“If I was president, this [Israeli-Lebanon-Gaza conflict] wouldn’t havehappened.”—Sen. John Kerry
Sometimes, the world just sucks.
It’s nobody’s fault. It’s not a sign of the end times. Life on earth is an e-ticket ride and you never know if the next turn will be a thrilling rush toward the sky, or a stomach-turning plunge straight down.
Is it fair? Is it good? No. It’s just life.
And in life, as in comedy, timing is everything. Some American generations get “the era of good feelings” or the “return to normalcy.” Others get stuck with the Civil War or the Great Depression. Whose fault is that?
I was lucky. I was too young to enjoy the stagflation, gas lines, and Watergate of the 1970s. By the time I started paying attention, Ronald Reagan was president, the economy was booming, and the Commies were on the ropes. I began my married life just in time for the Clinton ’90s, the decade of rising stocks and falling pants. How great was that?
Now consider my grandfather’s generation. During the Depression, Ray Futrell was a teenager stealing food from street vendors in Tulsa, Okla. to survive. His reward was an all-expenses paid trip to Europe, where he was greeted warmly by German soldiers in Panzer tanks. He spent the rest of his life back in the U.S., paying taxes to fund the Cold War and living under the daily threat of nuclear annihilation.
What did I do right? What did my grandfather do wrong? Nothing. I just got lucky.
But the world does turn, and the 20 years of Reaganomics and Monica jokes had to come to an end. And it did, over the skies of New York and in the rubble of the Pentagon.
And so here we are. Wars are raging in Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and a dozen other backwaters most of us have never heard of. Loonies in North Korea and Iran are grasping for nuclear weapons, and Islam-inspired terrorism reaches from Canada to Australia. The only continent spared thus far is Antarctica, and even penguins are beginning to glance nervously about for signs of Al Qaeda.
The world economy, outside China and India, is wobbly at best. Democracy itself faces its greatest challenge since World War II, as advocates of Islam and “multiculturalism” openly dismiss the idea that freedom is inherently superior to fealty. In the West, self-described liberals argue unapologetically that some cultures are incapable of rational self-government.
In other words, we have returned to the world of suck.
Sen. Kerry and other obsessed Bush-bashers insist that this is the world George W. hath wrought. What embarrassing nonsense. Why not blame Noah for the flood?
The era of Middle Eastern strongmen governing their Islamist masses at the behest of Western powers is simply over. It probably ended when the Iranian Islamists took the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, but it certainly ended on 9/11. Once again, nobody’s fault. It just happened.
Sen. Kerry says that some magical American foreign policy would have brought peace to the Middle East and had Hamas and Hezbollah hugging rabbis in the streets of Haifa. Oh, really? And that foreign policy would be…?
Angry motorists pump $3 regular unleaded into their tanks and curse the house of Bush. But what did Bush, or any other world leader, have to do with the surging economies in China and India sucking oil off the world market at the same moment that supplies and refinery capacity have flattened?
We could try to pretend that Libya, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea haven’t all been trying to develop WMDs for the past 20 years. We could try to pretend that all of these countries weren’t lying about their weapons programs the entire time. We can refuse to acknowledge that, thanks to the U.S., only two of those countries are still in the weapons business. We can ignore the fact that two too many still remain.
What could anyone have done about any of the macro-political forces roiling across the world — Islamism, the spread of WMD technology, the rapidly-changing global economy cruelly choosing winners and losers in the worldwide marketplace?
Bush created all this? Please. Like the rest of us, he’s riding a wave in history, a wave that at the moment is carrying us perilously close to danger.
Grown-ups understand that the problem isn’t neo-conservatism or progressive liberalism or Marxist revolutionary lesbianism. In fact, there isn’t a “problem” at all.
It’s life. And sometimes, it just plain sucks. Stay cool. Support City Paper. City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.