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

February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail