Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Obama Car

The Obama Car
The evening consisted of several auto races, followed by two demolition derbies. I know it takes all kinds to make a world and that it’s people’s differences that make things interesting, but after two hours of watching cars go around the track I was bored silly. I think part of it is the stopping and starting for crashes and the cleaning oil off the track. Long periods of waiting for shorts periods of actual action. And as my daughter who is truly a Millenial in outlook, commented, “ It’s so Un-Green!”

It was during the September 11th tribute that I really began to feel like I was on another planet, which is a shame, considering that seven years ago we came together as a nation, united in grief and resolve. I felt a swell of pride as I sang America the Beautiful, and then listened to a crackly recording of John Wayne’s “America, Why I love her”. Then the raceway announcer came over the loudspeaker and said, “Seven years ago the terrorists tried to change America but they didn’t succeed!” The crowd started cheering loudly in agreement, but I stood there frozen, thinking of all the ways this country has changed since that tragic September morning.

I thought about how the Bush Administration, with 9/11 as its excuse, has made a systematic assault on our nation’s civil liberties. I thought about the warrantless wiretapping scandal, and about holding a U.S. citizen without charge for three and a half years because Bush had designated him an “enemy combatant” thus denying him his constitutional right to due process of law. I thought about how the administration tried to politicize the Justice Department, to the point that, according to Congressman John Conyers, “even interns had to pass a partisan litmus test.” I thought about how we were a nation that believed in international treaties and the Geneva Conventions, and how in the seven years since 9/11 we’ve come to the point where some people think that it’s okay to torture, or that they will rationalize in their head that water boarding, which we’ve always considered torture if done to our soldiers, is just an “enhanced interrogation technique”. I thought about “extraordinary rendition”, which in the past has only been used against people with a proved list of crimes against them, but under the Bush Administration has been used to deport innocent people merely under suspicion of illegal activity to third countries where they have been undergone brutal treatment.

I thought about how the government used 9/11 as a pretext to engage in an unnecessary war that has cost more than 4, 100 American servicemen and women their lives and wrought havoc with our economic outlook.

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