So I'm sitting here with a sack over my head, trying to come to grips with reality. Facts just don't compute anymore. For example, it's a fact that on Sept. 7 the New York Yankees turned in the worst loss in their entire century of kicking baseball ass. It's a fact that the Yanks lost 22-0 to the Cleveland Indians -- but is it logical? Believable? Is it reasonable?
My friend Bernie says stuff happens, even if only once a century and -- sadly -- even to the Yankees.
"Look at it this way," Bernie chuckled, "the Yanks turned in a perfect loss. They gave up 22 runs on 22 hits and didn't commit a single error. Not one! And," he continued earnestly, "your guys got five hits. Five big ones --and if Matsui had pulled his head out of his backside even two seconds earlier, he mighta been the only one to make it to third...
"Go home, Bernie. Go home to Cleveland."
"Awww, come on out of there," Bernie wheedled. "You usually don't slap on the sack 'till the Jets suit up and stagger out on the field. Besides," Bernie said brightly, "I think this could be good news."
I raised the sack and peered hopefully at him. "Good news? Hoop scores on the diamond is good news?"
"Work with me here," Bernie said impatiently. "I'm talking about your other team -- the Democrats. I'm not saying it's true, but this could be good news for them. Think about it -- who was in town that week? The Republicans! Who's their biggest, fattest donor in the Big Apple? Steinbrenner! Remember, it was Steinbrenner who let Bush use the 2001 Series to whip the country into such a patriotic rage it broke the Yankees' concentration as well as their World Series winning streak.
"Think about it," Bernie said, "who's the least likely bunch of guys on a $180-million payroll to fall off their game -- all of them -- all in one night? You tell me...
"Sheesh!" Bernie said, "We probably had the largest, most in-your-face, anti-Bush statement of the campaign -- a Pinstripe Protest! -- and you didn't even notice. Heck, if Billy Martin was still at the Yankees' helm, the entire world woulda seen right through it by the third inning, and the cops woulda cuffed the whole damn bunch and tossed 'em into the tank."
Bernie's right! Or not. But when you think about it, the Yankees came to a fork in the road, and they took it -- a one-night wake-up call to Americans everywhere -- showing them that losing is what happens when you don't fight back. If the people continue to be intimidated by a team that cheats, has no game plan, no record and no agenda other than threats, war, terror and danger -- the people are going to lose. Big time.
The Orwellian line-up that took the field at Madison Square Garden were, for the most part, Republican "smiley faces" and won't be suiting up after the election. It's interesting to note how easily these moderates chose to launch a steady stream of dishonorable and malevolent attacks on Senator John Kerry rather than address the looming economic and domestic problems endangering this nation.
It's difficult to come to grips with reality. Who can believe that Elizabeth Dole, a caring, reasonable former American Red Cross director -- and John McCain, an honorable Vietnam war hero and former POW -- would allow themselves to become so morally twisted and desensitized in four short years that they would stand before the American people and justify Bush's feral assault on Iraq, which was nothing but a fiend howling for the blood of a prey he could get because the one he should be after got away?
In her brief, celebratory remarks before she bowed, scraped and backed away from the podium, Dole praised Bush's "courageous and decisive leadership." The mere thought of all the "honor and dignity" Bush has restored to the White House made her giddy, and Dole "saluted" Bush for displaying "the peace that surpasses all understanding" even as the dead continue to pile up around his strong-willed self.
Americans too lazy to check hard-right, mean-spirited lifetime voting records love John McCain. He's the guy who has something for everybody. It's inspiring to watch him straddle the political fence, lie to both sides of the fence out of both sides of his mouth, make each side believe it's hearing the truth -- and do it in such a self-deprecating, yet self-aggrandizing way.
"It's a big thing, this war," McCain announced dramatically to cheers and chants of four more years...four more years... "...And much is expected of us." Then, after assuring the enchanted crowd that only George Bush could lead us out of a wilderness that only George Bush led us into, McCain smiled benevolently and inanely echoed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's revelation that, "This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny..."
Republicans are either sitting there with sacks over their heads, too immersed in guilt to face the reality of over 1,000 dead US servicemen, or they agree with McCain that American citizens are "the wages of war" that we are willing to pay. Does anybody but the families of these brave souls even know they're dying, and at a clip of more than two a day? Does anybody care that there are 34 "other" US troops reported dead, but not named, and therefore not counted -- that more than 5,800 soldiers and marines have been sent home to face their own "rendezvous with destiny" because of disease, and that even with the Pentagon's haphazard cover-up attempts, more than 7,000 have been wounded -- maimed for life?
Perhaps Republicans like Dole and McCain reel off the party line because they're grateful to be invited under the Big Tent with the high rollers and holy rollers and screeching war vultures who are the real backbone of the Republican Party. The predatory main string is crouching in the locker room in exultant anticipation of continuing their assault at home on our US Constitution and Bill of Rights. They are ramping up their bloody campaign abroad to control the world's resources and to force upon that same world the deadly "Feith-based" New World Order by killing anyone we don't like, anyone who doesn't like us, or anyone who might someday have the intention of not liking us...
September the Eleventh. That's the way Bush says it. Not 9-11 or September 11. He rolls September the Eleventh around in his mouth, savoring it, stretching it out before reluctantly releasing it, only to search for an excuse to fill his mouth and his imagination with it again and again. September the Eleventh is the source of all his wet dreams, his obsessions, his visions, his grand schemes -- his plan for changing the world. Small wonder, then, that he made a conscious and malicious decision to return to the September the Eleventh crime scene to demand four more years -- not as President of the United States for he does not wear that mantle well, but as its Commander in Chief.
When the flags burst open and George Bush strutted to the symbolic mound to pitch his "vision for a safer world and a more hopeful America," the crowd, like a collective parent whose vulgar little bully finally copped the lead in a third-grade school play, furiously waved their flags -- squirmed in ecstasy -- lip-synced along with him...
"In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat," he lied yet again, "...and I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office, a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make. Do I forget the lessons of September the Eleventh and take the word of a madman (No! No! Boo! No Way!), or do I take action to defend our country? (YES! Kill! Kill!) Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time." (Praise God! Praise George W. Bush! Four more years! Four more years!
Nobody "works a crowd" better than Bush. Make the "lie" pie higher and higher then, after you throw in a few patriotic slogans, tell 'em there's power in the blood and they'll follow you anywhere. When the fiends cry, "Kill!" it mesmerizes the faithful, and psychologically destroys the enemy's reputation, his will to fight -- his very existence. Bush is emboldened by the fact that the media will accept, even promote, his lies while parsing and twisting every word uttered by his opponent.
Fiends have a tendency to play fiendish games. Midway through his speech, in an arrogant stroke of sheer cruelty, Bush made up a story for political purposes and campaign points about a letter "one Army specialist wrote home."
"We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place," Bush maintained the unidentified soldier wrote, "The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq...are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."
Even if I had not heard these words verbatim in countless Bush stump speeches, I spent an entire career communicating with Army specialists, and I cannot imagine a single one of them -- drunk or sober -- who would write such garbage -- especially to folks at "home." When a lying fiend tosses you onto a bloody battlefield with little concern about whether you're properly trained or equipped, and you're over there pounding sand, sucking in depleted uranium and getting shot at and shit on 24/7, you don't write your mother and announce primly, "We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."
Haw. Ain't gonna happen.
The man who would use a United States soldier -- even a fictitious one -- to channel his own warped views about good versus evil -- to pat himself on the back for having the "will" to continue the slaughter -- is beyond dishonorable. Bush is the commander-in-chief and, as such, owes American service members and their families an apology. As I write this, seven Marines were blown to bits in Iraq, many more wounded. The fiends responsible for this barbarity are not worthy of a single American vote.
George Bush has declared the upcoming election a war for Republicans to control the hearts and minds of the American people. John Kerry, unlike Bush, has been to war, and knows Democrats cannot afford to lose this one. He knows the stakes are much higher than seizing control of American hearts and minds. It is about freeing and protecting American bodies and souls.
Americans have come to a fork in the road and, like Yankees' philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said -- we need to take it.
I agree. It's time we threw the fiends out.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma based freelance writer and a former US Army Public Information Officer. She is a proud member of the Order of Saint Barbara -- the Field Artillery's Patron Saint. She will accept praise and atta-boys at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints and death threats should be directed to her cousin, Junior Samples, at BR-549.
Other Articles by Sheila Samples
Dogs in the Night