“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – opening sentence of George Orwell’s “1984.”
Hoisting his "Italian-made Perazzi 28-gauge shotgun" to his shoulder as he wheeled his body around to face quail scared up from the thick grass, the Vice President of the United States took aim and fired. Struck by birdshot in the face, neck and chest, Harry Whittington, Republican booster and friend to the Vice President, immediately dropped to the ground, seriously wounded. Several days later, having recovered from being shot by the second most powerful man in the world, a bruised and battered, 78 year-old Whittington emerged from Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas and delivered a statement to the group of reporters that had gathered outside. In the statement Whittington counted his blessings and thanked his doctors for their caring and "exceptional" treatment. Oh, and he apologized...to the man that shot him.
"My family and I are deeply sorry for all that vice president Cheney has had to go through this past week. We send our love and respect to them as they deal with situations that are much more serious than what we’ve had this week."
How powerful do you have to be to shoot somebody in the face with a shotgun only to have the shooting victim apologize to you for the inconvenience? Seriously.
With all that has happened in this country over the last several years I was beginning to believe that there wasn't much left that could actually surprise me. A stolen 2000 election, a horrifying terrorist attack, the squandering of global good will and cooperation, the failed hunt for the mastermind behind the attacks that murdered 3,000 Americans, a destructive and disasterous war based on lies, thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers, a hundred thousand dead Iraqis, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, huge tax cuts for the rich, corporate cronyism run amok, the reelection of a President that ignored a daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” the American government torturing, wire-tapping, spying on its own citizens, a major American city wiped off the map due to gross negligence while the President vacationed .......... etc, etc, etc. It was as if, after years of this type of shit, my capacity to truly be surprised had completely eroded. Outrage, anger, indignation, depression, sadness, anxiety - all of that was and is still present but the prospect of something happening that would somehow arouse an inkling of surprise seemed impossible by early 2006.
And yet there I sat staring at the teevee, dumfounded. As the VPOTUS was
What is the story being pushed by "the party?" Am I witnessing "Winston Smith's" handiwork?
I guess that is where this blog comes from – I think that I might like to write about these things - and anything else I am interested in for that matter. I don’t want to label it, whatever “it” is. This is simply an exercise I’m feeling the need to try. Maybe I’ll stick with it this time. Who knows?
Maybe the 1984 imagery is premature and over-the-top but I’m nervous about the path “we” have chosen. That path, in my estimation, seems to be headed straight for fascism and this country seems to be willingly, happily, “patriotically” going along for the ride. We may not be “there” yet but we certainly appear to be on our way. For what its worth, these are my thoughts.
“Fascism doesn’t start with concentration camps. That’s where it ends.”