Memorial Day Redux

We’ve come to that holiday that half the population mistakes for a sale at Walmart and the other half just forgets. Unless the horror of war has touched you in some personal way you may have forgotten the purpose of the day too – to honor our nation’s military dead.

That’s what makes Memorial Day the second most American holiday after Independence Day. On one, we celebrate sacrifice and on the other we forget about what sacrifice costs. Either way, we celebrate both days in exactly the same way – with apathy and ignorance of our history.

I’m a Cold Warrior. I served during one of the few, distressingly brief periods in which we’ve not been at war. I’ve known many people who were not so fortunate and I’ve participated in enough realistic military exercises to see the power of fire and the rain of death up close.

The Hell of War

I believe I have some small idea of the hell of war. However, I’d never pretend to know it like someone who’s been there. In that respect, I have much in common with most Americans – including our President (who fought his war in Texas – when he felt like showing up) or our Vice President (who had “more important priorities”).

These men responsible for sending people off to die should have it weigh heavily upon them. But, they don’t seem to have given it much thought until their polls went south and we began calling for their heads.

Perhaps they’ve been too busy justifying their costly adventure. Maybe they were simply overwhelmed by handling something so tragic and complex as a war. I’m not sure. But I do know this – neither of them know the meaning of sacrifice.

For those with a short memory, let’s remember that one of the first pronouncements Mr. Bush made after 9/11 was to encourage people to shop. He said this while the embers of the collapsed buildings still glowed. That was his idea of sacrifice.

The War of Error

Since then, he cravenly connects his damnable War on Terror to Iraq in every speech. Not once has he asked anything of this country save forgiveness of the many mistakes he never admits. Meanwhile, Americans have sacrificed. They’ve offered up their sons and daughters and thousands of them have come home broken or in flag-draped boxes.

So, I’d like to take this opportunity to do something President Bush seems unable to do on yet another hallowed day. I call on all Americans to work together to end this bloody war. One of the few liberties we have left is dissent and we must respect it more than we do ourselves. We must keep healthy dissent alive for it is what our military fights for and what keeps us free.

A Legacy of Death

Mr. President, I hope you take a few minutes away from impeaching our freedoms to think about those dying at this moment half a world away. I hope you can once – perhaps for the first time in your coddled life – understand the gravity of sending men and women to die.

Unless you want your legacy to be many more despicably overcrowded Memorial Days to come, it’s time for you to make a sacrifice. It’s time for you to stare at your overwhelming hubris and cast it off before it ruins us all. And while you stare into the mirror, look closely.

In the background you’ll see a nation teetering on the brink.

Editor’s Note: I’d planned to write a special post for this Memorial Day, but I found that last year’s post, with some minor updating, said it better than I could say it again. Last year at this time I also took the opportunity to thank my nephew, who was then serving in Iraq, for his service. His tour was eventually extended and he came home four months late. He will go back to Iraq again later this summer and possibly be extended yet again.

Fight Theocracy, Be a Randomist

Atheist Analysis – If God made everything in the world, did he make atheists too?

Save the Simians – It’s silly, but someone has to watch out for our simian friends…eh, Dr. Z?

Offering Her Flower – Sure, Always Aroused Girl (NSFW) test-drives sex toys and writes about her amorous adventures, but her flora photos are the bee’s knees!

Campaign 2008 – Even though Bill blazed the trail for this (NSFW), let’s hope Hillary doesn’t make the same offer during her campaign.

What’s Next? – What’s next, Broccoli Coke?

“We’re Here to Pomp You Up!”It also comes in a Schwarzenegger autographed model. But, there is a danger if you use steroids.

Flush Your Cares – There’s something strangely arousing about this.

Hotter Than Gazpacho – OK girls that’s enough snickering in the back there.

Run Stinky, Run! – Yeah, but will it need a rhinoplasty one day?

God’s Everywhere You Want to Be – Your purchases earn points so the pontiff can buy new shoes or see Harry Potter, Revenge of the Nerds.

1001 Uses for a Stray Cat – Wouldn’t locking them up be easier?

Eeeeew! – Remember that time you syphoned some gas out of your tank and sucked too hard? (H/T to Tits McGee)

They’ll Always Have Baghdad – Was Wolfie kicked to the curb?

Tree Victim of Bicycle Crash – Clear the Path! George has been out cycling again.

Homeland Insecurity – These are the people guarding our streets and these are the people they’re guarding us from.

I’m a Little Bit Rock & Roll – Time sure flies. It’s already been a half century, yet it seems like so much more.

Ahhh, the Stench of It – Next Up, Britney Spears Rancid, a heady mixture of sweat, cigarette smoke, stale diapers, bikini wax, and tequila.

Attention Mitt Romney Supporters! – A little sumpin’ sumpin’ for the lil lady. (H/T Gangstas & Hugs)

Useless Invention #1316Why?

People Will Steal Anything That Isn’t Nailed Down – This is obviously not a lesbian wanting to have kids.

How Much is the Placenta in the Window? – The testicle of a right whale is to a midsized car like a human eyeball is to a male polar bear.

We Must Eat Them Over There Before We Have to Eat Them Over Here – George called and wants his freedom fries back.

Honest, I Was Just Self-Medicating – Yeah. I’m not buyin’ it.

Teaching the Elephant to Eat Itself

It figures that one of the few pieces of legislation garnering support from both the new Congress and the White House would be the immigration bill Minority Whip John Boehner describes as “a piece of shit“. Rather than being the “everyone gets a little something” compromise that supporters claim, it’s instead a “glass fully empty” compromise where no one gets anything except a morass of confusing and unenforceable rules that benefits no one.

There’s near-universal agreement that our complex immigration policies are broken. Nearly everyone agrees it’s a problem ignored too long and covered with enough patches to keep a retread bicycle tire spinning. There’s also great support for beating the problem into submission now, rather than waiting for another administration.

But that’s where the agreements end.

The Same Old Same Old

The current bill follows the same pattern as previous failed bills. Despite the complex task, lawmakers tried to solve the whole mess in toto rather than breaking it into smaller initiatives that would be easier to implement. In business, they call this eating the elephant one bite at a time.

In government, they call it screwing the pooch.

Illegal immigrants don’t leave their families because they like July forth fireworks or love apple pie. They come here to find work. They trade one poverty-stricken existence for a not-quite-so poverty stricken existence so the family can eat. They do backbreaking work that Americans won’t do (at least at the sub-poverty slave wages offered by agribusiness and one-percenter families needing maids and pool boys). Top that with the complicity of the US and immigrant nation governments and you guarantee an illegal immigrant tsunami that easily overwhelms unarmed National Guardsmen and fences in the middle of nowhere.

Illegal Immigration Reduction is Job One

Priority One should be reducing the tsunami to a more manageable trickle. We need tougher labor laws and enforcement coupled with helping immigrant nations boost their own economies so their economic woes aren’t offshored to America. Fewer immigrants will come if they can make a living wage back home and everyone would be better off.

Lawmakers could tackle the thornier problem of what to do with the millions already here as a separate debate. When they do, they must see that putting those masses yearning to work almost free onto Tijuana-bound Greyhounds isn’t logistically practical, amnesty be damned.

Sadly, this pickle shows the futility of it all. The same lawmakers that complicate matters now will resist cutting the elephant up. Even if Congress and the Decider Guy could agree on doing it, the needed economic legislation would look like Dasani in deference to powerful lobbies that benefit from an indentured servant labor pool. And even if lawmakers rammed through the economic reforms, deciding what to do with the immigrants already here would bog down in academic arguments about the “rightness” of amnesty and how steep the fine would be. Oh, and word to the pols – it doesn’t matter if the fine is $50 or $5000, when you have no money you can’t pay either one.

Simply put, a rational response simply ain’t gonna happen.

Teaching the Elephant to Eat Itself

This debate is a microcosm of the myriad national problems that go unaddressed or are hidden by the real reason for their failures – a lack of foresight and dedication to what’s best for the country. In a very American twist, it appears there is no workable way to eat that elephant one bite at a time.

Because the elephant would need to eat itself.