So Many Messages

All week, I intended to write about Nancy Grace and her Veterans Day tribute to our “fallen,” that euphemism for the war-torn dead. I would begin and, suddenly, see her surname with fallen and be Galatians 5: 4’d to “ye are fallen from grace.” I blame it on childhood years of Baptist brainwashing.

It’s just that my mind has been a smorgasbord of images and messages, lately. There’s Bush’s self-masturbatory, ghostwritten diary, along with email pleas for efforts in futility, war and more war, income disparity, and all the people who lead lives of either quiet or screaming desperation.

Soon after W began pushing his memoir, a flurry of requests for petition signing, demanding an investigation of Bush Administration torturers, for TORTURE, flooded my inbox. Despite a disavowal of petition endorsement, I went to the site where I’d entered my information during the Bush and Cheney shot-calling reign, when I believed that people’s voices and signatures en masse could make a difference.

Not unlike voting, petitions are, for the most part, useless. So are phone calls to those elected to represent our interests. Yes, I’m cynical. I haven’t always been.

When I wrote that first op-ed, soon after my nephew’ face exploded in Iraq, I believed my words would make a difference. I thought a piece of my mind and heart would prevent others from hearing the military’s death message. More than five years later, parents and spouses, still, open the door to the soul assaulting “regret to inform.” Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians have died in occupations that have turned their countries into chemical wastelands. With robotic weaponry, we target “terrorists,” incinerating civilians. We’ve expanded into Pakistan and Yemen. And, then, there’s the “threat” from Iran.

We borrow money from China to wage violence that inspires more terrorists to justify endless war. Meanwhile China expands its industrial base. Both of our mainstream political parties approve.

This is why I’ve written, lately, about the trivial in comparison—bedbugs and my colonoscopy, because I understand the enormity of the Military/Security/Corporatism Alliance and that we individuals are mere specks, powerless beneath a predatory owner class. My mind is turbulent with bankster-appeasing quantitative easing and knowing that there’s no abatement of pain, no coming to the rescue of millions of Americans without health care, those who’ve lost their jobs, who’ve faced foreclosure, who have been mugged into poverty by Republican and Democratic politicos providing lifeboats to their Wall Street masters.

We have become a downward-mobility society, except for the superrich. Statistics underscore that upward mobility is the segregated stairway to the stars, for the wealthy. An emboldened GOP is determined to make the Bush tax cuts for the uppiest permanent, and Democratic Congress members will be harmonizing.

George Bush can pitch best-seller egomania, admitting (Damn right!) torture and a lurid, sicko, and developmentally stunting, fetus-in-a-bottle bonding experience with psycho mom, reminiscent of Norman Bates who said, “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” Did this abuse contribute to the cycle of violence that Bush, eventually, wreaked on the Middle East as well as on American families? It’s likely that the “viewing,” during which he met his miscarried brother or sister, added to George’s pathology. We know he sought bottled solace for years.

Kinky Friedman has written affectionately about his fellow Texan, saying that Bush is “a feared but respected enemy of dictatorships the world over.” Friedman needs to be slapped aware, reminded that W appointed himself the “Decider” and brought us the Patriot Act, navigating the USA swiftly towards totalitarianism and is, therefore, a friend of our particular dictatorship. Oh, yeah, Friedman, also, calls George “gentle.”

Sooooo, I detoured. Really, I sat down to write about Nancy Grace’s tribute to my nephew. I intended to express my reaction to this and to her, a former prosecutor who reminds me of Bush. She’s another Decider—one whose occasional rush-to-judgment pronouncements seem to advocate castrating persons of interest, stuffing their genitalia in their mouths, and stitching their orifices shut, before an arrest, much less a conviction. When Grace honored Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley on Veterans Day, I watched, prepared for the schmaltz. Actually, that’s putting it sans the Tabasco, because Grace, unctuously, oozed uber patriotism, using uber platitudinous, nationalistic propagandizing to uber emote that Chase and all the dead troops “sacrificed their lives for our freedom.” Yes, for our freedom.

So many messages. In bottles. In battle. In babble.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her email address is missybeat@gmail.com.


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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

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