The Moment of Truth — March 10, 2001

W’s Solution to Teen Rage: Crash a Sub

Hi, I’m mejeffdorchen, and welcome to the Moment of Truth, the moment that cries out like Jesus from his towering cross, “John, I can see your house from here!”

In the past twenty years, artists funded partially and often minimally with public money have put a cross in a jar of pee, encouraged people to walk on the US flag, and put elephant poo on Jesus’ mother. Meanwhile, the US military, entirely funded by tons of tax dollars, has managed in only three years to have a fatal accident about every three-and-a-half months, at least twice involving the deaths of civilians.

The sullying of symbols by artists served as an argument for cutting public funding of the arts. Meanwhile, human deaths resulting from incompetence have led to no financial repercussions in the Pentagon whatsoever. The big talk these days is raising the pay of soldiers. I’m sure most of them deserve a raise – most workers have seen their wages measured in real dollars go down in the last thirty years. But can we at least have a performance review of whoever in the military is teaching these people to crash jets and submarines into each other and into alpine gondolas and Japanese fishing boats? Oh, and also whoever trains them to kidnap and rape Japanese children? I don’t think those people should get raises. I know it would be a lot to ask to have their funding cut. I know it would be too much even to ask that a funding cut be considered. Cuz all they’ve done is destroy billions of dollars of equipment and recklessly kill civilians in peacetime at taxpayer expense. It’s not like they stepped on a star-spangled pennant or immersed an inanimate object in pungent yellow liquid. So by all means keep giving them zillions of dollars so they can keep crashing dangerous machinery into unsuspecting people at the rate of three or four times a year.

I mean, by all means, let ten percent of Americans live in poverty. Let US children go without homes and health care. By all means, sell the Alaskan wilderness to the oil companies, sell all our public space, I mean, goodness knows we need the money so we can keep our boys crashing into stuff. Cuz it’s certainly not enough to crash a jeep or something, you have to crash a nuclear submarine or a high-tech jet, and you certainly have to do it at least three times a year.

So of course we can’t have a federally funded intensive investigation into voter intimidation in Florida last November. No, we need that money to pay for the public buildings that house the public courts which are all but monopolized by private transnational corporations litigating their various mergers and copyright disputes and other business dealings while paying less and less into the system in taxes and certainly no more in court fees than some poor old lady subsisting on a fixed income trying to sue an HMO cuz they wouldn’t pay for physical therapy that would’ve prevented her arm from having to be amputated. We need to cater to corporations at the expense of armless old ladies because armless old ladies don’t butter the bread. Meanwhile corporations can get you elected and then you can help them and then after you’re done with your publicly funded public service to the private corporations you can get an executive position with them and then they can help your son, who can barely speak his own native tongue, get elected president just like you! And another of your kids will be governor of the pivotal state in the election, and he will not only allow voter intimidation but probably corporate pollution of the environment that will cause Alzheimer’s in old Jews that will make them vote wrong.

And you can feed this cyclical machine of self-serving vampirism, this cycle of political favor for corporate favor fueled by the lifeblood of the public, and create an atmosphere of bread-buttering so pervasive that even the Supreme Court would rather invite the disdain of every nation upon us and every lawyer and judge upon themselves than allow their bread to land butter side down. Not since Robert Bork signed off on the Saturday Night Massacre in exchange for a future Supreme Court nomination has juristic perfidy been displayed so glaringly in the national spotlight.

Given the disproportionate political power wielded by the wealthy and the corporations under which they organize and operate, it can be said with some truth that, certainly in the twentieth century, any president who claimed to represent the people of the United States was a liar. Was in fact, a fraud, since merely to accept the office of president is to claim to represent the people, or at least a majority of them, and under the circumstances that has clearly not been true for a very long time, if it ever was. And in the case of the first president of THIS century, well, needless to say, the word “fraud” falls far short of the mark. Not since Nixon gave Ford the White House in exchange for a pardon has such a sickeningly obvious shakedown of the US public taken place.

Now, given the record of accidents US military vehicles seem prone to, I think the Russians, a few months ago, could be forgiven for at first suspecting that a US submarine was responsible for the sinking of the Kursk. Or at least, they could be forgiven for expecting that others might believe such a public relations gambit as blaming the US’s bad driving.

And, given the perfidious values of our nation and its public and private institutions, coupled with the US military’s bad driving record, I think I can be forgiven for floating the following spin balloon:

First of all, I want to point out that none of the nine Japanese who died when their fishing boat was sunk – not a single one of them – voted for George W Bush. Second, it’s no secret that some of the civilians on board the sub were supporters of the Republican party.

Do I need to spell it out? Can we really believe that a bunch of Japanese who just happened not to vote for Bush were smashed into by a nuclear sub full of GOP supporters in an otherwise empty stretch of ocean by “accident?”

Now, that kid Andy, who shot his classmates in California last week? Fake president Bush called it “an act of cowardice.” I kid you not. Does that make any sense? This kid was picked on, beat up, depressed – so his mind snapping is cowardice? It may be sick and awful to be a teenager and shoot your classmates. But cowardly? What would’ve been the brave thing to do in that situation? And remember, this decision is being made in a society that values greedy people and warlike people more than it values children or teachers or artists. So what is bravery in such a society? Whaddya do? Go to school without a gun and try to beat up everyone? Go there with enough guns for everyone so that it’s a fair fight? Escape into drugs? That’s what I did at that age in a similar situation, though I don’t think it was particularly brave of me. Commit suicide? I thought about that, too, but I’d always heard it was the “coward’s way out.” I myself often considered coming to school with a machine gun and blowing people away, but I was afraid people would write me off as a lunatic. I had no inkling that if I overcame my fear of being called a lunatic I would run the risk that the president might call me a coward.

But after meditating on all the above information, I think I’ve figured out what fake president Bush had in mind when he said that. I think he was really, in some indirect way, trying to counsel the kid. I think he was saying, kid, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Suck it up. Be a man. Get some toughness, some discipline. Join the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. Work hard and it will pay off. You may one day secure yourself the command of a mighty seagoing vessel or a sleek fighter jet.

And if you do, then you can “accidentally” crash into those bullies and kill them!

I’m mejeffdorchen and this has been the Moment of Truth.