Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Going, Going Gonzo #1

After seeing the movie Gonzo: The Life & Times of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, I've come to realize that it is vitally important that we discuss the crucial elements of our times-politics, religion, community, education, culture, the future-with those around us-family, friends, coworkers, neighbors-so that we don't have any regrets about the path that unfolds during our lives. One of the greatest aspects of Thompson, beyond his writing of course, is the spirit with which he approached life. He never hesitated to ask the awkward question or engage in heated dialogue or cause discomfort upon those who become too comfortable. For more than a decade he was a revelation in the mainstream press and his impact was felt in high places.

For too long I've remained on the sideline when ignorant fools spew hatred of fear or ignorance, holding onto the heart of "political correctness", only wishing to keep the boat from rocking, trying to remain high and dry, never realizing that when we allow such evil ideas to thrive with our silence that our ships have already sunk. So now I'm attempting to change my reticent behavior by engaging in dialogue with my fellow citizens.

First up-the coming Presidential election.

This is the most obvious avenue to pursue at the moment since we only have three months til our national identity changes, either minutely or in a big way. Plus, this is one of the first Presidential elections where I see such an obvious need for a certain candidate's success. The United States of America has gone down the wrong rabbit hole my friend and the view from here ain't very pretty. We are in the shitter and their is one reason for all of it; the Bush Administration. They have made colossal mistake after colossal mistake and we are reaping the rewards. Now, most people might take umbrage with my using the word reward in regards to what has recently occurred with the economy or the war or the cost of oil, but I feel that ultimately this all will be a blessing.

Yeah, the Bush Administration has destroyed our way of life and their war on terror has caused the deaths of millions of people and our presence in Iraq has crippled our military threat throughout the world, which only allowed the price of the dollar to plummet and their lies have caused hundreds of thousands of good-hearted Americans to lose their faith, along with their pensions. But...but here's the thing, that's what we needed so that people will finally pull their eyes from the highs and lows of the Bachelorette and start focusing on what we need to do to change this country into an instrumental power for change.

That's what I'm hoping for at least and if that really happens, people will understand the terrifyingly simple reality that John McCain is going to do nothing to change any of it. If people don't come to this understanding, all I have to say to everyone is this, "You ain't seen nothing yet." There is only one electable candidate who will try to create some changes that might lead us down a brighter road and that person is Barack Obama. Let's not kid ourselves. I'm not saying that he is going to be a savior, a superhero who will prop the crumbling infrastructure upon his shoulders like the mighty hand of God but at least the man will give an honest go at it, at least it'll be something different. Right now, I can handle that because I've seen the road down which were currently traveling and it scares the shit out of me. John McCain may be a nice individual and he probably would have been a much better President if he was elected eight years ago (God I wish it were so!) but at the moment, the idea of that man sitting in the oval office is terrifying.

It's enough for me to tell people that they have to vote for Obama, people who I'd imagined would normally vote for someone like McCain, someone who probably voted for Bush, someone like my Mother. And I got a positive response for my first time out into Gonzo territory. She actually sounded like she really would vote for a black man for President. I was shocked! But then I must admit that I'm a bit judgmental when it comes to my parents, and you know that the moment a judgment is cast it's so difficult to alter the way we look at the dice. We've already made up our minds on the subject and the perspective is very persistent. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that this Gonzo attitude created such quick results and that's when the conversation took a turn down much more familiar territory.

She starts to tell me that there's one thing about Obama's campaign that she didn't really like. It was an image that appeared on her teevee of the candidate during his current worldwide tour. He was in Afghanistan, she tells me, with the troops and the thing that she complained about was that all of the troops around him were black. I was so stunned by the comment that I was struck silent as she waffled and hemmed and hahhed regarding whether that's how it truly was or if it was simply this one image that she saw...but yeah, she didn't like it.

This is the exact type of scenario that I'm talking about when I say that we can't remain quiet. Racism is alive and well in this country and this election is going to reveal this terrible fact quite dramatically, seeing and hearing it in obvious ways, without shame, and it'll also be revealed in many utterly subtle ways that most people won't even recognize. Like this vision that my Mother witnessed upon her network televised program of Barack Obama cavorting strictly with his fellow black folk. It was probably a small segment of the entire program, I really don't know because I refuse to watch that shite for this exact reason, but it was enough for my White Mother to be threatened by all of the blackness that Obama might bring along with his Presidency, like a step-cousin who can help but ruin the family reunion.

My first reaction was one of dismay, I mean, why would she think that Obama's campaign would plan something like that? Would they really only request soldiers with a certain skin hue? And how in the hell would that actually benefit his campaign? In fact, as my Mother pointed out, it could only hurt his view with White voters. So, once you ask these simple questions, it seems quite obvious to me that someone with the network manipulated the tape so that Barack Obama might take a step back along his triumphant march toward a better America. Someone who just happens to be a racist.

I don't even know what network it was, although one quickly comes to mind, but imagine what type of reaction all of the true racists out there had to that one. My Mother, who only seems racist some of the time and will quickly waffle about that fact whenever she reveals it, was pulled right into their scheme, hook line and sinker and I can guarantee that there were a lot of people out their who "just didn't like it" either. A lot of people who are searching for an excuse to follow their heart even though they know it's not the right thing to do, because the evil residing in that heart is eating them from the inside out and it is the reason that we're stuck in the stink. It's the heart of Bush Co. and it is the heart that will eventually destroy everything that we hold dear...

...if we let it.

(to be continued)



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