"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Saddam the Poet, McKinney the Biatch

American political theater has been more farce than drama lately, and the story of Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Wonkaland) is a good example. It seems she tried to breeze by Capitol Hill police without any kind of identification, and when an officer stopped her to make sure she wasn't a crazy lady, she freaked out and smacked him. Now, congressional types aren't required to walk through metal detectors or show picture IDs, but they must wear a lapel pin that proves they actually work there. Seems Ms. McKinney decided not to wear hers. That, combined with a new hairdo tha - let's be honest - makes her look like a crazy lady, gave the officer cause to ask her to identify herself. Apparently this request was the result of bigotry, racial profiling, homophobia, not enough fiber in the officer's diet, and an infinite number of other factors that combined to oppress and discriminate against the good congresswoman from Georgia. I'm sorry, Ms. McKinney-to-whom-I-will-not-attach-the-epithet-honorable-because-I-don't-want-to-disparage-a-good-word, but get your one-woman-freak-show ass off your high horse and realize that just cuz you get a fancy office in Washington doesn't mean the rules don't apply to you. Capitol Hill police are your line of defense against even crazier people who'd like nothing better than to waltz through security and blow you and your compatriots to red mist. I recall that a few years ago, a couple of these cops were killed keeping just such a maniac out of the halls of power. The least you could do in return is wear a damn pin that shows you belong there and not blow a gasket when your guardians do their job. You aren't nearly important or famous enough that people should know you by sight, so park your ego at the curb and perhaps get someone from Capitol Hill maintenance to re-stencil the "servant" part of "public servant" on your door since someone obviously erased it. Arrogant bitches like you are part of the reason why Americans think politicians are out of touch with reality.

And speaking of arrogant: Saddam Hussein has managed to turn what should've been a demonstration of democratic justice into the OJ trial. I can understand that Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman might be a little afraid of dropping the hammer on Saddam and making him behave in court, since many of Saddam's friends are still on the loose and have easy access to lots of guns. But the good judge isn't doing his country any favors by giving Saddam the very public opportunity to act like he's still in charge. Few countries would permit a defendant to rail at length against the illegitimacy of the court or jump up and down and spout poetry; democratic Iraq, at its inception, can't afford to be the exception. Iraqis who've been terrorized by this man for decades need to see that he's no longer calling the shots; a first step would be making him sit down and shut up in court. If he can't take the hint, then he should be bound and gagged until he learns to behave. Such an image would be a powerful symbol to the rest of the country.

Moving on to a simpler subject: how about them immigrant folks? I bet Bush is getting tired of having every issue his predecessors put on the back-burner suddenly ignite in his face. Last week saw a number of large rallies take place in many cities across the country, the gist of them being: any politician that tries to tighten up immigration policy will lose his job in November. And this wasn't just Cindy Sheehan and a few dozen lefty-toons waving signs; this was hundreds of thousands of people proving that there's enough popular will against firmer immigration standards to make the upcoming election season a nightmare. But these people seem confused about where firmer standards stop and erecting a wall begins. No one in Washington is calling to stop immigration altogether; it's the influx of illegals and the lack of quality control that's the problem. America has a great tradition of welcoming those seeking opportunity to her shores, but she has no obligation to let swarms of people cross her borders without any kind of legal vetting process. In a post-9/11 world, Americans have the right to know who's trying to get in here, and those in power have an obligation to protect those same Americans who voted them into office. If someone's trying to cross the border to get a little money for their family and do dirty work that most Americans, to be honest, would rather not do, all well and good; but we have a right to know who you are and why you're here. Those seeking honest work have nothing to fear from a stricter immigration process.

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