Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Questions That I Have for the Secret Service

Here's a very funny blog entry, 10 questions by Jon Friedman. I wrote some comments, which follow, and I hope you will click the comment link and add your own two-cents worth as well. I'm curious what you think about the incident referred to in Friedman's blog and how you feel about this rather strange interim period we're going through right now.

  1. Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that shoe? [after clicking the link, scroll down to see video]
  2. Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that second shoe?
  3. Second shoe = the one thrown after being removed from foot after first shoe was thrown.
  4. Let's say people had three feet. Would you have allowed a third shoe to fly unimpeded?
  5. While the shoe was in the air, were you like, "Oh, its just a shoe."
  6. Same question about the second shoe.
  7. Do you think this is funny, "Throw a shoe at me once, shame on--you. Throw a shoe--you throw a shoe, you can't throw a shoe again."
  8. Is there not "protection training" for lunatics launching objects?
  9. Let's say there isn't training for that--but do they tell you that if someone does throw (or shoot) something to be on the alert in case they want to repeat this behavior?
  10. Where were you?
BONUS QUESTION: Do you think the Iraqis want us there? (Hint: their journalists are throwing their shoes at Bush)

This blog was originally posted here: http://www.236.com/blog/w/jon_friedman/questions_that_i_have_for_the_10713.php

You might find it interesting to read some of the commentary written about the Secret Service over the past couple of days, since Obama's life is going to depend on these guys doing a stellar job. Obama must be scratching his head right now and wondering why the hell he ever wanted to be president.


Here's why I haven't been posting here lately: I've been kind of tongue-tied since Obama was elected--I feel that because the way our system has been designed, we all had a LOT of power to effect huge change on November 4, and I worked very hard during the two years leading up to the election to wake up as many people as possible for that moment. And we truly succeeded, whether Obama turns out to be a great leader or not, because it's simply a fact that McCain/Palin was a national disaster in the making. Because of a wonderful aspect of our society that is still functional, i.e., that we can vote in a reasonably fair manner, we were able to literally win a war (McCain/Palin were actual enemies of regular working Americans, and we vanquished them!) in a matter of minutes, without a drop of blood being spilled.


But now that this incredibly powerful collective action is over, I feel quite powerless. One guy is saving some whales, a smart lady here in the Bay Area is saving some endangered smelt in the Delta, a guy at work is writing a blog about plug-in hybrid cars, but at this moment, America is still hemorrhaging money, still escalating its occupation of Afghanistan, still floating a huge armada off the Straights of Hormuz, ready to attack Iran at any moment, still creating 25 percent of the world's carbon emissions, still putting 6 percent of its black men in cages (prisons), etc.

Since we remain so fragmented politically, the chance for collective action is, at the moment, on hold. Most people are just freaking out about money, jobs, buying Christmas presents, etc. Since our system somewhat "worked" this November, I feel humbled, and it's a good thing for me. I no longer feel like I have to save the world. I'm a technical writer at a manufacturing company, and Obama is the leader of the free world. I'm finally content to lay back a bit and do my job, and hope that Obama will do his.

About Muntadar al-Zaidi, I simply must say something, even though Bush is well on his way out and you all must be sick of me talking about him. I personally have felt so incredibly oppressed by the Bush/Cheney government, so incredibly degraded, so very freaked out (absolutely like being stuck in a "Twilight Zone" episode without end!), that I just have to say something about Mr. al-Zaidi. He is the hero of Iraq and of all journalists everywhere, the man who threw two shoes spot-on at Bush's head and delivered one of the most eloquent speeches ever, all in approximately 4 seconds.

Here's his speech:
"This is a farewell kiss, you dog," he yelled in Arabic as he threw his shoes. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

Some people asked to be removed from my mailing list when I mass e-mailed this link, which just gives an evenhanded account of the shoe-throwing incident. Since it's BBC, they gave Bush more time to talk about the meaning of the attack than our media did. I suppose some people thought it was offensive that I seemed to delight in an Iraqi throwing a shoe at our president. But it's not quite that simple. I've just been feeling incredibly oppressed by the weight of the ignorance of almost half of all American adults, who could vote for Sarah Palin with a straight face and could actually consider this moron fit to lead our great, powerful, modern, free country! I guess it was a relief for me to see someone finally act genuine, instead of going along with the charade that Bush is a real president and that somehow what he's doing makes sense.

And this shoe throwing incident expressed perfectly the feelings of several billion people on our small planet. Having been an English major (BA and MA in English), I really like symbols and metaphors, and this shoe attack, a sign of huge disrespect in the Arab world, was a perfect symbol for the outrage I feel at how my country has been abused, ripped off, and despoiled, and how we've been forced to finance the murder of a million people with our tax dollars and with the future labor of our children, who will pay back China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia the money our government borrowed to accomplish it.

According to Robert Kennedy Jr., for half the cost of the Iraq invasion and occupation, we could have built a new electricity grid, making it possible for wind farmers and solar power collectors to effectively put the power they generate onto the grid and sell it. We could have been free, in short order, of all need for oil from the Middle East. If you get a chance, download the speech linked above and put it on your MP3 player. It will blow your mind.

I heard that
Muntadar al-Zaidi has a broken arm and that he's been sentenced to 2-7 years in prison. I think that since he's a national hero, he probably won't have to do all that time, and the misfortunes he's going through right now might give him some real "street cred" that will allow him later on to be a policy maker instead of a policy protester.

Take care, and happy holidays to all!