Don’t Get Me Started

George C. Scott as General PattonI keep thinking that maybe I should share some political opinions here, and then I think, why? I’m sick to death of political opinionating. To believe all the ranting and raving, you have to accept that everyone involved in politics is a liar, a cheat, and a braggart, and I don’t trust any of the liberal or conservative propagandists. Why should I? They don’t talk about me, after all.

And then I think, maybe I should say something about the recent shootings and murders that have flooded our news headlines. But what can I say that hasn’t been said by someone else? And if I try to write something light-hearted and uplifting about those events, I’ll offend someone.

Of course, I offend some people just because I breathe, so some of you may think, “Hey, Michael, don’t let that stop you.”

About the most politically significant thing I have done in my life was move to Florida for a few months in 2004. I tell my friends (many of whom voted for the other loser in the election) that I moved there just long enough to help President Bush secure an uncontested block of electoral votes from the Sunshine State. I haven’t heard from some of those friends in a while. Can’t they take a joke?

Of course, I did write a letter to Time Magazine about our exit strategy (or lack of one) in Iraq at the end of last year. It’s not that I agree with the decision to go into Iraq. It’s that I disagree with the stupidity of leaving before the job is done. Can we do the job? Well, I suppose that depends on how many more stupid things we do while we’re there. You’d think a few more people would have realized that letting certain religious groups use the police force to form death squads would not help calm things down.

So, there remains a lack of intelligence in Washington despite a change in regimes. About all we can hope for now is that Al Qaeda continues to get chased out of every Arab and Muslim country the way the Iraqis ran them out. Every time I hear about a new Al Qaeda tape or message promising more suicide bombers, I think of George C. Scott’s monologue at the beginning of “Patton”: “No soldier ever won a war by giving his life for his country. You win wars by making your enemy give his life for his country.” Someone, perhaps my father, told me that every sentence or nearly every sentence in that monologue was actually uttered by Patton himself.

And crass though it may sound, Al Qaeda’s bizarre strategy seems to be to make the American soldiers suffer by slaughtering as many innocent Iraqi children as they possibly can. About the only people more stupid than Al Qaeda’s surviving strategists are our anti-war movement. I’m proud to say that Hispanic Americans got out in force and mounted a much larger protest against proposed anti-immigration legislation than people have shown support for the anti-war movement. We may want to leave Iraq as soon as possible, but we ain’t quite yet got another case of the total national stupids.

Although if I were running the government, I’d be giving serious consideration to running some major television ads in Iraq which say, “Dear Insurgents: The sooner you stop killing Iraqi children, the sooner we can go home and leave you in peace. Then you can destroy each other for all we care.” Can the message be made any more clear than that? I dunno. But maybe it’s too late for common sense now. Still, one fact that the American government has failed to convey to the Muslim world is that when you attack Americans, you attack Muslims and Arabs, too. The blood of every nation on Earth runs in our veins. The creed of every faith is spoken here.

As for the immigration issue, yes, I was born in the United States and I don’t speak very good Spanish. But my father is an immigrant, my mother’s father was an immigrant, her maternal grandfather was an immigrant — every generation going back to the 1800s in my family married an immigrant.

Maybe we should just pack up all the anti-immigration people and put them on the first boat back to Europe where their pure-blood families came from. We don’t need their kind here. They’re probably the people who sent all the tech jobs overseas to Asia anyway. Have you tried to call customer service for a company you do business with lately?

I’ve been to India. There are some very, very nice people there. And their poverty rate is extreme. I paid a guy 50 rupees (not very much money at all) to carry my suitcase 25 feet in an airport. I could have carried it myself. In fact, it had wheels on it. I was dragging it just fine. But he looked me in the eye and said with all the pride any man can muster, “I support my family by doing this for you. Is that so wrong?”

No. It’s not wrong. And I didn’t need the 50 rupees where I was going (home) anyway. On the other hand, India has so many people, they have as many (if not now more) college-educated and technically trained people as the United States. And they are very smart, very capable people.

Unlike Bill Gates who, instead of lobbying for programs to retrain thousands of American programmers who can no longer find jobs here because their industry segments have become obsolete, keeps asking the government to increase the number of work visas so he can bring more Indian programmers over here and train them to work for Microsoft. What, they don’t ask for as many stock options as we do or something? Sheesh!

Well, anyway, like I said, don’t get me started. I’m just not going to devote my precious blog space to these kinds of rants.