This morning before she checked the internet, I said to Tessa, “Okay, so there’s been lots of positive press surrounding Kerry’s pick of Edwards. So what do you think the Bush administration pulls today?”
“Um, Coach K back to the Lakers?”
“No – but that’s a good one.”
“I dunno,” she said, “maybe a horrible new Al-Qaeda threat?”
And by God, she was right. I know it’s been oft-said, but the Bush administration is so nakedly cynical, so irretrievably mean, so transparently OBVIOUS, that today’s news should be taken to mean “We, Your Government, Think You Are a Nation of Utter Morons.”
So we go with another round of vague threats of terrible shit on the horizon, and yet no specifics, not even a shred of new information. Oh sure, they’ll file the Democrats into a meeting with the CIA and disclose something that might happen – I mean, they had to do SOMETHING other than trot out Tom Ridge – but this is both ridiculous and shameful.
You know why? Because my stomach still hurts when I see Bin Laden on the front page of CNN. I still have to ward off waves of apocalyptic nuclear fear every time this kind of crap filters onto the airwaves. So Al-Qaeda remains intent on pulling off a large-scale attack against America? No fucking DUH, you assholes – I was there. I saw the second tower come down in front of my eyes, half a mile away, and I helped ash-covered mothers find their children. My wife and sister spent the next two days helping out at Ground Zero.
It took me a year of therapy and two years of Celexa to be able to function normally again, and every time the Republican bastards blurt out their dire predictions, it takes me hours to wipe the taste out of my mouth, to rid myself of that godawful smell of burning metal. The Bush administration does it for political gain and to cover their asses, but they don’t give a shit that it actually hurts many of us.
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The problem is obvious: the American public will learn the wrong things from the next big terrorist attack. They will re-elect Bush in a landslide, even though it is people like him that have worked the Muslim world into a furious froth. Al Qaeda wants to kill Americans regardless of their party affiliation, I’ll grant you that, but you can’t tell me there won’t be some hell to pay – for either me or the next generation – for what we’ve done to the Arab world.
And while he’s scaring the shit out of Americans, Bush has the unfathomable temerity to cut funding for local teams whose sole job it is to protect American cities. Not only that, but he has let New York City dangle, while frickin’ Wyoming got more terrorist-prevention dollars per capita. I have been to Wyoming many times, my friends, and there is NOTHING worth bombing in Cheyenne (except the crappy Holiday Inn that smells like pee).
Do any of you in the “red states” wonder why the three places that have been the victims – or almost the victims – of a terror attack vote overwhelmingly Democratic? California, New York and D.C. know the fear. I am on the B and Q train every day, and go over the Manhattan Bridge with alarming frequency. My friends (and sister-in-law) work right in the middle of Times Square and Wall Street. When they say a terrorist attack is coming, we feel it on the bridges and in the tunnels, we sense it in the crowds and in the skyscrapers.
My friends in the Red States, you have to come to grips with this; you just don’t understand what it’s like. Terrorism is an idea to you. And don’t give me that shit about “you think New York is the center of the world,” because it fucking is. There is no place better to get more bang for your buck; we’re all here, crowded together and stacked on top of each other. Those of you in Charleston, Mobile, Amarillo, Nashville and Des Moines can put away your duct tape.
No, the places most affected by terror vote Democratic because they know where the blowback is coming. They want to elect leaders who take the rest of the world into consideration. They want a president and vice-president who have something more than a ham-fisted policy about Us and Them. They want nuance and intelligence. Because they believe their lives ultimately depend on it.
So do me a favor, Red States: when the government gives us another sky-is-falling news flash, please don’t listen. And if there is another terrorist attack, please don’t vote.