Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Still Happy to Be American: a Kurt Vonnegut Tribute

"Veritas Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?"
&mdash Kurt Vonnegut

Fred Vaughan headshot by Fred Vaughan

I was born here, as were all of the previous five generations in my family. I believe that every one of my progenitors considered themselves most fortunate to be American. I do. Of course one must assume that they were indeed proud to be Americans as well, just as I had been until Election 2000. The illusion of democratic difference died then, and the corpse is beginning to stink. Like Kurt Vonnegut I have become quite a disillusioned old curmudgeon.

There is still much to be happy for. Our standard of living is still high - not the highest in the world anymore, but still high. We still have constitutional rights - although nowhere near as many as we had a very few years ago. We still have freedom of speech - more or less - as this will hopefully demonstrate, but nowhere near as much as we once had, and our "freedom of the press" has become freedom of the administration and its corporate backers to propagandize the populace.

But I am ashamed of the rape of democracy by organized voter fraud, manipulated propaganda, and the projection of lies such as, "Why vote, they're all equally bad!" Anyone who believes that has not really thought about it. Would Al Gore have lied to get us into a stupid and unconscionable war with 'collateral damage' running to a million lives? Would John Kerry? Would either of those candidates who by almost any valid accounting actually won the last two elections have condoned torture or systematic destruction of the constitution? Would they have unconscionably provided tax cuts to the top 1% which depleted the treasury at a time when hundreds of billions were being appropriated for a war initiated because of administration lies just to give the excuse of our not having enough resources to care for our sick, our poor, our aged? Would they have ignored the victims of Katrina? Would they have ignored global warming? Would they have sold our freedom of the press to our largest corporations for campaign donations who then goad us into the wars that maintain their "World Trade"?

Today we still mourn the deaths of those students and faculty massacred at Virginia Tech. Our president says we will get over it — without gun control legislation just as we do the other 30,000 fatalities from gun violence in the United States each year! Just as he thinks we will get over Katrina — even without there having been a conscionable FEMA response. In the last week 30 Americans died in Iraq, and I suppose we will get over them too just as we have gotten over the 3,000 before them. We will get over the 200 innocent lives lost to collateral damage by bombs in Baghdad today just as we have gotten over the million before them — collateral damage to Bush's "just cause".

Here is a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut who had the courage to say it how it is:

Cat's cradle figure
His book is "Cat's cradle", not "Ice Nine"!
Ice Nine sigh
The Way the World Ends!

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