Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bending your ear

I sent the following out to some friends and acquaintances. I got a good response and thought it is as good a place as any to start...

Being a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, I know “you gotta believe”—that it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and all that…

But, Christ—I cannot believe (a) this presidential campaign is as close as it is and (b) it is becoming increasingly about the Governor of Alaska.

I am ashamed and embarrassed. But more… okay, I’ll admit it—I’m a little scared.

I was eleven when John Kennedy was elected. Fourteen when he was assassinated. I was in New York City when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I watched Vietnam on television every night. And yet, I believed we could change the world. With liberal doses of pot, piss and vinegar, I bought the dream. Woodstock Nation was borne out of Kent State, the draft and that damned war.

It is like déjà vu all over again. Vietnam, the sequel, starring John McCain. The man said his war experiences were off limits and then he builds his campaign around them. Fred Thompson—who lost his cred when he dated Lorrie Morgan, the 80’s skanky country singer (every boy’s dirty little secret) and when he tried to convince us he was the DA in New York—gave a speech at the RNC about McCain that began and ended with his stay at the Hanoi Hilton. Enough already. Is he going to make Lieutenant Wm Calley his Secretary of War Atrocities? Warden of Gitmo? What does it mean when a presidential candidate says he is going to win the war in Iraq by winning? I won’t play the old age card if you folks stop playing the race card. McCain is forgetful and has a nasty temper. And guess what? His opponent is… black!


It’s like the lyrics from Beatle John’s “Give Peace a Chance.” Christ, you know it ain’t easy.

And then, there’s Sarah.

The woman is being kept from the media. She just recycles her RNC acceptance speech, like—to paraphrase her words—some rabid pitbull with lipstick. Come on! She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against the bridge to nowhere. She fired people serving Alaska for disagreeing with her. She claimed per diem compensation for staying in her own home. She goes to church and speaks in tongues, asking for god to grant the pipeline’s success (no shit). She shoots fucking wild animals from a helicopter. And she has given the old man a bump in the polls. I would laugh if I read it in a novel. But this stuff is real.

Let me quote one of my heroes—

Praise be to Nero's Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody's shouting
"Which Side Are You On?"
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

New Orleans wallows in fetid water. People are literally committing suicide rather than facing foreclosure and/or bankruptcy. Right wing radio nuts are calling the government’s bail-out of Fannie and Freddie the biggest theft in history and demanding to know who is benefiting and guess what? China wins! Gas is four bucks a gallon and you just accept it all, fillin’ your Hummer to the top and gunning it on the highway of broken dreams...

Can we, as a nation, go any further off-course?

Obama may not be the answer. But he’ll do until the answer comes along. He is bright. He is articulate and if you take a minute to actually listen to what he says, he will give you hope.


Funny word. Foreign to us at this juncture and a bit of an anachronism. But, you know what? Without it, we might as well go outside and get drenched in the dismal rain of disillusionment and despair. We are lost without it.

John McCain does not give me hope. Does he give it to you? Are you hopeful when you hear him speak? Do you feel hopeful when he threatens Russia and wages war on our perceived enemies? Does he even know who our most formidable enemy is?


George W. Bush gave us fear on a platter. He passed the leftovers on to this tired little man… with a side of hubris. Hold the humility.

Do any of these jokers understand what serving the country means?

I will freely admit. I dodged the draft. I was chosen number one in the lottery in 1969 and got out of it. Ron Kovic told me I did the right thing. I think I did. I will not demean John McCain’s ordeal, but his stay in the Hanoi Hilton a president does not make. Is he a hero or a survivor? Can he be compared to Barack Obama… and why should he? Apples and Oranges.

I apologize for bending your ear. I send this to you because I don’t blog and you are my friend. I think you share my concerns. If not, let me know. Tell me not to bother you with this tripe anymore. I feel like I am a twenty year-old, trapped in a fifty-nine year-old body. I worry like I did in 1969. It felt like we won then…

There’s nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Dont get fooled again
No, no!

And, oh, by the way— the Red Sox lost tonight. We’re a game and a half behind Tampa.
You gotta believe.

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