Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Innocent Blood on Our Hands? US?
It’s been two weeks so I suppose I should think of something to say.
I’ve been smoking too much and sometimes my lungs make strange sounds.
It’s raining outside.
My favorite cat is probably going to die of old age this summer but she still purrs.
Every single day I think of all the things we’re not thinking or talking about.
Like the fact that this country doesn’t seem to give a crap about its kids. Putting more money into the military than the next 25 countries combined. While children go hungry. While they’re homeless. While there supposedly isn’t enough money for their healthcare. Not enough money for them to have less than 35 kids in a class. Not enough money to bus even elementary children to their schools. (Though the rich school districts, where parents have SUVs and can DRIVE their kids to school, manage to have them.) Not enough money for social services to protect kids in abusive situations. Not enough money for drug rehab but plenty to throw teens into adult prisons (again, unless you come from money and can hire expensive lawyers).
Like the fact that almost all the people in this country who fanatically want to protect embryos are the same ones who can’t see the blood on their hands from killing half a million Iraqi ACTUAL children under the age of five (by supporting blood-thirsty politicians who like to smile as Christians; these children’s deaths are a result of U.S. military and economic actions since 1990.) Yes, that's right, half a million by numerous internationally respected estimates.
Like the fact that anyone educated in U.S. history knows that our military has employed torture for a long time. (Hello? Who wrote THE international handbook on torture decades ago and has frequently even trained military goons from other countries how to torture the BEST? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask yourself why and research the School of the Americas.) Then there’s all this fake: “Oh, just an anomaly, just a few people, really!” and all the Washington players know better but play along anyway.
What a farce. What a game. While people are dying, both here and there. Without being covered on the news, of course. It can’t really be happening if it’s not on the news, right? Does that mean my life isn’t really happening? How about yours? Has that been covered on the news recently? How is YOUR life going?
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Once Upon a Country
Once upon a time there was a middle-class white family in a mid-sized, Midwest American town with 2.2 kids, a golden retriever, and a white picket fence to keep certain things out. They bought all the proper name brand household items: Charmin, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Land O’Lakes butter, Wonder Bread. Everyone was perfect and everything was happy.
But they weren’t happy forever after, of course, because then we wouldn’t have a story. What happened was that the girl child in that family, Susie Ann, one day noticed that mold was growing on the bathroom wall. She began to watch that black and green spot that seemed to grow larger each day. It even seemed to be starting to take over one corner of the tiled walls around the bathtub. Her mother always used Lysol on the bathroom walls, but still Susie Ann saw that spot. It was definitely there. She didn’t want to tell her mother about it because that would hurt her mother’s feelings. Also, there had never been a problem in the house before, and nobody else mentioned it, so maybe it really was just that Susie Ann needed glasses. She couldn’t quite be sure.
The days turned into weeks turned into months turned into years, and all of this time the spot grew. It took over the bathroom (where it even messed with the plumbing), spread to the bedroom walls, marched into the kitchen and right out the door toward the white picket fence. By this time, Susie Ann was pretty bothered by the mold. It wasn’t just how it all looked—which was pretty bad; it was the smell, too, and everyone had started sneezing and coughing (which they tried to cure by using Kleenex brand tissues, to no avail).
Susie Ann wanted to tell her family that maybe it was the mold making them sick, but she had tried to mention it once to her mother: “Mother, what if there were mold in the bathroom?” But Susie Ann’s mother had squished up her face at the very suggestion, as though she might cry.
She tried to tell her father: “Father, I think something might be growing on the walls.” But he had pounded his fist on the kitchen table and said he would have none of that kind of talk in his house. She even tried to warn her brother, Dicky, whose feet had started to be over-run by the mold and were dangerously close to rotting off near the ankles, but he only stumbled around clumsily, wondering if he needed new shoes as the mold gnawed into his bones.
She had been thinking a lot about the mold in the house by this time, even though nobody else mentioned it or seemed to notice. The mold even crept into the refrigerator and dinner had become pretty gruesome, though Susie Ann found it hard to say anything about it, since everyone else always commented what a nice meal it was. After dinner, they always raced each other to the toilet, but no one seemed to make a connection between that event and dinner.
Then one day Susie Ann noticed that Goldie, their golden retriever, was thrashing around on the kitchen floor with a strange meowing coming from his throat. The mold had gotten into his mouth and suffocated his bark, and it was threatening to suffocate him. How could she ignore Goldie crouching on the floor, coughing and meowing desperately, maybe in his death throes? She couldn’t help it anymore, she just screamed. Everyone came running. Susie Ann yelled at the top of her voice, “Can we please do something about this goddamned mold? I can’t stand it anymore! It’s taking over everything and now Goldie is turning into a cat from it!”
Susie Ann’s mother was very concerned about her daughter and wanted to take her to the hearing doctor. Susie Ann’s father began yelling quietly about how she was disgracing their family, talking about mold in their everyone-perfect-everything-happy house. Susie Ann’s brother tried to make it to the kitchen, but his feet fell off when he was still in the hallway. He didn’t notice however; he crept forward on one knee and the stump of one calf—thud-thunk, thud-thunk, thud-thunk—as he also demanded, “Stop it! Stop it, Susie Ann! Look what you’re doing to the family. The neighbors will think there’s something wrong with us. Be quiet!”
They were discussing detention/hospital/rehab/boot camp for little Susie Ann when The White Picket Inspector came by, knocking at the back kitchen screen door. Susie Ann’s mother quickly whisked her daughter away and locked her into the bathroom. Then Mother, Father, and Dicky all smiled prettily at The White Picket Inspector. Goldie would also have smiled and wagged his tail but he wasn’t alive anymore.
The Inspector took an 8 x 10 photo out of a large manila envelope and showed it to the family. “Do you recognize this house?” he asked. Mother, Father, and Dicky all looked at the photo. Oh my god, said Mother. Atrocious, said Father. Coooll, Dicky began, until his father knocked him once in the shoulder.
“I’ve heard about this sort of thing outside The White Picket Fence, but I’ve never seen it before,” Father muttered angrily.
Wiping a tear from her eye, Mother said, “It’s unbelievable that people can let this kind of thing happen.”
“I’ll go spray that house with heavy duty Lysol, the dangerous chemical kind,” Dicky offered. “I’ll get all that mold, just give me the Lysol.”
The Inspector said, “Would you please look again? Notice the color scheme, the unusual shutter shape.”
They all peered closer. “Why, it’s the same kind of shutters we have,” Mother exclaimed.
“Same colors, too,” Father remarked.
The Inspector pulled out another photo, and another from a different angle, and another at a different time of day, until all three of them were silent, silent enough to hear Susie Ann pounding on the bathroom door, screaming about the mold.
“On behalf of all your neighbors and the laws of mold, I must strongly request that you take care of this problem before it spreads.” The Inspector sighed, replaced the photos into the envelope, and added, “The problem is not what you’re keeping out. It’s what you’re keeping in.”
Friday, May 07, 2004
Sometimes Even the Heart Needs a Break
It’s about 4 AM, Friday. I need to write a letter for this week. I want to write about the 800,000 women who marched on Washington for their lives, about the states that are already making it nearly impossible to get early abortions, even to save the woman’s life, and how there’s a movement right behind it, growing stronger, to even make contraception hard to get. I want to write about the torture of Iraqi prisoners—something lots of people already knew was going on, but how the people in power didn’t care until photos were published. I want to write about how Bush’s face is changing over these last months, how he’s been growing more and more conscious of the lies he’s telling. Watch his face—his mouth and eyes—when he speaks; he knows full well now that he’s lying.
But all I can think about right now is a desert, no sound, and the sky heavy with stars. Nothing moves, nothing whispers, nothing thinks. Parched white bones shine like stones in a spring.
Later: Breaking Relevant News
FDA Denies Women Access to Birth Control!
In another outrageous move to restrict women’s choices, the FDA decided yesterday to deny women easier access to Emergency Contraception (EC), a form of birth control that reduces the need for abortion. Ironically, earlier this week, presidential advisor Karen Hughes reaffirmed the administration's desire to reduce abortions--a statement that is in direct contradiction with the policy espoused by FDA officials. Women here deserve the unencumbered access to EC that women in 25 other countries around the world already enjoy. Enough is enough! Urge your Senators and Representatives to speak out against the FDA decision NOW.
Go to this site and you can quickly sign an e-mail of protest to key people responsible for this decision: