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I’m Perturbed as Heck
By Cindy Sheehan
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
“I’m human, goddamnit, and my life counts!”
Howard Beale, Network 1971
In Paddy Chaefsky’s brilliant movie, Network, news anchor, Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch who was awarded an Oscar posthumously for his remarkable performance) screams out: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” and then we see people all over the city leaning out their windows, screaming the same refrain.
In 1971, when the movie was made, our country was still deeply mired in Vietnam and we were under the creepy thumb of the criminal and deadly, Nixon regime. It’s a good thing that in 1974 our country had some courageous Congress Reps who were willing to stand up to the machine and begin impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon which included three articles: Article 1: Obstruction of Justice (Bush: Outing Valerie Plame and commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence, etc); Article II: Abuse of Power (Bush: signing statements, suspending Habeas Corpus, Patriot Act, violating the crap out of FISA, Military Commission’s Act, etc), Article III: Contempt of Congress (Bush: not allowing any of his aides to testify and ignoring subpoenas, etc). The full House committee unfortunately rejected an Article that was introduced to impeach Nixon for the illegal secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos.
It’s also amazing that the past Congress passed some important legislation while a committee was investigating the impeachment of the Tricky Dick (we now have a Trickier Dick!) As my friend, and member of that committee, former New York rep, Liz Holtzman, often says; “Congress can chew gum and walk at the same time.” The present leadership of the House does not have similar confidence in Congress’ ability to do its Constitutionally mandated job, perhaps because they are too busy handing over to BushCo more of our freedoms. Maybe we are expecting too much, it is conceivable that Congress cannot chew gum, walk AND simultaneously abdicate its responsibility to be a check and balance on this tyrannical Bush regime.
With the Speaker of the House wanting to “work with” BushCo to systematically excise our freedoms, and Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid blaming the latest power-give away on the Republicans, when 16 Senate Democrats shockingly voted “yea” one wonders when America is going to get “mad as hell.” Right now I think our mantra is: “I’m perturbed as heck and I am going to take it as long as they dish it.” Sitting behind a computer and blasting off “angry” emails to your reps is not good enough: Even if you include some “f” words. Hiding behind your job and bills and not hitting the streets in massive numbers just gives Congress Inc and BushCo tacit approval to run our ship of state further up onto the rocks. We are getting the country and world that we deserve.
One day, in fact it was August 3, 2005, I was making my laptop fairly smoke with righteous indignation and white-hot anger at the horrible and needless deaths of 14 more Marines from the Ohio Reserves. I had been out all over the country working my tookas off for change, but feeling like I was getting nowhere, even though, everywhere I went my fellow Americans were just as pissed as I was. A hopeless feeling of helplessness practically immobilized us all. While I was typing an email that day expressing all of these thoughts, I had a brainstorm: To go down to Crawford, TX after the VFP convention in Dallas to confront George about his manipulative “noble cause.” On August 6th, we marched down Prairie Chapel Road and into a veritable doodoo-storm of media attention. I think around about the 5th day, a photographer finally agreed with me that it was a “media circus,” and most of us are familiar with the Camp Casey story. One thing we learned that summer was attention does not mandate policy adjustment.
Although much has changed in the USA: public opinion of George and his war of choice for profit have tanked and Congress changed in November ’06, everything else has gotten worse. Besides the obvious loss of our freedoms, BushCo in tandem with Congress Inc, has increased worldwide Islamic Jihadism and fueled intense hatred of US corporate imperialism. The dead and mutilated bodies keep piling up in Iraq and the flag-draped coffins are surging home under the mainstream media’s radar. The people of Baghdad have gone without water for days now and anyone of us can go to any faucet in our homes and pour ourselves a glass of safe water. The Iraqis are human, goddamnit, and their lives count, too! By our inaction, we form a union of callousness and violence with our federal employees.
535 members of Congress are about to go on undeserved vacations while our troops and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering under the most direst of circumstances and BushCo are poised to invade Iran and we all know Gonzo may have to resign and George will use the sleazy recess appointment process to foist another criminal on us.
Congress and BushCo have dismal approval ratings, but what does that say about “We the People?” It says that in our Representative Republic, “We” have no say. That’s because many of us believe that our responsibilities in that Representative Republic are fulfilled in the voting booth. If we don’t stand up to the people whom we employ and pay and make sure our votes count literally and for what we stand for, then we are doomed to being ruled by the ruthless elite who get their legislative orders from the special interests.
As Congressman John Conyers wrote over a year ago in his fabulous treatise on the crimes of BushCo called, Constitution in Crisis, “We have seen so many transgressions by this Administration that it is easy to forget last week's scandal amid this week's new outrage. I am hopeful that compiling all of these events of the last few years will help wake all of us up to the gravity of these matters and the cumulative damage to our country.”
Wake up America…the situation is indeed grave and we have three branches of government (and a complicit “fourth estate”) that are committed to politics and profits before people.
Nothing is going to change until we put people before the politics of profit or the profit of politics.