Friday, November 05, 2004

I'm saved!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Yeah, yeah, so you all know by now that Kerry conceeded the election to Bush. I suppose I should wait until I can give a reason analysis instead of a knee-jerk response, but too bad.


Well, somebody sent me an E-mail a while ago asking me why on Earth anybody would vote for this guy. Well, reason one is that people who vote for Bush tend to be grossly misinformed on his stances; a majority answer "yes" when asked (individually) if he supports the comprehensive nuclear testing, land mine, and Kyoto treaties, as well as believing that the majority of the world is in favor of the Iraq war. Unfortunately, I could not tell my dear reader this, because in a moment of true blue American ness I sent my response, not to him, but somebody whose name sounded vaguely French. C'est la vie.

(And, vaguely-French-sounding guy, I know you're from Canada. I'm just jealous of your healthcare. And because we have a President who says our healthcare system is the "envy of the world," and because I assume your PM, whatever his name is, isn't completely blind to what's going on around him. In other words: at least your guy reads newspapers...)

But the main reason that people are voting for Bush, I imagine, in my completely biased, lib'rul opinion, is that people really do believe in the "Bush doctrine," the idea that America should rule the world. Fuck what Britain thinks! Fuck what France thinks! Fuck what Germany thinks! Let's ignore our most trusted allies, the ones we could always count on in times of trouble (well, not Germany, but we've buried that hatchet), and go from the most respected country in the world to the most consistently peed on. But what I think people hear most when Bush talks, besides "bla bla bla healthcare bla bla taxes," is "get the terrorists before they get us."

Lest you think that is ridiculous (and I tend to find it hard to believe that any terrorist would dare attack the world's most affluent nation)... remember that it happened, one day in September of 2001. The problem is, the world didn't change that day; it didn't change at all. Bill Clinton had been... okay, I was going to unload my rant on how Bill Clinton's staff told George Bush's staff that terrorism is America's primary concern, and bin Laden our greatest enemy, and George Bush's staff promptly sat on their report and do nothing... but instead, I'm going to focus more broadly.

We're angry. We've been attacked. And it doesn't matter who we hit back. I'm sure Osama bin Laden knew we would fight with every ounce of our vigor and strength, but I doubt even he predicted we would unload it on Iraq instead of him. We have to fight the terrorists, wherever they are, even if they're not the terrorists that attack us. Terrorists don't listen to reason, they only listen to violence. We must give them more violence than they can handle.

This is, of course, not realizing that terrorists feed on violence and hatred, spawn where there is chaos, and jump on any military disaster of Iraq preportions like ants to a T-bone steak (and before you say "hey! we got them all in one place!" I'd like to remind you that we don't, like, have a giant cage to drop on them), and because of our blind disregard for patience or for military strategy, we've said "Bomb's away" and completely destroyed a nation that never attacked us. We have two nations in tatters and we never even caught the guy we were originally looking for. A disgrace.

(Yes, Saddam Hussein is in jail. Yes, Saddam Hussein was a miserable son of a bitch, as Molly Ivins once put it. But Saddam posed no threat to us; and we should not have tried to get rid of him without having a way out first.)

Returning to my original point (...where was I?), there is a real belief in America that it is our birthright to rule the world, whether Old Europe likes it or not. It never dawns on people that America has the largest stockpile of WMDs in the world, or that it has killed more people in cold blood than any of these terrorists (and believe me, that's a high bar to pass). 49% of Americans believe that God has granted the US special protection throughout history, and it shows in our grand displays of patriotism that proudly proclaim us as the greatest country in the universe.

Moreover, our healthcare system is a mess, our social mobility is vanished, the rich and the poor are miles apart and we're losing jobs by the truckload... and none of it matters, because there's a war on against the people who would hurt us.

Something did happen on 9.11, and it's that, as Richard Clarke put it, our government failed us (except he said "you," in a rare and wonderful moment of political humility). Our security system failed us. Our military failed us and our leadership failed us. The proper steps to take for a leader of stature would be to create a commission to find out what went wrong, and take steps to make sure it never happens again; exactly the opposite of what Stonewall Bush was doing, fighting the 9.11 commission's creation and then fighting the commission itself every step of the way until finally he agreed to be interviewed for one hour, with Dick Cheney at his side, with no oath, and no transcript. Instead, it was preparing for war; with the wrong damn country, as within days the administration was telling its staff to try and connect this to Iraq. No wonder; Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld had been planning an invasion of Iraq since Bush I. Wolfowitz, in fact, had created the "Wolfowitz Doctrine" among his neo-conservative friends that the United States should attempt peace through uniformity in the Middle East through a country-by-country takeover. Of course, they wouldn't be able to do this, they knew, without a commander-in-chief either voraciously conservative or dumber than a sack of hammers. I'll leave it up to you to decide which one they got in the form of Bush II.

And that's what terrifies me the most about this election, that is basically put a public rubber-stamp on the idea that the United States ought to rule the world. Not from a secret underground lair, but from the highest towers and the biggest flags and the most pompous diplomats, telling Old Europe to screw off, that whatever happens, happens and that the U.S. has an infinite supply of bright young men to die for the cause. It's the America that Mark Twain feared; one that saw itself in the center of the world.

And I'm not sure that's the America I want to live in.

I've spoken to a high-ranking Poseidontown official who was impressed enough with me (gosh!) that he may give me an internship with the county. This, of course, would be my first foray into politics, but also what's keeping me here in America. My parents have been talking about moving to a foreign country that I will not name, but I will tell you that it's not on this continent and has a press-freedom ranking (from Reporters Without Borders) lower than Saddam Hussein's underwear drawer. My brother's already in college, and I'm nearly eighteen, leaving me all by my lonesome in the world. It's my choice where I want to go.

Hmmm... I've always wanted to go to Ireland. Or Switzerland! Someplace that does not give a damn about how it looks to the world. (Well, I suppose the U.S. doesn't, but in a completely opposite way; they just want to have the world's biggest penis. Oh my god! I just referred to the U.S., collectively, as "they." Creepy...) So! Since I seem to have quite the international readership, I want you to tell me why I should move to your country of choice. Tell me! Are the summers warm? Are the winters pleasant? Are the towns navigable? Are the biscuits tasty? Are the women beautiful? Are the men handsome? Do fairies play at midnight? Go! Consider this your Second Leticia Challenge.

Besides that... In Skies of Arcadia, the main plot is (highlight to read; don't worry, I only discuss like the game's first five hours) that the great Valuan Empire is after the Gigas, the world's most powerful weapons that have been sealed away after destroying the Old World, generations ago. You, as a spunky young hero, must ensure that Valua never gets their hands on the Gigas.

Many of the Valuan Empire's upper echelons are incompetent or greedy, but the one who stands out the most, Belleza, honestly believes that Valua, as the world's most powerful empire, needs to control all of the Gigas exclusively. That is the only way to ensure world peace, as the Gigas can be trusted in no other hands. However, the reason the heroes don't just say "Okay, we give up" and discontinue their quest to keep Valua from obtaining the Gigas is because of the example Valua has set by its actions; as part of its belief that it is their birthright to control the Gigas as their own, they have been destroying countries one by one in their desire to maintain world peace. Valua, the heroes decide, cannot be trusted with weapons of mass destruction.

The Capitol City of Valua is a desolate place, where the Upper City lives in luxury while the Lower City struggles to get by. The Lower City are considered to be rubbish and beneath contempt, whereas the Upper City Valuans concern themselves with all the imagined hardships of upper-class life. If you don't know where I'm going with this, than I cannot help you.

And here's where the obvious analogy to America comes in; most Americans honestly believe that only the U.S. should have weapons of mass destruction, and that the most important battle the U.S. can fight is to make sure no one else has them. What this philosophy fails to recognize is even cruel totalitarian states like Iraq have the right to defend their homeland, and that the Iraqi revolutionaries are fighting with the same hopeless vigor that we would if our country and our brothers and sisters were taking over. It wouldn't matter how many times we say that we only intend to fix Iraq up a bit before we leave; as long as our troops are in their country, the stench of imperialism is all they will smell. If we ever do win the war in Iraq, we will have a hollow shell of a country left, stripped of its national pride. It's sons and daughters and warriors will be dead and its flag will be in tatters. It will be a nation humiliated and dependent on the U.S. for its social and economic needs, long after they've left the headlines.

And that's the heart of the Bush doctrine; if a nation doesn't cooperate, we need to take it over; and even if it's in the name of "returning sovereignty to the American people," the nation will effectively become apart of the new American empire. Only America shall possess the Gigas. And America must be stopped, according to the methodology of Skies of Arcadia.

Of course I'm not suggesting that you all strap on your hero boots and fight a one-man war against the new American empire, I'm saying that the only way we can stop it is here... and now... through the democratic process...

I suppose I just can't win.

But I'll try.

Vyse would expect as much.

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