“I’ve got a 38 Special up on the shelf.
If I start acting stoopid, gonna shoot myself.”
Warren Zevon (Ret.)
Fitting, I suppose, that my farewell article for CounterPunch is an obituary.
Yes, America is officially dead. It went down into the basement, sat on the couch, put a pistol in its mouth and pulled the trigger. Those are its brains splattered all over the wall. That’s its blood in a sticky pool on the floor.
Homeland Security is still looking for its immortal soul.
Why’d America do it? Why’d it leave us to mop up the mess, and fend for ourselves?
In its suicide note, America confessed its despair. It couldn’t take the emotional rejection anymore. It really did love us. It believed us when we said we loved it too. Then it saw the lie behind our pretty smile. It couldn’t believe the paranoia, the obsession with total control, and the jealousy that lurked in our hearts. It couldn’t believe the senseless cruelty we dish out as easily as we kick a soccer ball across the yard. America simply didn’t trust us anymore and rather wait for the next inevitable stab it in its aching back, it took the easy way out.
America called it quits, and so do I.
Most everyone else, I suppose, will laugh it off. They’ll make a joke out of it. They’ll say that America had been brain dead since disco. Ha ha! They’ll say someone would have come along, sooner or later, and put it out of its misery. Better it took matters into its own hands. Saved Arnold the trouble! Ha!
They’ll surely turn the funeral into a celebration, like the Super Bowl after 9/11, when Bono flashed the stars and stripes inside his jacket. America referenced that moment in its suicide note. Its hand wasn’t quite so steady when it recalled how the self-proclaimed spokesman of peace and justice, the new Martin Luther King Jr, revealed our most secret desire: to be part of the winning team, no matter what the cost in Muslim blood. Like the good capitalist cheerleader he has become, Bono elevated school spirit to world conquest.
Save Tibet! Kill the Commies!
America also spoke of the last letter it read before it pulled the trigger. The letter came from a bi-racial couple that had just returned from a CIA-sponsored vacation in China. In 1969, this bi-racial couple marched on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War. Somewhere along the line, they forgot that war was fought against Communism. Now they hate Communists. That reversal came with tenure.
This bi-racial couple represents America’s super elite. They are academics. In their letter to America, they spoke tearfully of standing on Tianamen Square and mourning the heroes who died for Democracy. Then, like all good elitists, they spoke of the Chinese in racist terms, as “flatsos” whose knees start at their ankles. They laughed.
Then the bi-racial couple referred disparagingly to a colleague “seeking sainthood” by protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like all good neo-liberal elitists, they mourn the passing of Peter Jennings and in his name, and in the name of Feminism and Civil Rights, they teach their students that we must lift the burqa and free the poor benighted people of color, no matter how many Muslim women and children we have to kill in the process. Peter would have liked it that way. Besides which, the elite need the ignornat cheap labor to remain elite.
At that point, America wept and said a prayer for Cindy Sheehan, the only teacher of conscience left in the land.
America came to the only reasonable conclusion. In this nation of slaphappy assassins, this empire of little Eichmanns, suicide is the only honorable option.
America’s heir apparent, the totalitarian corporate dictatorship, is already making plans to assume control. No one will notice the change.
It plans to hold America’s memorial service at this year’s Super Bowl. The media executives will put America’s red, white and blue ashes in a canon and shoot them into the sky. The fireworks will be as orgasmic as a quick peak at Janet’s perfect little breast. The spectators will “Stand Up” and applaud, and groove to the blaring trumpets of the Dave Matthews Band.
I’m on my way out. Don’t crash into me, Dave.
According to a White House spokesman, Pat Robertson and a contingent from the Christian Coalition will rush out onto the field and toss the corpse of Hugo Chavez on a bonfire at halftime. Maybe they’ll burn a few gays and lesbians too, unless those gays and lesbians happen to be tenured professors preaching world conquest. Or Republicans.
Nowadays it pays to preach the party line. Ask Patricia Cornwell. Ask that bi-racial couple that marched on the Pentagon in 1969. Ask yourself.
In its suicide note, America’s last words were a solemn prediction. Tiger Woods will make $85 million in endorsements on Super Bowl Sunday, and announce his plans to run for President on the Republican ticket in 2008. 50 Cent will star in a video game featuring armed robbery, first-degree murder, and rape, and serve as Tiger Wood’s Secretary of Defense. No one will give a shit. Everyone will go about his or her business, no longer even pretending to care. They’ll go skiing in Colorado or sunbathing in Cancun this winter. They’ll vacation in China and alternately laugh at and curse the Chinese. They will not rise up in rebellion. They will slink into that dark night, to the writhing sounds of Dave Matthews and U2.
And I, Doug Valentine failed writer, your failed friend will vanish into thin air, taking my broken heart with me. Farewell.
DOUGLAS VALENTINE is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY. His fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1968, is newly published by Verso. The Strength of the Wolf, has received the Choice Academic Excellence Award and is being published in Russia. Tthe sequel, The Strength of the Pack, is being published by University Press of Kansas in December 2005. For information about Mr. Valentine, and his books and articles, please visit his web sites at www.DouglasValentine.com and http://members.authorsguild.net/valentine