Monday, September 24, 2007


Ahmajinedad! Isn't that an accomplishment? I have learned to spell that name, which proves that visits by foreign personnel really does help Students of Learning. Our conflict with Iraq has always seemed unnecessary to me, doubly so now that the world knows our President wasn't exactly honest with the American people, but it certainly has helped my spelling. I can spell "jihad," and have some vague sense of its meaning. I have even declared a jihad myself, against that mouse that raided my cupboard nightly. I trapped him and killed him, then cried bitter tears at the sight of that little furry creature dead in my hand. I will never kill another mouse, because I bought a mousetrap and now I will transport them to live a happy existence in a forest somewhere. That's how liberal I am, with compassion for a mouse. All he wanted was a few cracker crumbs and access to my cupboard. What right had I to kill him, without a trial.

Anyway, this Middle Eastern war has helped, not only my spelling, but my Geography. I'll bet George Bush had to bone up on it, too, although he and his family had visited in Saudi several times, so he had to have had some knowledge of the geographical placement of Afghanistan.

Not me. Like Alan Jackson in his song, I had a little trouble distinguishing Iraq from Iran, and the same problem with Pakistan and Palestine. Back then, in my limited mind, these were faraway places with about as much importance to me as the Land of Oz, lands where there were Sheiks and Princes and all manner of different customs, with people wearing weird outfits, turbans and saris and veils over female faces, etc. So, not only have all of these wars helped my Geography, but they have really assisted my Social Studies.

So I have learned a lot reading about Middle Eastern countries, but it is still this country that puzzles me. Take Senator Larry Craig, for instance. He entered a Plea of Guilty in a Minnesota court and, this week, he will ask a judge to change that plea. Now, I can imagine the look on a judge's face if some unruly teenager asked for a change of a Guilty plea. I can imagine the whole history of arrest for a minor infraction like drinking or smoking a little pot, the probation, the fine, the court costs, the probation costs, etc. etc. and the Guilty plea.

Do you think a judge would ever allow this teenager to change his plea? In fact, do you think a judge would ever allow an average adult to change a plea, unless he were a U. S. Senator with powerful friends, plenty of money, and an urge to continue in political life?

I just hope Senator Craig, if this change of plea is successful, remembers to have the same compassion for others. But nothing he has done so far leads me to believe this is so. The first thing our illustrious legislator did, after the Men's Room Debacle, was vote against any kind of jurisdictional rights for Guantanamo prisoners, men who have been held without charges, without trials, for several years. It doesn't sound as though the Senator is filled with human feeling for these men, most of whom are said to be innocent of terrorism. It sounds as though the Senator only has human feeling when it comes to himself. When it concerns themselves, the Republicans are amazingly liberal. They are only strict Conservatives when it comes to the activities of other people.

They have filled the courts with these unfeeling, unsympathetic, stern and conservative judges, men who claim to be Christian but seem to have forgotten forgiveness, mercy or fair play. These judges have consistently lowered the boom on any case that smacks of liberal beliefs. So those of us who are living lives as average citizens will undoubtedly never get the same consideration that Senator Craig demands. I am no lawyer and sorting through Craig's case is not something I can decide. But Senator Craig IS a lawyer and must have known the meaning of a Guilty plea. To try to hide his indiscretions behind a plea of Guilty, then change his mind after his indiscretions become newspaper headlines somehow doesn't seem to be something you or I could do. We face the stern judges. He faces the might of a powerful position and the full support of a political agenda.

John Kennedy said it. Life ain't fair. It's one damned thing after another. It's one justice for the rich and the powerful and another for the common man. Perhaps it has been that way since the Stone Age. Perhaps the cavemen gave their leader a bigger slice of the moose. However, it does strike the heart as being totally unjust and makes one understand why that lady is blind.

So while I am learning to spell those difficult Middle Eastern names and struggling with the fact that every man in a turban seems to look exactly alike....while I am learning the global placement of various little countries that were unimportant to my life until lately....the real struggle is trying to understand the behavior in my own country. Sure, I can spell the names, but I can't understand why, in a country where all people are created equal, it seems that some people aren't.

It seems that Conservatives only insist upon Liberal treatment when they themselves are in trouble. That teen-ager, that Black, that Average Joe will never get the same understanding. When Bill Clinton was found to have had an affair with an intern, they were accusatory and brutal. They still are! But Newt Gingrich confessed an affair and has been forgiven. Rudy Guiliano had a messy divorce, a blatantly-obvious mistress, and all kinds of family and political problems, and he leads the way among the Republican candidates. Strom Thurmond, viciously bigoted, had a child by a 15 year old Black maid, and Republicans never mention it, even though they still send e-mails around about Clinton, so fearful are they that his wife will become President. How Liberal they are when it comes to their own! How their stern judgment changes when Newt or John McCain declare that God has forgiven them all of their indiscretions!

Then they become Liberals, demanding forgiveness, mercy, and all of the justice that Liberals have always defended. God help us all, if these hypocrites remain in their powerful seats!