It's after midnight. October 31 has become November 1. Halloween is over.
Yet I have the scariest story that one could ever tell...
Not really. I was channeling my pal Gabriel there, from the previous entry. Actually, I don't scare easily. Not much frightens me-spiders, the thought of having to go to work again as a retail manager, clowns.
Wait, wait, I'm sweating all of the sudden, filled with a sense of doom! The air has suddenly chilled, and I can see my breath! What's that on the other side of the room? I can't quite make it out, it's getting closer...FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING SCARIER IN MY LIFE (WELL, EXCEPT FOR THAT TIME IN HONDURAS, WHEN WE WENT TO THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE TRAIL ON THE MOUTAIN, AND THOSE PEOPLE MADE US DANCE IN NATIVE GARB...UM, WHERE WAS I AGAIN?)
I SEE PRESIDENT JOHN KERRY!
That was a little impromptu GOP campaign ad. How was it? That, friends, is the basis of this entire campaign, the one and only reason that the Republicans think we should re-elect President Bush:
If John Kerry is elected, we're all gonna die.
Did you hear me? I said he's going to get us all killed!
This is the factor in this election that makes me ill, and if it works, if the President is re-elected, this nation will be nothing more than a three hundred million sized herd of sheep.
Good night, and don't forget your mutton.
I can understand why terrorism is the number one issue in this campaign. I cannot understand why it is the only issue in this campaign. Personally, I worry about a lot of other things in my life than the possibility that I will succumb to a terrorist threat. Maybe I am naive. Or maybe you are. I just think that the focus of what is necessary for this country is askew.
I have said before that I admire the job Bush did in the aftermath of 9/11. He was calm, serene, and presidential. He knew his priorities. I've never doubted that this man was incredibly saddened by what happened our country that day. I remember seeing him in the White House the next day and a reporter asked him how he felt about things 24 hours after the fact. He began his answer by saying "Hey, I'm a loving guy..." and then stumbled a bit before he said that he could not imagine how the families of the victims felt, how awful it was, and then he broke down a little. It was genuine, a man showing sincere emotion.
It's shameful that three years later he uses 9/11 as a way to drill fear into the American psyche. He's not the only one, of course. Rudolph Giuliani does a great job at it, and of course Dick Cheney had his memorable "if we make the wrong choice we will get hit again" speech.
When I first heard campaign rhetoric from the Republicans that took this tone of fear, I thought back to what we did after 9/11. How our forces went into Afghanistan and destroyed their government. How we were told that the terrorists behind the attacks were being killed and how the government that harbored them would not exist anymore, and would be replaced by a democracy.
I supported it. I'm happy with the way Afghanistan has turned out. Except for one little fact:
Where the hell is Osama bin Laden?
Fortunately, that question was sort of answered this past Friday. After an almost three year break, OBL showed up on a video broadcast in the late afternoon. Not much has changed; he still hates America and wants us all destroyed.
I'll get back to him a little bit later.
In the late spring the Bush campaign aired its first campaign ad. It was a montage of images from 9/11 with a voiceover of how strong the president had been in his leadership. Then we were all treated to the Republican National Convention in New York City in early September. As the incumbent party in the White House, the Republicans were to have their convention after the Democrats had theirs. Normally, the span in between the two is two weeks.
Not this year. This year it was four. Because, really, what's the point of having the RNC in NYC if it can't be in September? If we play word association and I give you the words "New York" and "September" what comes to your mind? The Mets battling for the playoffs? Hardly.
Did you know that the GOP never had a convention in New York before? It didn't make any sense to, since New York is one of the more democratic states in the nation. But thisyear, as part of the healing, as part of the way to say that New York is back baby!, the GOP just had to have their convention there.
In four nights, they mentioned 9/11 911 times. By the time the last night came I expected the President's nomination acceptance speech to be the shortest and quietest in history. I thought he would come out on stage with a big "9" in one hand and a large "11" in the other, scream "BOO!" and walk off stage.
And then lead the delegates down the street to Ground Zero so that they could actually tap dance on the memory of 3,000 murdered souls.
Just about every Bush ad I've seen since then has said this:
John Kerry will ask the terrorists to come over for dinner so that he can negotiate a peace with them. John Kerry will let them have the state of West Virginia. John Kerry will knit wool sweaters for members of Al-Qaeda who find themselves outside on those frigid Tora Bora winter nights. John Kerry will get hooked on Afghani opium and force the people of that nation to put Heinz ketchup on their falafel. John Kerry will get us all killed, because he's not from Texas.
If John Kerry were President on 9/11, he would have kicked as much ass as President Bush did. So would have Al Gore, or John McCain. Or me. Or you.
At some point, all of us have tried to intimidate someone through fear. I can think of about 75 million instances when I was a kid that somebody tried it with me, mostly in the education system. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. When it didn't it was because even I, six year old Waldo, could see through the BS.
That's all this is, spoon fed BS from a group of political morons who think we lay awake each and every night just wondering when the ricin is going to seep through the heating vents.
Is something going to happen again? Probably. Will it be as bad as 9/11 was? No one knows. Does it scare me? Absolutely. But I do not crave to run into the President's arms for a hug. Seeing bin Laden again reminds me that President Bush promised America that we would get him "dead or alive." We tried for a bit. Then we went to Iraq. I don't know if it is that big of a deal that bin Laden is captured. Of course he deserves to be brought to justice, but his capture won't do much to damage the terrorism movement. Bill Maher had a great line about this: "Capturing Osama bin Laden will hurt terrorism about as much as Ray Kroc dying hurt McDonald's ability to sell hamburgers."
Some would argue that this administration has done as much to create new terrorists as anyone else or thing could. I don't know about that. I think we could be spending more time blowing up mountains in Afghanistan instead of getting soldiers killed in Iraq.
The thing that I always think of when I remember 9/11 is this: 19 people were willing to die to succeed in their "mission." How do you fight an enemy that is willing to sacrifice themselves? You have to be lucky all the time, while they have to be lucky just once.
Any rational man or woman who loves America sees the need to protect us as best they can from this different and more dangerous type of evil. And both Bush and Kerry love this country. It's a matter of being prepared. In the meantime, you have to be realistic.
You can spend your entire life worrying about things that will never happen.
Here's what will happen within the next four years: people will need jobs; they will need medical insurance; they will grow older and wonder if Social Security is going to still be there when they retire; they will pay off budget deficits; they will buy gasoline for their cars. Get the drift?
Yet these issues, and others that affect America every day, are not what the current administration wants you to think about when you go to vote.
All they want is for you to remember that you are not dead.
But you could be...if you...vote...for...
(INSERT TRUMPETS OF DOOM HERE)