In our characteristic hubris, the United States has looked down its collective nose at Latin American countries for years. Noted American writer, William Sydney 'O. Henry' Porter, coined the phrase "Banana Republic" with respect to Latin America. Banana Republic was a pejorative phrase designed to describe many countries in Latin America that were run by a ruling class of corrupt elite, while the majority of the population slaved in the 'fields' raising bananas, and scraped out a living engaged in other menial pursuits. What most people don't know, however, is when O. Henry coined that phrase, he was looking down his nose from Ohio State Penitentiary for his own act of embezzlement. That seems to be a pattern within the American perspective--just like O. Henry, we tend to see the shortcomings of others with a visual acuity that's totally lost when we look in the mirror at our selves.
So in the great tradition of O. Henry, I thought I'd coin a new adage of my own: Before pointing your finger at others, you should smell it first. I doubt that it will go down as one of the great moments in American literature, but it's a good rule of thumb for most our corporate and government officials, and also, many of our incognizant citizens. Because the United States is well on it's way to establishing its own affliction of social governance, I call it the Bandana Republic. It refers to the growing tradition of rampant corruption and unfettered crime in America. Corruption has become so pervasive among our political and corporate leadership in the past six years, that the president and all of his cronies should feel obliged to wear bandanas before facing the American people.
After all, Jesse James and a myriad of other bandits, cut-throats, and thieves, made wearing the bandana a tradition while ravaging the lives of their victims but then, they had a grudging respect for the people they plundered. They knew that their victims didn't appreciate what was happening to them, and they knew the plundered would be determined to bring them to justice for their actions. But the Bush Mob is so arrogant that they go necked-faced, because they have absolutely no respect for America's intelligence, or our ability to figure out that we've been shafted. Therefore, they have absolutely no fear of retribution--and they seem to be right, because in many ways the situation in United States is even worse than in the so called Banana Republics.
In Latin America, the people know what's being done to them; they're simply powerless to do anything about it. But in our case, the vast majority of social conservatives are accessories in their own victimization. They're willing to throw themselves on their swords, as long as they can be convinced that minorities won't get a break; they're sort of, Kamikazes for injustice, as it were. I heard one of them call in to CSPAN's Washington Journal the other morning. He said, "I don't appreciate anyone calling my president a liar!" I found myself screaming at the television set at 4 a.m. in the morning; "But sir, your president is a liar--a damn liar--and his lies are killing you!" But they just don't care.
Then we have the Pelosi-minded Democrats, who we elected to come to our rescue. These people are just as bad as Bush. Like Bush and Cheney, these people have turned their backs on their constituencies and what's in the best interest of the American people for the sole purpose of furthering their own interests. Instead of following their mandate, they've chosen instead, to feather their own nests and Democrats shouldn't forget that during the next primary election. We should replace Pelosi, and everyone else who reminds us of her, just to remind these representatives who control the agenda. We've got to make sure that they're more afraid of us than they are the Republican base.
It's become clear, with the exception of just a handful of people who have shown exceptional integrity, that we've allowed an entire class of bandits to spring up around us "they've stolen our trust, they've stolen our support, in fact, they stole their offices. And in the case of Republicans, they've stolen everything that wasn't nailed down, and many things that were..." including America's reputation in the eyes of the world. But I've got to give them one thing, they have maintained America's tradition of being the best, they've shown every Banana Republic, and the world at large, that even when it comes to corruption, no one in the world can do it better. Allow me to give you an example:
Tim Griffin, the United States Attorney for the state of Arkansas just resigned. He resigned just a matter of hours after BBC Television's Newsnight program reported that Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, requested the network's evidence that Griffin was involved in 'caging votes' during the 2004 presidential election.
As United States Attorney for the State of Arkansas, Griffin was this nation's top law enforcement officer in the state. The United States Department of Justice assigns one U.S. Attorney for each state in the union. They are mandated with the responsibility of enforcing all of the laws of the United States of America in their jurisdiction. So he was, literally, the walking, breathing, personification of the law of the land in the state of Arkansas. He is the direct representative of George W. Bush in his state, and hand picked by Karl Rove, Bush's closest adviser. Yet he is accused of stealing away our troops' right to vote. That's right, you heard me correctly. With all of the administration's claims of loving, respecting, and supporting our troops, while they're in Iraq 'dying for this country,' the Bush administration was at home taking away their right to vote.
The caging scheme worked like this: While African-American troops were deployed in Iraq, the Republican Party sent election material to their homes in envelopes mark "Do not forward." Then when the Republicans got the envelopes back marked "Undeliverable as Addressed," they used that to claim that the individuals had moved, which disqualified them from voting in their home districts. So when these African-American soldiers, sailors, and marines mailed in their votes from overseas, they were all disqualified.
What that means is, the Bush administration, "these lovers, respecters, and supporters of the troops", literally, used the fact that they were off dying for this country, to steal away their right to vote. Now, stop. Let that soak in for a minute . . . . Now, tell me those turkeys shouldn't be wearing masks.
You can say all you want about Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro--some even call them tin-horn dictators--but the fact is, either one of these gentlemen would be hard pressed to come up with a scheme that is more cynical, more disrespectful, and yes, criminal, to their nation, or their troops.
Ms. Pelosi, TEAR-DOWN-THIS-WALL!--or else . . . .
Eric L. Wattree, Sr.