after spending 4 months in scotland last year, and after getting into many different conversations with scots about american politics and the iraq war, i came to the startling realization that i felt like i finally had met my match when it came to american politics. by this, i mean that i finally was able to meet a group of people that knew a lot about what was going on my country, and could have a (more than) halfways intelligent discussion about it. how strange, and so depressing, that i had to go to ANOTHER COUNTRY in order for this to happen.
sad, but true: i generally “turn off” when it comes to the news, but this is mostly in part because of the fact that our news is biased. it doesn’t matter which way it’s biased, it’s still biased. and while fox news (or “faux news” as i’ve taken to calling them) is laughably conservative in nature (i’m looking at you, mr. murdoch), msnbc tends to be more liberal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not biased. news outlets are privately owned by wealthy individuals who are most likely republican, seeing as they want to preserve their wealth by having a much smaller government who isn’t looking over their shoulders at all of their assets. the question then becomes: who do you trust?
right now, i’m reading a book called “no end in sight,” and while i’m only 63 pages (of 575) into the book, i’ve already realized that i knew absolutely NOTHING about what has been going on in iraq, and exactly how enormous of an influence american politics has played in the current status of the nation.
it’s a very difficult book to read, and while at times, the content is a bit “dry” for lack of a better word, it’s also difficult in the sense that while reading it, sometimes i want to throw the book across the room and punch a wall, or a person (donald rumsfeld or dick cheney, in particular). i’m pissed off that the bush administration was the representative of our country for so long, and that they ran our country into the ground (economically speaking), created a domino effect with other countries, and lost favor with many of them in the process. the only solace i have as a foreign american traveling to other countries is that i can proudly state that i never voted for bush, which is pretty slight, given the vast atrocities that the bush administration incurred over the course of 8 years.
the author of “no end in sight,” (charles ferguson) while leaning a bit to the left, wanted to create a factual account of the occurrences during the iraq war, and it ended up turning into an exposé, of sorts. while many advisors on military occupation and post-war experts offered their opinions on how the department of defense could best handle the war, rumsfeld and cheney completely disregarded their opinions and decided that what they already determined as the best course of action was…the best course of action. because of course, they were elected to office, and their opinion was gold, right? let’s not discuss the fact that neither of them had seen the front lines of battle, and that the vice president never served due to five (count ‘em, FIVE) draft deferments during the vietnam war. yet men in the State Department (including Republican Colin Powell) who had decades of military experience, and even men who had incredibly thorough knowledge of iraq, offered their expertise on how to handle the war, and were essentially blown off, because, well, the decision had already been made. (i think this is one of the main reasons why colin powell eventually resigned. i wouldn’t want to be associated with the subsequent fuck-up of the iraq war, either.)
i’ve spent a good portion of my life not paying attention to these issues, and man, i’ll tell ya, it’s a much easier and happier life. but i’ve decided that educating myself on what’s going on in america is worth the unrest, anger and frustration, because at least i KNOW. i’m not just shooting off at the hip and spouting political platitudes about how great my political party is. i’m doing the research, talking to people – both republican and democrat – and reading a LOT.
i know that my blog has become increasingly left-leaning by nature, and i apologize to those of my readers who either lean to the right (mostly my family), or those who don’t give a shit either way. i don’t want to marginalize my readers by being so, but at the same time, i can’t help but be LIVID that people that the majority of us entrusted our nation to, were so completely short-sighted and close-minded. so many lives have been needlessly lost as a result of these things, and i feel helpless to do anything about it. the only way for me to get these things off of my chest is for me to write about it. getting into conversations about politics or religion with my family is a completely futile effort, and the majority of people who live in this city just can’t see where i’m coming from. to say that i’m frustrated would be an understatement.
so, i gracefully bow out from this blog entry, knowing that this will likely NOT be the last entry that i post on politics OR religion, and hope that you don’t all unsubscribe, or stop reading, or whatever (if you haven’t already).
is it sad that i’m drunk after a martini and 3 glasses of scotch and i’m blogging about politics?