long before Boston Legal gets cancelled or blacklisted for its "anti-American" scripts. :) What a GREAT piece of writing!

I used to listen to a lot of Suicidal Tendencies when I was a kid. One of their lyrics was: "It ain't a problem of society, if, it don't affect me".

I agree with VancouverVoyer - it is an attention span issue, but it's also a disconnect issue. Sadly, Americans need first-hand problems before they decide stand up. We don't protest the war until one of our family members is killed. We don't care about the wire tapping until it's on our phone. Etc. I have no idea how to get Americans to see the "big picture" and the "global community" but I can't help but think of how strong we'd be if we could.
Absolutely brilliant. Looks like I need to start watching Boston Public. I could not have said it better than Shore.

My wife has that bumper sticker. How so very true it is. People are amazingly apathetic and cowed. I'm way more disappointed in the American public than I am in Republicans, Bush, etc. I expect those politicians to be useless ... I had higher expectations for everyone else.

Bravo, another ST listener. I listened to a lot of Suicidal in HS and college. "... All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me,
just one Pepsi."
And I thought it was just us.

You should ride with me to and from work to hear some brilliant profanity. Do you have any idea how many ways you can couple and combine obscenities?
Well no wonder you're in the 7th ring of hell ;)

I wonder, what can we do? Too many people have drunk the koolaid, not just of Bushies, but of the whole system in general. Too many people don't understand our political system, and don't see that they do have some power. I'm with VV - it's not just attention spans, it's cynicsm and apathy. We've been trained to be docile, to let the government solve our problems for us. Now we don't know what to do when the government becomes the problem.

I still think the key to this whole mess is getting corporations OUT of political campaign contributions and out of the political process. There's no way average people can compete in such a skewed system where our vote cannot match the millions of dollars spent for a favor, or the millions of dollars it takes to run for office.
Getting rid of the electoral college would be a good start. This horseshit where 2/3 of the country's voters are disenfranchised is bogus.
Yes Indeedy! David E. Kelley...The Writer. Creator of Boston Legal is such a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL Writer!!! I saw that show, too and LOVED it! Each week Kelley has some great dissenting things that he gets into this show, THANK GOD!!! Becausee, I'm afraid the climate of fear is so great that maybe the David E Kelley's and The George Clooney's voices will be stilled by the repressive REPRESSIVE nature of these terrible times!!!! I'm angry, too! Just a hair-trigger away from screaming a lot of the see our freedoms crumbling under the guise of Patriotism...HELP ME OH NURSE!!!

And, that, as Alan Shore said...No one seems to care, particularly young everyone on drugs??? Duhhhh... OY!

Good to visit you...I got here through the lovely Vancouver Voyeur...and happy to have met you and your beautiful anger!
After listening to James Spader's monologue, I'm ready to write him in for the '08 elections!
Great clip!
hmmm...some of you have this very " I'm smart and everyone else is dumb--except for the people who agree with ME" mentality that I find unsettling.
I think you can disagree with Bush and his politics and even want impeachment without being labeled unAmerican.
It's the level of unadulterated hatred that doesn't do anything for anyone.
You want to know what can be done?
Try really hard for two things:
Get your democrats to occupy some seats
Get a worthy candidate for '08>>>not Hilary.
Sadie said: "I think you can disagree with Bush and his politics and even want impeachment without being labeled unAmerican."

That hasn't been true for Richard Clarke, Max Cleland, Joseph Wilson, the Dixie Chicks, Cindy Sheehan... I'll think of more eventually - it's still only 8:30am here and I haven't finished my coffee. Anyone else care to add to the list.

Sadie, the Bushies MO is to denounce anyone who disagrees with them as unpatriotic, or a danger in a time of war. I agree that a rational person can tell that someone who disagrees with Bush isn't necessarily unpatriotic - but rationality isn't what won Bush's elections. Fear was.

I also agree that Hillar is a BAAAAD choice for president and that Dems have to grow some spine.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! There are some "Irish" (quotes because some are actually American bands I think) songs on my blog for the occasion.

That speech was brilliant. I should forward it to my dad. He would love it.
Outstanding rant.
Cracking post - [Looks impressed].
Yes, we are branded unAmerican if we don't agree with this administration. That was great writing. I hope this show can stay on the air.

And there were a lot of people who thought McCarthey was okay, too.

Happy St. Paddy's Day, Mark. :-)
I agree with you that Bush probably won the last election because everyone was to afraid to change captains in the middle of the shift. I know I was. Logically, it's never smart to throw the new guy to the wolves or make him clean up after someone. That was Bush's war and I feel like he needed to follow through.
That being said, I'm ready for a change.
Nice rant! Venting is very therapeutic.
Feel better now?
Let's just say that for the time being, I will be VV's neighbor in the 7th level.
If it's any consolation, I drive with my mouth too. ;)
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Oh, I did WAY more than just yell out the window at him. I cranked the tractor so he couldn't get past, jumped out of the cab, stood in front of his car and cussed him up one side and down the other. At one point, he started to get out of his car and come after me, but thought better of it. Which was lucky for him, because I was gonna throw my 300lb plus body against that door and crush him like the bug he was.

I am 53 years old, and have never, EVER done anything like that before. But then again, I don't remeber ever being so frustrated with everything around me before, either.
I woulda paid good money to see that GWB!!
I haven't got out of my vehicle, YET. However, I AM menopausal, so you never know. ;)
I miss the CB radio days, when I had a PA. SME and L confiscated my speaker on the last one. :(
I found some irony in this post, GWB.

One could make a great arguement that pop culture/the entertainment world, etc. has the institutional role of distracting the population from what's really going on in this world, or in your case, from what's really being done in the name of American citizens both internationally and domestically. I mean, more people know what's going on on American Idol than what's going on politically. Yet, a popular TV show contains a timely rant about the realities it's trying to distract the viewers from! It's quite brilliant, really.

Anyhow, I don't have any answers. But I'm glad you found out where your simmering anger is coming from, and I hope the road rages don't continue. Ya can't blog from jail (or can you...?).
good question!
Bravo GWB, Bravo! I too have been running around for months extremely pissed off, but knew why...exactly the same reason as you. Some of my friends tell me i should stop reading so much...hahahaha

I also saw the same BL program and found myself standing up and screaming at the telescreen "DAMN RIGHT!!!"

Like yourself, i am more frustrated that my fellow citizens either dont know what is going on or just dont care.. or some worse yet are afraid. one friend told me to shut up because the feddle gummint could be listening in thru my/our cell phone! I barked back; "isnt that enough reason in itself to be pissed off?" "that we have to be afraid of Big Bro??? what the F--k happened to our country?

thanks GWB!

btw: some of you may enjoy the writings of fred reed. check out:
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