Saturday , April 13 2024
This world is a pretty spectacular place, and part of its charm is the diversity of thought, opinion, and belief. We all need to take more time to appreciate it, including me.

State Of The Gypsyman Address

That’s it. I’ve fuckin’ had it; enough’s enough. I suppose everybody has a saturation point and I think I’ve just about reached mine. What am I on about now, you ask? Well, just about everything if you really want to know.

It can be pretty much whittled down to what’s been in the papers lately. War, war, and just for an alternative how about some talk about a new war. Of course if you want a change in diet from war there’s always religion, which usually leads to war, so you might as well just see above.

There are the daily reports from Iraq, or if you’re really unlucky, about Iraq from the folk safely back home not getting shot at behind their podiums. We can win the war in Viet Nam; oh I’m sorry that would be Iraq. We will only bring the troops home when the job is done and not a moment earlier.

How do you know when that happens? Anyone figured that out yet? Does the body count have to fall below a certain level first, or is it when the number of troops that you’ve got left on the ground has dropped too far? How many lives were budgeted to be lost in advance? “Well if we want to take on Iran afterwards, we can only lose so many…”

Iran is the new war by the way. “Can’t rule out the military option” is every one’s favourite phrase this weekend. It will be easy; just change all those q’s to n’s and we’re set.

Nobody pays attention to the names; as long as they sound Arabic, nobody will notice that it’s the same speech you gave about Iraq two and a half years ago. Nuclear weapons – weapons of mass destruction; what’s the difference? Not much really, or at least, not so anybody’s going to notice.

Anyway, think of how easy it will be. Right next door to Iraq, all we have to do is just cross over the border and we’re there. The navy and the air force are getting bored; they haven’t had the chance to blow anything up from the sky in a while. The sailor types are just itching to launch more of those tomahawk cruise missiles and I’m sure the air force is looking at having to spend some of its budget if it wants to buy more toys next year.

Give them some new targets, for goodness sakes!

Oh, and hey, remember Afghanistan? Yeah, that was the place the war on terror started, our first victory. Except we still haven’t won that one because people are still getting killed over there pretty frequently by those guys we defeated.

The Taliban are still out there in the mountains. They come out of their caves periodically to kill a bunch of people and remind them that if the NATO troops ever leave they’ll be running the country again in less than two months. But we won that war didn’t we? Didn’t we?

If it’s not bad enough reading about all of that every single day, there’s the ongoing war on terror in North America to curl your toes. The President of the United States has no problem authorizing illegal wiretaps on anyone who might be a security threat. I want to know who makes the list and what constitutes a security threat?

Twenty years ago I was considered too much of a security risk to work at the G-8 conference in Toronto Ontario. There was a pretty picture taken of me in front of the American consulate in the early 1980s protesting the testing of cruise missiles in Canada. I guess that made me too dangerous to hand out press releases to journalists.

I’d guess you wouldn’t want to phone Cindy Sheehan up right about now and make any jokes about where she wants the dynamite delivered. Is their list of “Dangerous Subversives” going to be along the lines of Nixon’s “Enemy List”? (If so, there’s going to be a lot of competition to get on it. What kind of leftist are you if you couldn’t get on Bush’s “Subversive List”?). You know, the one that had people like Bill Cosby and Warren Beatty on it; threats to America each and everyone of them. (Well maybe they are, but for different reasons than Nixon’s people thought.)

Of course nobody’s going to have to worry about an invasion from Canada now. The border is going to be patrolled by Blackhawk helicopters and fighter jets. That’s good, so now when they see a possible terrorist crossing the Peace Bridge they can just blow him and any fellow travelers away with a rocket attack.

Then there’s the whole anti-Muslim thing going on that’s starting to stick in my craw. Okay, some of them are damned scary, and nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to randomly blow up innocent civilians no matter how justified they think they are. Just because it’s being done by bombs from the sky doesn’t legitimize it any more than if it’s dynamite strapped to some yahoo’s body.

The thing is, though, that the rest of the world has pissed on the Muslims since their inception. It started with the Crusaders and has been going on ever since. “Death to the Infidels” was something that was shouted from as many Christian mouths as Saracen.

They tried to be nice, they let Christians and Jews live under their rule and practice their beliefs. They used to be a damn sight more tolerant of Jews than the Christians were, just check out Muslim Spain if you want verification of that little fact.

But you keep pushing people too far and you’re going to create the situation we find ourselves in today. It’s sort of been lost in the shuffle that the Scandinavian countries have been recently contemplating passing laws prohibiting parts of the Muslim dress code, or enacting legislation limiting Islamic immigration.

Muslim people have been treated like something you scrape off the bottom of your shoe by our erstwhile allies in Europe since the end of World War II. For some reason there was a serious shortage of able-bodied manpower at the end of that little set, too, so most of Western Europe was more than willing to open their borders to “guest workers”.

Some of these guests have been there for two generations but will never be allowed to become citizens or allowed to vote in the country where they born. If it hadn’t been for these folk I’d like to see how well off the European Union would be now. In Germany they have an affectionate name for Turkish guests: cockroaches.

Like I said, I’m not excusing the behaviour of any of the bomb-toting cowards who won’t at least stand up and fight for what they believe in. I’ve more respect for a soldier who fights his enemy face to face, even if I don’t believe in what they are fighting for, than any of these “martyrs”. (Although martyrs have always pissed me off: “Oh it’s okay I can do it myself, I’m used to it” becomes “Oh look at me I’ve just blown myself up to kill some women and kids, aren’t I special?” real fast in my opinion. And vice versa.)

But, I hate to say it, what really has made me so tired of it all, to the point of having to write this post or cry for a week, is the predictability of it all. Something happens in the world and you know before anyone says anything what everybody is going to say.

Right, left, centre, whatever or whoever can always be counted on to say the same things over and over again. So very few people sound like they think any more. My opinion is decided by my politics, not what I feel personally.

I can never agree with George Bush even if he’s correct because he’s a Republican and a Christian. Or I can never agree with Al Gore because he’s a godless Democrat. I know those are pretty simplistic examples, but you know what I mean.

Hell, I’m supposed to be left of centre I suppose, but that’s only because I believe if we’re going to have governments the least they could do is look after the people who elected them. I don’t mean their corporate sponsors either, I mean the people who live in their country and are just trying to make do the best they can.

I’ve never understood what’s so wrong with making sure everybody has a decent education, a place to live, and enough food to eat. Governments don’t seem to be good for anything else, so the least they could do are those few things. If that makes me a socialist or worse in some people’s eyes, so be it.

But good lord, the crap that comes out of people’s mouths who I’m supposed to be politically allied with is just as much a conditioned reflex as the stuff that comes out of a conservative Christian’s mouth. It’s like everybody has a switch they flip which shuts off their brain and ears so they can talk without being interrupted.

Okay, I’m done. I think the pressure gauges have stopped red lining now, and I can go back to being sort of calm and rational for a while. This world is a pretty spectacular place and part of its charm is the diversity of thought, opinion, and belief. We all need to take more time to appreciate it, including me.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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