Sunday, September 11, 2005

Watch this


This was on Salon.com If you need to sign up for the Salon account to view it, do it. It is a great online mag anyway. The video "The Blame Game" outlines the move of how this has become politicized, yet people are still dying. The beginning features a sickening scene by the press secretary. Scott McClellan is such a bad spokesman. Awful really.

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Things are especially amiss in our land. We are Americans. We are far better than this.

I was talking to my buddy Patrick. I used to box with him years back. He weighs about 170 or so and has very effective short punches. He now does mostly triathlons. Patrick is originally from Belfast and moved to the US about sixteen years ago. He has told me the very reasons he got the hell out. The sectarian war had engulfed his world. It affects all parts of society. His mother is there. He went back to visit a few years ago to visit mom and a few old friends. And while he was there he was reminded of why he moved to the United States.

He was hanging out with an old friend, a young Catholic lady in Belfast over the holidays. He was having a good time, but she wanted to go back to her neighborhood and have a drink. They went to an after hours bar in the Catholic neighborhood. Patrick had always gotten a hard time because his name was Patrick. From when he was a kid to even when he enrolled in the Royal Navy at 16. He is not Catholic. Now when he was in the bar a drunk fella started to rail on him. The guy kept saying "you look like a Protestant politician!!" Patrick told me he knew if they had found out he was Protestant, they very well likely have ganged up and given him a beating. He knew if they asked him the Lord's Prayer he would have been done for. Apparently that happens. The thugs in Belfast are thick in both neighborhoods. They are allowed to be out in society on all sorts of levels. I can only be thankful that I did not grow up there. It might not have been a good situation.

I was talking to Patrick last Friday night and he told me just how much he knows that Americans can be far better than we are right now.

I was out once protesting the fact that Margaret Thatcher was speaking on the campus of Saint Louis University. A good friend of mine put this together. I was working with him to get Gerry Adams to come to campus. I still think it is awful that SLU would pay money to such a woman as Thatcher to speak on our campus. She militarized Northern Ireland and restricted the rights of the people and Catholics in particular in an unprecedented fashion. There was an active ghettoization of Catholic neighborhoods with giant walls. People can be detained without lawyers. I was in Belfast about eight years ago. I was given a black cab tour of the Catholic ghetto and the neighboring Protestant neighborhood. The cab driver was voluntarily giving information that things were completely out of hand. The guy knew what was going on in the streets of Belfast. He showed us the plastic bullets that have killed hundreds over the years. He kept it in a cardboard tube so the authorities wouldn't obviously see it. He showed us the murals. He took us to the IRA HQ. He showed us the military bases. He showed us where people were detained without a lawyer or being allowed to contact family. He showed us murals of the Ulster Defense Force. Loyalist men were wearing face masks and armed with AK 47s. It had black marks all over it, for someone had firebombed it the night before. It was painted on the side of an apartment building. It is crazy. The cab driver was not Catholic, he was Protestant. All he wanted to do was stay out of it, but he lived in the middle of it. It is so sad.

I saw Patrick at this protest. He was headed in to see Margaret Thatcher. I went over and spoke to him. Just a smile to each other and some chatter. I then went back in to the protest line.

Patrick said that we got some problems here in the United States. Serious problems. And they stem directly at the federal level. His sister who moved here first says the same thing.

This is not good. I wish I could say I was surprised.

He said Americans are far better than this. He knows this because he has been here for sixteen years. He knows all sorts of people. He is right. We are Americans. We are far, far, far better than this. We need to work harder and do something about this.

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It looks like the Post sent down a second team. Tim O'Neil and JB Forbes. They are right in the thick of it. It is interesting. All of it is in the paper. I worry that the Post is going to cut back on this kind of necessary reporting with this new ownership.

I can only hope that they stop promising to "not cut any news", instead just giving more weight to investigative pieces. Exploratory pieces. They are the only print source in town of active hard news. They can add in more weight on anaysis stuff right now if they wanted to, but they refuse to bring in any of this younger element to fill out the ranks. Step up. Step up.

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On a lighter note, and much needed, the food network tv show thing about the Royale is going to be showing on Tuesday at 8:30.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, when are you gonna blog about the TV show?

6:54 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Seriously, Ari Fleischer was so much better at dodging substantive questions. Graceful, even, but he quit. When Scott McClellan does it, it just looks clumsy and oafish.

6:28 PM  

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