Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Comfort of the Cage

As I have written to numerous Congessmen, Senators, newspaper editors, pundits, bulletin boards, blogs, and whomever else I can target with my unsolicited suggestsions: America can -- and must -- do three practical things immediately. (1) Cut off all funding for the occupation of Iraq. (2) Revoke any and all legal "authorizations" for the occupation of Iraq. (3) Punish the Vice President and President perpetrators of the occupatoin of Iraq.

I call these suggestions "practical" because we Americans did precisely these three things to bring the War on Vietnam quagmire to closure in the mid-nineteen seventies. So I know what to do. I've seen it done before. No reason on earth exists to keep us from doing the same necessary things now. But as I see the not-even-sworn-in-yet Democratic Congress pre-emptively surrending any and all inclination to do any one of these three things, let alone all of them simultaneously, I cannot help but think of those lines Eowyn spoke to Aragorn when he asked her what she feared most in life. Said she, defiantly:

"A cage. To live behind bars until use and old age have accepted them and all chance for valor or renown has passed beyond recall or desire."

It seems to me that our newly-elected Congessional representatives have lived in a presidential military-industrial cage so long that even with the door of it now open for escape, they willingly choose the comfort of their captivity rather than the valor or renown that a past generation of their kind won for themselves by leaving it and striking down the tyranny of an imperial president . I once thought Gore Vidal had gone too far when he called Americans "among the most easily frightened people on earth." Now, however, I have to agree that -- at least as represented by the Congress of the United States -- such a summary dismissal of self-satisfied subservience hardly seems more than a commonplace observation of the awful truth.

Like Frodo Baggins, we know what we have to do. We just fear to do it. Until we do the necessary things, though, I think we should turn our frustration with the fraudulent into some form of creative resistance through rowdy rhetoric and rhyme. George Owell said we could change the political zietgeist by starting at the verbal end, like Confucius said, too: by "rectifying the names."

So let us all cease calling mercenaries "contractors" and innocent bystanders "collateral damage" and civil war "democratization." And let us above all not confuse the captivity of the cage with all the comforts of home.


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