Friday, July 14, 2006

musings of a boiled frog

cassandra told you wwiii was coming. i even thought it might already be here but i actually hate being right about these things.

so i choose to continue to live in denial and do what i can to rage, rage against the dying of the light...

stray thoughts keep colliding in my head.

i came across this story today:

*By Mark Benjamin*
Jul. 14, 2006 Congress has demanded that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hand over a raft of documents to Congress that could substantiate allegations that U.S. forces have tried to break terror suspects by kidnapping and mistreating their family members. Rumsfeld has until 5 p.m. Friday to comply.

It now appears that kidnapping, scarcely covered by the media, and absent in the major military investigations of detainee abuse, may have been systematically employed by U.S. troops. Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects' families

the article goes on to describe a few of the many, routine kidnappings of women and children used to force a suspected terrorist to comply with the US' requests for info or surrender. i honestly don't have the energy to go into it any further or even comment... i'm so... i don't know...

and i'm also wondering whether i should read john dean's new book "conservatives without conscience." or will it just make me feel even more abandoned by my father.

this is, of course, all about daddy. daddy was in the army. daddy was in intelligence. when i moved to san francisco at the age of 19 and lived with folks who told me all about what our military was doing in central america, i had to find a place to compartmentalize that information because daddy was in the military. and my daddy wouldn't do that. would he?

my dad was always a cool dad. he's funny and smart and used to hunt and peck out letters to the editor on his little electric typewriter on such a regular basis that one time, when i was introduced at the first read through of a play in college, another actor said "are you related to that guy who always writes to the paper?" i was proud of my dad. he fought for things. and he was creative too. once when a neighbor left a bathtub on his front lawn for one too many months, my dad put a notice in the paper for a "free bathtub to anyone who can haul it away." yeah, he verged on being the town crank but he also fought for injustice. he typed up a letter for me once when i told him about the amway convention at the hyatt where i worked. the amway honchos were SCAMMING the amway peons in a big way and i was forced to collaborate. together we wrote a letter to 60 minutes. it might not have meant anything to 60 minutes but it meant a lot to me. he instilled in me that you can fight city hall. you may not win, but you can fight.

and i fought with him too. we had some rocky years there where he didn't talk to me for months on end. typical teenaged rebellion stuff, mostly. pretty mild actually. arguments about bathing suits and backtalk, nothing too heavy...

so it's not like i'm in love with my daddy as an authority figure. not in the way dean talks about in his new book. i love my dad because he taught me what to believe in and how to fight for it. he instilled in me my morals.

and now he believes in ann coulter. and rush limbaugh. and bill o'reilly. and george bush. it's just so hard for me to understand. my dad overcame a lot. he grew up in a home with rampant racism and domestic violence and i only know this because he told me, not from any of his actions. he left home and left those things behind and raised a family the best he could. he has so much to be proud of, and yet...

we can't talk about these things. it's too volatile, i guess. i know it would be for me. i'm in tears just contemplating the discussion.. but if we could i don't know where i would start. would i ask him about any friends he's had who were gay and why he would deny them basic human rights, like the right to sit by a bedside of the one you love when they're dying? would i ask him if he thinks i should be punished for treason for my beliefs and imprisoned for my support of gold star families who have lost their sons for no noble reason? would i ask him if he thinks it's okay for young american soldiers to kidnap a wife and three daughters and threaten them with torture in order to get the husband to turn himself in? would i ask him if supports imprisonment without trial of those in gitmo for being suspected terrorist? what about the torture at abu ghraib? does he really believe that it was only a few bad apples and the chain of command is innocent?

i don't know what i would ask first but i would start by reminding him of something he said to me once. when i first started working in campaign politics i was amazed at how much i could do, how much influence i had so quickly. i remember telling my dad that i only had half a brain yet i was a frikking genius compared to the quarter-brained people i was working with. my dad kind of off-handedly said, "well, you always were the smartest one in the family." that kind of rocked my world. at first, i was bowled over by my father even remarking that i was in any way intelligent. later, i was angry that he felt that way and never said anything earlier. i spent my whole early family life feeling like a weirdo, definitely ostracized by the rest of the clan who would just shake their heads in unison at most of what i said as if i was speaking the language of the planet claire..

now that i'm older, i still try to wear that remark as comfortably as possible. when i was home for a family crisis i felt honored to be the one who figured out how to manage my grandmother's health care. it was weird and invigorating to be the adult in the group who they trusted to find answers and good advice.

so i think i would start somewhere around there. i would remind daddy that he told me once that i was the smart one and ask him to trust me as i try to untie the knot that his thinking has become. i would ask him to reconcile the father i used to know with the one he has become -- to explain it to me so that i can understand how this change has happened. but mostly, i think i would try to tell him that i want my daddy back. the one that was my hero. i need him right now. the world has become so very dark and scary and i don't know how to live with his being on the dark side of it all.

john dean's book and article talk about the hard core conservatives' need for a strong authoritarian father figure. that they will not be swayed away from their loyalty to big daddy bush. it makes me want to come up with some kind of counter to those fkers who always yell "get a job!" at our protests. i want to tell them to "get a daddy!" but that so dumb it doesn't make any sense at all..

the idea that my father has abdicated his position to follow another, bigger father like a lemming is just too hard to handle. i guess i'm the one who needs to get a daddy..



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