22 June 2005
(SOUND OF ME SLAMMING MY HEAD ON THE TABLE REPEATEDLY)
It's been one of those days. One of those days where I begin by questioning my judgement, and then, once I am reassured that I am indeed a sane and rational individual, see oh, a billion examples of how the world is full of morons.
This is going to be a rant. Leave now if there are small children to be considered.
(But first, the radio just started playing "She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cult, so I must take a few minutes and dance around my house...)
Hmm, I'm not 20 anymore, am I? But I digress.
So it was a beautiful day weather-wise here in suburban Chicago, and against my better judgement I went to play golf. You'd think that I could find many other ways to spend a great day. I used to be a halfway decent player, but this year my game has completely abandoned me. I covered more ground today than a gull at a landfill. But I did start playing well over the last five holes or so, and I always enjoy the company out on the course, so it wasn't really all that bad.
By the time I got in the car to drive home from the course, I felt like I had not wasted the day. Plus it was only 2 PM, so there was time to do other things. And then it happened, the idiots starting coming out. As they normally do, they first appeared on the road. Not once, but twice on my drive home I was the first car in line at an intersection stopped by a red light, and each time, as soon as the light changed to green, the driver behind me honked. I'm a fairly attentive driver. I wasn't on the phone or even listening to the radio. I can say that my attention was fully dedicated to the traffic situation.
I didn't even get my foot off the brake before both these drivers gave me their auditoria blessing. The first time, I just glared in my rear view mirror. However, the second time, I decided to have some fun. I didn't move. I just kept looking in my mirror back at the honker, who of course, honked again, and a third time for good measure, before swerving around me. In both cases, I noticed there appeared to be no one else in the car, and given that neither car sped off in a hurry, I assumed that there was not an expectant mother sprawled out in the back seat in the mid stages of labor.
In fact, the second driver was so not-in-a-hurry after passing me that I found myself in front ofhim again about five minutes later, at another stop light. I thought about what I could do to further enrage this guy. Ideally, it would have been my wish to somehow block both lanes of traffic, whip out my cell phone and order a pizza, not allowing anyone to pass until I was done with it. But then I thought I might have to share, at least with the cop that would be arriving soon to ticket me.
So I did nothing but continue on my way home. As soon as I got settled I fired up the computer to see what had gone on in the world since I headed out to greener pastures.
God, I love this country!
I do actually, I think it's great to be an American and enjoy the benefits of this place. Even though I've been to other places, I can't imagine living anywhere else but here, in the good ol' US of A. One of the things I love most about this place is the fact that if I want to, I can come here and write about anything I want, whether or not people agree with me. It's called freedom of speech, and it goes further than that; it covers freedom of expression as well.
Ah, but our esteemed elected officials in the House of Representatives today decided that there are certain things that cannot be done in the name of free speech, such as BURNING AN AMERICAN FLAG!!!
Yep, this is a great day to be an American, folks, as we are well on our way to protecting Old Glory. I need to stop going on about this before I get a visit from some very special people.
This makes me bang my head on the table because I can think of about seventeen million more important issues that Congress should be dealing with BEFORE this one. What do you suppose bothers the average citizen more, that someone burns a flag or that FORTY MILLION PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN HERE CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE? Or how about the fact that the DEATH TOLL OF AMERICAN FORCES IN IRAQ IS OVER 1700 AND THERE STILL DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE AN EXIT STRATEGY?
I'm sorry, I appear to be yelling now. I'll try to calm down.
HOW ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT STILL APPEARS TO BE PHENOMENALLY EASY TO ENTER THIS COUNTRY TO COMMIT ACTS OF GOD KNOWS WHAT???
This is not a right vs. left thing. Plenty of politicos on both sides of the fence voted for this measure today. And yes, I still realize that it has a long way to go before it would become an AMENDMENT TO THE US CONSTITUTION, FOR FREAKS SAKE, but just the fact that it is being addressed, when there is so much more that needs to be dealt with, makes my arteries explode. Seriously, I think I need to stop this now and call for an ambulance.
I'd like to call to attention the words of one of the esteemed members of the House, a Mr. Randy Cunningham, a Republican who represents a district in California, for his words today in telling us why we must ban flag burning:
"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the [World] Trade Center. Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."
Imagine that it is 9/11/01 and you, unfortunately, are at the top of the World Trade Center. In the short time that you have before you meet a simply awful and tragic demise, would you be thinking about, oh, say your family? Maybe your friends? I imagine myself in that situation and while it is just about impossible to comprehend, I do think I can say with all my convictions that one of the last things I'd be thinking is "I hope to God four years or so after I die that this country gets its act together and bans flag burning!"
I think the first thought I'd have that did not involve my family might just be "I hope all politicians have the grace and honor to not reference myself and the other victims for their political gain."
I wonder how Mr. Cunningham is able to sleep tonight. Of course, I wonder if this conversation took place at the dinner table of his home tonight:
Mr. C (talking to his wife): ...And then I said that the people who died on 9/11 would want a flag burning amendment!
Mrs. C (sending dishes to the floor with one swoop of her arm): Take me now on this dining table, my Congressional Patriotic stud!!!
You know what? I don't really want to live in a country that confuses its priorities like this. I want to live in a country that accepts the differences that make it a great place to live. I want to live in a place where we are concerned about the things that we can control to make this a great place for everyone. Am I missing something lately? Is there such an epidemic of flag burning in this country that we are all at risk from it?
Someone explain this to me, please. What the hell is happening here?
And what would have happened to me today if in response to the very premature honking reminder that "green means go" I would have gotten out of my car and lit a flag on fire?