FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dark Neighborhoods

The young man entered a pool hall in Kentucky. When he ordered a beer, the bartender asked for identification. He’d forgotten to take his driver’s license, but his passport was in his backpack.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a U.S. passport.”

“What’s a passport? I’ve never seen one of these. I’ll get the manager.”

“We need photo identification,” the manager said.

“This is photo identification. There’s no better photo ID.”

“No,” said the manager, turning his head to acknowledge a sign that read: Photo ID Required. “I have to see your driver’s license.”

The young man walked a few doors down to another establishment. At this place, his passport was thoroughly scrutinized and, finally, accepted.

A couple of guys asked where he was from and he told them North Carolina. He asked the same of them. One said, “I’ve lived here all my life except when I moved for two years and lived in a dark neighborhood—if you know what I mean.”

Immediately, one of the men said, “You can say nigger in front of him. He lives in North Carolina. There’s plenty of niggers in North Carolina. You can say nigger.”

At this point, the young man, who happens to be my son, decided the atmosphere was way too Deliverance-like for him.

These watering holes are in George Bush and John McCain territory. The cars and trucks parked nearby have bumper stickers that read, “Support President Bush, Support the Troops.”

People who slap these stickers on their vehicles don’t make the connection that supporting Bush and supporting the troops are mutually exclusive endeavors. They might become argumentative if told that veterans are being denied medical treatment and disability payments, that our servicemen and woman have inadequate body and vehicle armor, that George Bush has betrayed our military by waging a war of choice, and that the suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has risen to an average of four a day. Certainly, they aren’t oblivious to all the realities of war, but Bush’s disaster doesn’t plague their consciences. Do they consider for even a moment the unbearable strain placed on those who serve, the multiple deployments and post-traumatic stress disorder?

Some say things like, “They volunteered.”

Others offer, “Pulling out now would mean the deaths would be in vain.”

Yet, many can’t tell you how many coalition troops have died. Hell, they can’t tell you how many countries still comprise the “coalition.” And, probably, if told the estimate of the Iraqi civilian death count, plenty would say, “Who cares?”

Because Iraq and Afghanistan are “dark neighborhoods.”

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail