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At the moment. The current juncture. This place where we’ve found ourselves. My fingers get all tangled up in the keys and when I pound the desk in frustration it makes an ominous croak. I can speak well enough, though I have to make an effort to keep my voice down and all my jokes are brittle and if I’ve snapped at you in the past few days, it’s not your fault, and I am sorry. Sometimes my hands curl into fists when I’m not looking. It’s not that I really want to hit anybody because I’ve never hit anybody in my life but I want to hit somebody only that wouldn’t do any good, not any good at all. And it’s not the people who did the things they’ve done that I want to hit. It’s the people who say that what was done was okay, was fine, was what we’d all do anyway, was the American way, was gay feminist pornography, was what has to be done to get anywhere in this world, was nothing more than they deserved, was no big deal, was free speech. And I want to call them monsters because they are saying monstrous things but I can’t call them monsters. I can’t hit them. I can’t snap a baton against the backs of their knees and force them to kneel in fear before a snarling dog for the horrible things they’ve said, that they pretend I ought to believe. I can’t put hoods over their heads to shut them up. I can’t hit them. I can’t pretend I am better than this by pretending they are less than human because that’s how we get into these messes in the first place. But it is up to us to do something: God is away on business, and reason’s been asleep for four years or more, and every time they open their mouths monsters leap from their tongues and, and I can’t keep up, my arms won’t reach. Somebody’s locked up all the soapboxes. And just when I need my words the most to let the 300 or so people who come by here know that I feel just as outraged as they do themselves—

I am ashamed. I am appalled. I can’t countenance a country that happily lets the likes of Rush Limbaugh set the moral tone, and cheerfully pretends that James Inhofe adequately represents them. I can’t imagine a country that would so blithely condone the manifest incompetency of the people who claim to govern us. I can’t understand why we aren’t in the streets right now with torches and pitchforks, howling.

(Or maybe hide under the covers with my books and my cats and my wife until it all Goes Away in November when we vote them all out of office and we wake up from this horrible dream and everyone understands it was all a terrible misunderstanding and all the dead people stand up smiling and they apologize sweetly for playing such an awful trick on us but it’s over now and then there is a parade.)

My heart races sometimes and the corners of my eyes get wet and I feel that choke in the back of my throat and I wonder why until I remember and then my stomach drops. My hands curl into fists when I’m not looking but there are no holes in the wall. Yet.

  1. Dan Layman-Kennedy    May 11, 03:06 PM    #
    Thank you.

  2. Christopher    May 11, 04:19 PM    #

  3. PZ Myers    May 11, 04:45 PM    #
    Hit them? We don't even get to strip them naked and point mocking fingers at their genitals shriveling beneath pudgy rolls of flesh.

    And that's too bad. I'd like to see these monsters cowering in shame.

  4. Christopher    May 11, 04:49 PM    #
    i know it sounds crass and too overblown rabid at first, but i think the subtlety speaks through. it sums up way too much to be accidental ravings. Referring to how Tom Waits so succinctly put similar sentiments:

    I'd sell your heart to the junkman baby
    For a buck, for a buck
    If you're looking for someone
    to pull you out of that ditch
    You're out of luck, you're out of luck

    The ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking
    There's leak, there's a leak,
    in the boiler room
    The poor, the lame, the blind
    Who ore the ones that we kept in charge
    Killers, thieves, and lawyers

    God's Away, God's away
    God's away on Business. Business. God's Away,
    God's Away God's Away on Business. Business.

    Digging up the dead with
    a shovel and a pick
    It's a job, it's a job
    Bloody moon rising with
    a plague and a flood
    Join the mob, join the mob
    It's all over. It's all over, It's all over
    There's a leak, there's a leak,
    in the boiler room
    The poor, the lame, the blind
    Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
    Killers, thieves, and lawyers
    God's away. God's away, God's away
    On Business. Business.
    God's away, God's away. God's away
    On Business.

    Goddamn there's always such
    a big temptation
    To be good, To be good
    There's always free cheddar in
    a mousetrap, baby
    It's a deal, it's a deal
    God's away, God's away, God's away
    On Business. Business.
    I narrow my eyes like a coin slot baby,
    Let her ring, let her ring
    God's Away, God's Away
    God's Away on Business.

  5. Glenn    May 11, 04:51 PM    #
    At the risk of sounding like a bad thing: ditto.

  6. Christopher    May 11, 04:52 PM    #
    "God away on business," which you referred to, of course. Doh. No wonder it popped in my head.

    I'm like the guy in swingers leaving the follow-up-follow-up-answering-machine-message.

    Back to Bruno.

  7. Bill Humphries    May 11, 06:13 PM    #
    And the butcherer's bill has started coming due; http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1214773,00.html

    Christopher, thanks for the Waits, we needed that.

    I have friends and coworkers who have to travel world wide. I'm worried that they may not be able to leave the country. Hell, we may be no safer here.

    I cannot imagine anyone buying into the excuses given by the chattering classes.

  8. Pharyngula    May 11, 08:55 PM    #
    Inhofe ain't nothin'.
    Jebus. http://www.pabaah.com. Thanks, Jim, for mentioning this freak show in the comments.
    Well, here's the appropriate response to beheading an American:  For every town where an American contractor or soldier

  9. Elkins    May 12, 02:36 AM    #

    Tersely yours,
    (and for the same reasons)

  10. Kevin Moore    May 12, 09:54 AM    #
    Last night, I'm feeding the baby, who happily vaccuums the formula from the bottle like a black hole, and ABC news is on and they're rehearsing the Big Story of the day (y'know, the Senate hearings) and then, hey, how does Nick Berg's beheading figure into all this, they wonder, so let's hear the conservative reaction, only they chose Sean Hannity, who's no conservative, he's a raging fascist loon, but here's what he says: "Now do we see the difference between mistreatment and an atrocity?"

    I shut off the tube, not so much in disgust, but in a naive hope that I might protect my child from such poison.

  11. Modulator    May 12, 11:22 AM    #
    What to do?
    Yes! Just why aren't we in the streets right now with torches and pitchforks, howling? NB: I saw a link to this early this morning at PZ's place but did not go read it then....

  12. David Tiley    May 13, 01:57 AM    #
    I dunno about the chattering classes.

    Right now my talkative, educated, considerating, on-the-other-hand teeth are chattering with RAGE.

    Dump them in November and do the world a favour.

  13. BARISTA    May 13, 02:05 AM    #
    soft tissue, quivering rage
    I re-found a fine biologists' site - Pharyngula - who is fascinated by strange things with tentacles. "Why have Cambrian arthropods not been caught in the act of moulting before?" The question has bothered me for weeks. The answer, by...

  14. Helen    May 13, 02:34 AM    #
    Thanks Kip.

  15. Rana    May 13, 12:12 PM    #
    Thank you.

  16. Brave and true    May 17, 01:03 AM    #
    Yes please people of America: dump them in November (that's actually a good sounding slogan, simple and to the point.) Seems to me you've got to get out and persuade the non-voters to register and vote. Tell them every vote counts. It can work, it has to. Otherwise what might the next 4 years bring?

  17. Notes from the Tundra    May 20, 06:43 PM    #
    Empire of Dreams
    In the dream I am talking to a man with a slow, pleasant southern US drawl. I cannot see my interlocutor's face. Then, this is not unusual. The people I speak with in my dreams are often faceless. "Better to...

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