Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, the state of the union is HILARIOUS!

At least, if you were nursing a Guinness and riffing it MST3K style with your sister on the phone. Or if you are Norbizness.

My sister and I have agreed that we can only keep our sanity because the president is goofy and fun to laugh at. We will still fight the administration with our sweat and dollars but sometimes you just gotta kick back with a cold one and laugh at the smirking monkey. Dance, smirking monkey! Dance!

Anyway.

I'm dying to find out who booed the Preznit when he started spewing flat-out-made-up-pulled-outta-his-ass numbers on Social Security. I want to send them flowers. My recap:

PREZNIT: Your children will have to hold a bake sale for ELEVENTY BILLION DOLLARS to make Social Security work!

UNIDENTIFIED DEMS: NO! BOO! YOU ARE DUMB AND YOU ARE AN ASS!

Thank you.


And I think Orrin Hatch was asleep for most of it. The camera alighted on him for a moment, but he was conked. Head down, eyes closed.

But really, here's what I think. The president makes a lot of good rhetoric. Yeah, who doesn't think that liberty is probably good for people? If you come up against that you look like the kind of liberal everyone hates- a grumpy, anti-American commie elitist. Karl Rove is a genius. But the thing is, we need to start framing the debate this way: Freedom is not only not free, it is not easy and it is never 100%. We can't just "spread freedom." We can't just "defeat terrorism," any more than we can rid the world of all evil and sadness. Iraq is not free just because we took out Saddam and had an election. Make no mistake about that. Iraq is maybe a little freer, but it's hard to tell. Although those people lived under Saddam's oppression before, today they continue to live under the oppression of fear, radicals and the ever-present crossfire.

What is freedom? If you can't leave your home for fear of being shot, but your despotic leader is safely ensconced in a prison somewhere, are you truly freer than before? For that matter, there are people within our own borders who live under the oppression of fear, in the slums of Chicago and Miami and Houston and Los Angeles and Detroit. There are plenty of people in countries Bush has absolutely no interest in who suffer oppression the likes of which are tantamount to genocide, no matter what the UN says.

It is so tempting to drop these doubts, to become one of his minions and believe the line, because it is a very attractive promise. More freedom for all. First Iraq, then Iran, then the world, free from oppression and fear (and does anyone else find it odd that nearly all of his rhetoric is pirated from JFK and FDR- prominent Democrats?). But there are those of us who understand the gray area and know that there are several factors that lead to oppression. Total freedom cannot be acheived when poverty, plague and cultural gender disparities still exist. I think a wise person once said that freedom cannot fully exist if there is tyranny anywhere. We shall see this concept in action in the coming years.

The truth remains that freedom cannot be given to anyone. It must be taken by those who wish to be free. And so I am comfortable with any positive changes in Iraq because it shows that the Iraqis are taking their freedom. I hope they will continue to do so in big ways. I hope they throw us out.

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