Sunday, March 30, 2008

"All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey."

I was in DC for 24-hours this weekend and I couldn't get "California Dreamin'" out of my head. I don't know if the Mamas and Papas intended to write a song about the death of America, but that's how those lyrics have always struck me.

Our leaves are brown, and our skies are grey. DC is a police state. There are enormous concrete barricades everywhere, seemingly dropped down willy-nilly all over the city to protect us from the constant threat, the terrorists lurking in every shadow. You cannot get within a quarter of a mile of the White House--we used to be able to march in front of the White House and protest. There are soldiers everywhere in camouflage, with high-powered M-16 rifles, there are cops everywhere with automatic pistols. The anti-aircraft batteries have been removed from near the Washington monument. But a state of siege is still present.

No one speaks about the planes that crashed into buildings six-and-one-half years ago and why there have been no more since then.Did it really happen? Did it stop happening because we now have the vigilance to confiscate Dasani water at "security?" and confiscate a kid's bubble-blowing liquid as she's on her way to camp?

No one talks about the $5000/second we are spending for the right to consume cheese fries and $3.75/gallon gas. No one talks about the 4000 soldiers and the 1100+ private contractors killed in Iraq. (What are they doing there in the first place? Did a private company build the beach heads at Normandy?) No one talks about the 29,275 troops injured in hostile combat or the 500 US soldiers who had lost limbs (fingers and toes don't count.) No one talks about an estimated 104,000-230,000 Iraqi civilian death--or estimates three times that high if you believe independent calculus. No one speaks about 4.5 million Iraqis displaced--all in a country 1/10th the size of the US. These numbers are real. No one talks about them.

When you're in DC, when you see the Soviet-style armed presence, when you think about stolen elections and stolen tax money, and pre-emptive strikes, I thought about the Mamas and the Papas. I wondered about the lyrics I stated above. And I wondered if they mean that government of the people, by the people and for the people has perished from the earth.

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