Articles, Rants and Explorations
Current Jennilog for 7 / 13 / 2003: Anger and Frustration
THE FRIGHTENED LITTLE BOY
Sandra and I, as we always do, went off to have our weekly lunch date at Johnny Rockets. Johnny Rockets is a retro-styled burger chain, and can be quite a nice experience in almost-gourmet-level fast food. Besides good burgers, occasionally the crew will go out and do a cleverly choreographed dance number at the front of the restaurant...though they have been doing less and less of that of late, sadly.
Now the frightened little boy of my title was probably in his late thirties, and came in with his battered looking wife in tow, and sat down just around the corner from Sandi and me. The entire key to understanding him was literally printed upon his soiled tan tee-shirt.
Imagine a Christian 'Sign-O-The-Beast' style fish symbol, with the usual 'JESUS' printed inside the fish...only in this case, the whole thing was painted up in all-American Red-White-And-Star-Spangled-Blue, with the words done in color like this:
Which, apart from getting colors in the wrong order, was clearly designed to make the U.S. part stand out in bright white upon the tan shirt, echoing a far too common sentiment within the nation that I reside within...that the United States, in all of it's actions, especially the recent military ones, possesses Absolute Truth because it is supposedly a Christian Nation determined by God Himself to set the rest of the planet in proper order. The United States, in case you somehow have failed to pay attention to recent events, is rapidly becoming a fascist theocracy, as the constitution upon which it was founded is increasingly suspended through 'Patriot Acts', as well as ever more (highly unconstitutional) mingling of church and state.
Who would wear such a statement, such a shirt on their back?
Why, a very frightened little boy, of course! A little boy terrified of the guts it takes to live in freedom, in true liberty. Freedom is not safe. Freedom is never safe. You can have safety, or you can have freedom (as Heinlein once put it), but you can never have both at the same time. Freedom by its nature is dangerous.
America seems filled with weak-spined little children. A few planes get hijacked and used as impromtu attack missiles -an occurance the rest of the planet has seen plenty of before- and overnight, Americans gladly allow, even encourage, wholescale dismantling of privacy, seperation of church and state, loss of personal liberty, loss of legal protections from search and seizure, and much, much more. America takes one sock on the jaw, and suddenly turns into 1940's Germany, with the whole world to be divided into those who Absolutely support the US, and those who are EVIL. No inbetweens, no compromises, now it is either love the US, or be eventually destroyed. Heading up our righteous army set to police the planet is the etherial imaginary ghost of Jesus Christ, followed by our new Shadow Government, and then, finally, by the edicts of our unelected, appointed Fuhrer...excuse me, I mean president.
All of this was encapsulated in that tee-shirt for Sandra and I. It takes a very frightened, very immature little boy to buy into that kind of mindset. I mean, let me break it down into its most simple formulation:
"America is the only country on earth that has the Truth. It has the Truth because it is especially and directly guided and protected by a magical man who lives in the sky, who once used magical pixie powers to make the entire universe in a week, just for us alone. Because we obey without question the magical son of the magical man in the sky, we are the chosen nation to make the rest of the planet obey the magical man too. Anyone who agrees with us is acceptable, anyone who disagrees is Evil and must be either forced to see the Truth, or destroyed, if necessary."
Sandi remarked to me that the man looked like an ex-marine. I agreed, he had that build, and that 'look' to him. It was strangely disturbing to sit there, eating a burger, reminded constantly of a fact I try to forget much of the time; that America is falling apart, dying, rotting out from the inside, and there is nothing any one person can hope to do about it. America needs a spine, needs the ability to just shrug off the odd terrorist attack, and courageously refuse to accept any narrow, singular view, or any limit to personal freedom, and accept the odd attack as part of the problem of living in this arguably insane world. Bombing little countries, clinging to religious fervor, swallowing simple bedtime stories as Absolute Fact, are the acts of a coward.
And as for the burger? It was real good.
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