I'm not given to public outbursts as a rule, but maybe this isn't one. Or maybe it is.
It's time for a serious re-think. Major league. Big time. We cannot continue to stumble down the same road we are on and hope to be able to give our kids a country that even remotely looks and feels like the one we not only felt we were living in, but was the 123 Main St., Anytown USA, Dick & Jane version which we boomers grew up with and felt committed to. In the instant world we have become, nothing seems to have staying power. There is some major cataclysmic event (K-Fed gets custody of Brittany's kids; Larry Craig (bless him!) decides he's not leaving the Senate after all) which makes the AOL / MSN / Yahoo news headlines for a cycle or two , and then disappears, as if it had no meaning at all. Our lives have become the quintessential version of "knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing." We process and cycle things, news, events in ways which perhaps let the structure feel as if there is a beginning, middle, and conclusion, but in the end it becomes nothing more than a series of screens on which to try and sell pop-up ads. All our information is becoming web based, and in the process, everything is being taken down to the point at which speed becomes the only defining factor. Nothing is important if it isn't delivered quickly, at lightning speed. Yet, as we discover, there is no value in speed if the essence of what is being sped is so unimportant.
This was one of those weeks with a series of events which tapped me on the shoulder. For some time I have taken umbrage at the continuing, relentless creepiness of how our airports, bastions of reliance that they are, have become little more than the vessel of this New and horrible order. At Washington National (I won't be calling it Reagan anytime soon: for a guy who hated the federal government, they sure haven't held back in naming things for him) the announcments every 6 or 8 minutes just drive me up the wall. "This is a Special Security Announcement..." which then goes on to tell you that you cannot a) park your car b) leave your vehicle unattended c) leave your luggage unattended d) carry more than 3-1-1 in a regulation 1 quart plastic bag e) if you spot something suspicious let someone in Authority know about it... the list goes on and on. First of all: anything that happens every six minutes cannot, by definition, be Special. Either its a mind-numbing-ridiculous-howdidyouthinkwedidntknowthatalready Announcement, or it's special, but you cant do it every six minutes, and be both. And to people inside the Security area, who have, obviously already passed the barriers where our crack teams are tracking down bin-Laden (oops. typo, they're searching 87 year old grandma's for contraband) who are obliged to keep listening to the 3-1-1 announcment -- dont you think they might have figured that one out already if they are INSIDE the security area? I sometimes wish I could just yell back at the TV, one of my favorite occupations. But this goes far beyond TV.
Earlier this week a woman, on her way to an alcohol treatment center in Tucson missed her flight, and I'm sure freaked a bit when the uncaring airline folks told her she wouldn't be able to make that flight. At that moment, 3 of Phoenix's finest, three black-nylon clad, donut wielding cops, who, if they hadn't been called to the gate, were no doubt hot on the trail of bin Laden and a dozen other terrorists, took down a woman from New York, a mom of three, in a stressful situation - freaked that she was missing her plane, and who I suspect couldn't see anything good on the horizon at that moment. The cops - 3 of them - tough guys I'm sure, got her on the ground (well, they didn't have bin Laden handy so she was next in line), cuffed her and took her off to the "holding room" where, 10 minutes later, she died, trying to get the cuffs from behind her back to in front, since they were, in the words of one cop "..not meant to be comfortable." No kidding. Instead of looking after bin Laden, these tough guys were busy taking down a troubled mother of three. What in the hell is going ON in this country? More SWAT uniforms. More guys in black nylon web gear. More guys in Blackwater outfits. More guys with guns, and fewer and fewer brains behind them. I really wish some of these tough sumbitchs would buy a one way ticket to Peshawar, or Quetta, or Herat. If you're so fricking tough, go find bin Laden. The one guy who is worth a million mom's of three. FInd him. Don't strut. Don't give us your puffed up chest. Don't give us your donut-sized web-belt with truncheon, 9mm, and cuffs. If you really think you are something, go do the real job. Get off your fat asses, and do something that helps. Don't buy into the hideous vision of a country that is "winning the war on terror" one mom at a time. This week Barak Obama was grilled about the fact that he has stopped wearing an American flag pin on his jacket lapel His answer was that after he'd started seeing a lot of flag wearers "wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic. Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. ... My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. " President or not, those are the words of someone who realizes we are in trouble. Think about that one. We're just sayin...David.