I started out this post on my running blog, but I chose to greatly shorten it to keep with the topic of that blog. Here is the long version. You will soon see why I chose to pear this down…
I got another 3 miles under my belt, but I had to walk this one. For one thing, my legs are still stiff from the 4-miler yesterday. For another, there were ice-streamlets that appeared over thirty times during the course of the track.
I’ve come to realize something though. I don’t like the thought of going anywhere else to run. Call it superstition, but I’m afraid that if I start to traipse all over the Omaha suburbs to run again, I’ll somehow lose interest and quit altogether once again. That scares the crap out of me. I don’t care if I’m running or walking, as long as I’m going. I just want to keep going, even if it means seeing the same scenery time after time. The normalcy makes it feel ok. Now, if we decide to move to Baltimore, I’ll have to find some equally ok place to run, or else I’ll give it up. And that scares me just as much, almost more-so than the thought of moving to a brand new city once again.
Back to this walk though. I came across two separate gentlemen with their respective dogs, a whole flock of about 60 geese (none of which were right by me), and a headless fish. Pretty entertaining. And I got out there, 3rd time this week. I might even go again tomorrow, who knows.
Here’s where the entry started to get really long and off-track, starting just before the previous paragraph:
Back to this walk though. I came across a headless fish. Although that’s not entirely right. It had the top of its spine, but the face and skull were truly gone. It was actually really cool in a 13-year old guy sort of way. I stopped, looked at it, re-looked at it to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, making sure it was real because it truly looked fake. I realized it was simply because the fish was about a day old, and it wasn’t shiny like my many fish at home were.
In a sick sort of way, I sometimes imagine my most entertaining fish Burt being stuck on a hook. Usually as bait, because in the eyes he looks much like a big minnow. And I used to hook minnows for bait when I was fishing as a kid. Usually through the eyes so they would die quicker. Carnivore-ism is great, isn’t it? Heck, if Jesus fished, it can’t be all bad.
By the way, Burt is a Tin Foil Barb. He’s named after Burt Reynolds…Reynolds Wrap…Aluminum Foil…very shiny…like Tin Foil…you get the idea.
Now, I love Burt. He is an awesome fish. While he tries to eat his own reflection now and then, he is still a very cool fish. I am never going to kill my fish. But the alter-Christ inside, the dark one, sometimes goes, “What if?”, and I follow a train of thought to its conclusion. Once in a while. But only in my head.
Back to the move out East though. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of Omaha. Sorry locals, but I’m not. I like Papillion well enough, mostly because it’s far enough away from Omaha to not “be” Omaha. But you can still take advantage of Omaha now and then for the occasional Car Show or U2 concert.
No, what it really comes down to is that I don’t like the Huskers. I really don’t like them. I can’t “hate” them, because you don’t truly hate something unless it’s evil, in my opinion. I mean, you can hate Pol Pot, but you can’t hate the Huskers. In fact, I don’t even really dislike the Huskers. They’re just a sports team. I dislike the fans.
And even that’s generalizing. I dislike the RABID FANS. And I dislike the RABID FANS of any sport or conglomeration. If you’re involved with something that kind of takes over your life…you’re a sucker, plain and simple. I like the Vikings. I’ve got a Vikings mat in front of my door. But my home is not adorned in Vikings paraphernalia. There’s plenty of other stuff on my walls, including a Packers picture, where my wife is in a marching band making up part of the “C”, I think. If you don’t know, the Packers and the Vikings are mortal enemies. I could have a photo from any other team in the NFL and be better off than having a picture of the Packers stadium.
I’m the same way with any organization. RABID CHRISTIANS. RABID MUSLIMS. RABID TREKKIES. RABID SPORTS FANS. RABID ANIMAL ACTIVISTS. RABID NRA MEMBERS. RABID REPUBLICANS. RABID DEMOCRATS. I really, really don’t like dealing with any of the above. It drains me.
Those of you who really know me know that I support, in part, all of the above, but not in a RABID fashion. I’ve actually been a member of both the NRA and PETA, and for a short while I was a member of both at the same time. I’m a Star Trek fan. I’m a Christian. I’m a Sports Fan. I’ve voted both Democrat and Republican. I support what the non-militant believers of Allah are trying to do. The Islamic faith, when broken down, is as peaceful as the Christian Faith. On my list of World Faiths, Islam might not break the top-10. If I had to choose a non-Christian faith, it’d be Taoism all the way. However, Islam isn’t inherently evil.
Militant Muslims are simply an Islamic version of the “Christian” Branch Davidians led by David Koresh. You remember? Waco, Texas? 1993? Big weapons buildup then a compound up in flames? How about Rev. Jim Jones and Jonestown? Militant Muslims are cut from the same cloth. Over-simplifying? No. You go out too far on the fringe of any peaceful Religion and you get a “Religious” army.
The big difference between the Taliban and the Branch Davidians is that the militant religious fanatics of the Taliban are incredibly more well funded, and they’re an incredibly longer distance away from American soil and culture. Which means they’ve had much more time to plan without the constantly watchful eyes of an American government. Sure, they didn’t stay completely below radar. But they did manage to kill a lot of people in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania about seven years ago.
To this end, the followers of Bin Laden, like the late-followers of David Koresh (for there is still a non-militant Davidian church in existence today), are/were followers of a religion that grew turned and twisted into something that it really wasn’t meant to be. If you think it’s only the fringes of your religion that can grow twisted into something it’s not, try to look into the true facts of the Christian Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Not exactly high points in the times of my faith, thank-you very much.
I’m going back a few paragraphs now. Remember when I was talking about the RABID FANS? That’s about where I’m at.
It’s okay to be nice about the other side. If you’re a Catholic, it’s okay to be nice about the Mormons without saying they’re morons. They’re not. They have a very beautiful city on the Great Salt Lake, I’ve never met a Mormon who wasn’t very nice to me, and I hope they have a great time on this Earth. I wouldn’t want to “be” a Mormon, but that doesn’t mean I wish bad things upon them.
If you’re a Democrats, you can agree with Republicans once in a while. If you’re a Republican, you can agree with Democrats once in a while. Bill Clinton is not a monster. George W. Bush is not a monster. Obama, McCain, Hillary, Huckabee: not the enemy. True, some or all of them may not be your first choice as to whomever will lead us. However, the world is not going to end if one of them you don’t like gets elected. Yes, it may suck a while. It sucked a long while under Clinton, and it sucked a long while under Bush. That’s 16 years of semi-suck. But life went on. Sure, it could have been better. And if you ignore the media, it actually was a LOT better than you might think. The economy has been up and down, but it’s actually been okay throughout. AIDS and cancer patients are living much longer, better lives than before those 16 years began. People are living longer lives. More people own pets than any other time in American history, and not bad. Our leisure life has grown in importance. Maybe we’re lazier, and more given to taking-it-easy rather than pitching-in. But it’s still an easier life. Under two Presidents of very opposing parties.
Would I vote for either one of them again? I don’t know, probably not. But the world did not end. And it won’t end anytime soon. If you believe Nostradamus, we still have about 3 or 4 Popes left before Armageddon. (Which is why I thought it was a bad choice to elect such an old Pope this time around, but that’s a discussion for another day…). To say that the United States will fall apart if the “other” guy/gal gets elected is not only wrong, but it’s really weak-minded. You have to think very little of America to really believe that. You have to be very small to believe that America will fall from this. It might be less than before, but it will not fall. America is Conscious. America knows when it’s taken a step in the wrong direction. It’s like turning around the Queen Mary II, but America realizes when things have sort of gone astray, and it corrects. America realized it had a nasty run of presidents, between LBJ and Nixon. Although Ford did…”okay”, America realized it needed a taste of water before moving on, so came Carter. Who didn’t suck, but he couldn’t get Congress to see his side of things, and he couldn’t work with the tools he was given. But he was REQUIRED. He was Needed. He had his place, even if it was just a breath of fresh air prior to moving forward with another Conservative, albeit a much cleaner one. Reagan was definitely a right place / right time President. Starting as an old Roosevelt Democrat (much the opposite of Hillary, who started life as a Republican) he over-grew our nuclear capabilities to drain the finances of Russia to the point that it collapsed their entire government in the end. At least that’s what I believe. For that alone, he’s either a hero, or he led us into the really weird place we’ve been for the last 20 years, where we have not one huge enemy but a hundred really small but really dangerous enemies.
In much the same way Carter was necessary, during the Reagan and Bush Sr. tenures, America had been moving in one direction for 12 years, when it came to 1992. In comes H. Ross Perot, taking away a significant portion of the Right-wing vote. Enough Americans wanted to change in his direction that it swayed the vote away from Bush, and allowed Clinton the victory. I would bet Perot didn’t want “that” to happen. In retrospect, I bet he wishes that Bush still could have gotten that 2nd term, not some “pot-smoking, womanizing, draft dodging hippie”.
Then another 8 years, and another vote-swayer, Ralph Nader. Sure, he didn’t garner a lot of votes, but I bet Gore could have used those votes come election day. Even a couple of them would have been enough, right? And again, I bet that Nader wishes that Gore could have gotten the presidency, and not some “coke-snorting, coat-tail grabbing, draft dodging fratboy”.
In these two instances, it seems as if the mighty pendulum of change kind of went against what most of the people wanted at that particular time. The effect that this has had, in my belief, was not to unite people further, but to further divide them, to split them apart into microcosms of existing groups. You have the Obama-freaks and the Clinton-nuts. You have the McCain-heads, and the Huckabee-gees. And that’s just describing the loudest among us, those out on the various fringes of our respective parties.
However, in my generation at least, there’s a growing voice: those split down the middle. About all I can clearly say is that (and sorry Dad if you’re reading this): McCain is probably going to get the Republican Nomination. At this point in the game, the Democratic Nomination is still up in the air, although it’s definitely leaning against Clinton. Regardless of who gets the Republican nomination, I’ll vote against Hillary if she’s either nominated as the Democratic Presidential Candidate, or the VP (which won’t happen, based on what she and Bill have said about Obama on this campaign). However, if Obama gets the Nomination without Clinton in the picture, regardless of who we have for the GOP-Nomination, I’ll vote Obama.
Why? One reason is that we need to clean house. We need to get some new blood in the pool for once. Also, apart from my Pro-Life stance, I believe much of what he believes. Drugs are bad, users are not. While I don’t really know what to believe, that Gays and Lesbians are born or choose to be gay, they are real, they are Americans, and we won’t discriminate against them based on what they are. Companies that send jobs overseas need no tax breaks, they’re already getting a break by paying less in labor costs. It goes on and on. There isn’t much that he supports that I don’t at least half-heartedly support.
And why do I have to explain my decision? Because somehow it doesn’t feel right. Even though I think he’s the most-right (or least-wrong) candidate right now, because I’m born & bred right-wing, it feels wrong.
There’s another part of me that says to vote for Obama is to vote against the war. And I don’t believe in the war, no matter how much I’d like to. I just can’t believe that we really, absolutely need to be there. I realize what the argument is. “What if you’re wrong?!? Do you really want another 9/11? It’d be YOUR FAULT!!!”.
Really? The overwhelming belief of those who support the war is that our men being over there helps to prevent ‘the enemy’ (as if there’s only one) from organizing enough to attack us here. If 9/11 should teach us, our enemy isn’t stupid. They can organize in ways we can’t imagine. There are ways around our military involvement in the Middle East. There is a sense of complacency in place by having troops over in Iraq that tastes a little like what the French might have felt between the World Wars. The Germans found a way around the Maginot Line.
I feel we’re almost more complacent to have this many troops over there. It feels like we’re looking in too few places in the world. Permanent military entrenchment, much like what we have throughout much of Asia and Europe, may be the answer. The sheer amount of reinforcement of military we have over there right now is draining from the overall military involvement elsewhere, however. We’re running a little thin. Bases are closing and consolidating throughout Europe and Asia. Which might not be such a bad thing, except when we start to pull out of individual countries because of it.
When it comes down to it however, we are still wide open for attack on home soil. We’re slowly getting better and more cautious as a civilian population, but we (as civilians, and to the funding of our military) aren’t going to get better, stronger, wiser with any sort of expediency unless something really bad happens.
America is a war mongering country. We were born in battle, we learn through battle. We are not a very well-learned, peaceful society. Look at most of our entertainment. Action movies make a lot more money than romantic comedies. Sure, action movies don’t usually win the Oscar for Best Picture (although you could argue that this year, one really great ‘action’ movie did). However, action movies are what most of the populace of America wants to pay money to see. Even our books are violent, with crime and horror novels topping the best seller lists more than any other genre. I won’t go into video games.
America, in the end, doesn’t learn very fast either. Like it or not, on the grand scale, we are not a liberal society. Democrats and Republicans are all very conservative, to varying degrees. We are not liberal Ghandi-followers. We are Conservatives, following in the ways of our forefathers of 230 years of history. We don’t change easily. We’ve had slavery for nearly 1/2 of our entire American History. Women have been able to vote for less than 100 years. We’re still being taxed to pay for the Spanish American War that ended in the EIGHTEEN-90’s. We still use Pennies when they’ve been nearly useless for thirty years. I could go on and on and on.
It takes a lot for us to change our ways. We’re more than willing to try new things if it makes life convenient, and doesn’t take us too far away from tradition. But try to make things inconvenient and a little strange, and it gets bad. When we’re told the airline boarding time, especially when we wish to leave the country, is going to more than double, we don’t like it. For a while, fears of 9/11 made us grin and bear it. Eventually, when the fresh memories of the Towers, the Pentagon, and the Pennsylvania Forest Clearing faded from the forefront of our minds, we started to snipe at the FAA about having to wait so long to board a plane. Eventually, the FAA relaxes, and so does our security. Not our sense of security, just our security. Precautions are not improved. Things slip by. Stories come out of people, from the News or from the FAA itself, sneaking weapons and contraband onto our planes.
When we’re weak enough, vulnerable enough, someone will organize and attack us again. And people will die. More than likely, a LOT of people will die. Maybe as many as on 9/11, when an awful lot of people died in a really big hurry.
And so, things will change, maybe for a longer time. I doubt it will last. It might go on for another 10 years. Eventually, something else will happen, and we’ll tighten up a little more.
Our borders are not safe. People slip through. Weapons slip through. Stories of how easy it is to make a dirty bomb are widely available throughout the Western World’s media outlets, TV and Internet. Instructions on how to build a dirty bomb are out there for the world to see if you only know where to look. So, eventually, a crack will form, and someone will take advantage of us. And people will die. Until we learn.
And this will happen again, and again, and again.
Where’s the silver lining? The funny thing about America: whether it’s the most expensive war we have ever had (World War 2, dummy, not this one. Inflation, remember?), or the biggest loss of civilian life we’ve ever had in one day, we keep on trucking. Whether we get a president we don’t want, for a (gasp) second term even, we keep on trucking. Whether the Canadian Dollar is close to matching the American Dollar, we keep on trucking. It’s what we do. We might be a baby when compared to the other world powers. China is ten times older than we are. But America will exist in 2000 years, of that I’m sure. We keep on trucking, regardless of the threat. We keep on. And maybe we won’t be on top forever. Egypt isn’t on top anymore, keeps on trucking. Rome isn’t on top, they’re still around. England ain’t in first place, nor is Germany, but they’re still around, and doing alright. Maybe we’ll get eclipsed by another power, and maybe it’s China. Scary! (And a little humorous, when you look at the way Communist China began, and how Mao ruled his country much like a monkey making love to a football.) How could China, I mean really, How in the WORLD could China of all places actually become “the” world power? Could that happen?
What was the world saying about America around, say, 1870? “World Power? They’re more a threat to themselves than any of us! They just killed off about 20% of their population, and their leader! How can they possibly be a threat to us?” Give us about 80 years, and we’re the top-cats, the cock-of-the-walk of the entire world. All it took was a big foreign war, and a quick recovery period afterwards compared to Europe and Japan. I have the feeling that, while it may take a bit longer for China to make it to the top, it may not take a major war to get there. Maybe they just need some organization. They have a very large country, rural country. Plus a few cities…and then Taiwan. For a time, since the handover of Taiwan to the Chinese in the late 1990’s, there was a big fear that Taiwan would cease to exist under the thumb of Chinese rule. While there’s certainly mainland influence there, the inversive influence is also true. I think China is slowly learning how to turn much of the remainder of the country into an industrial powerhouse.
Throw an organized agricultural environment and an organized distribution network together, and you could have China growing to become the largest food exporter on the eastern hemisphere. China could sell their food to nations that can’t really feed themselves, like old mortal enemy Japan. Sell livestock at cut-rate prices, and suddenly Chinese Beef is the staple of the Japanese hungry-man’s diet. Sell livestock, grains, and other goods to Japan and other countries in the eastern hemisphere long enough, and China starts to really grow financially. To the point that they can start purchasing weaponry to a larger extent, and the 2nd Cold War begins. Or does it?
China is becoming a large perceived threat to America in this coming century, and that threat is either going to be fully realized at some point (like Japan became in World War II by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, dragging Germany with them before they wanted to, as I believe) or not fully realized (in the cold war with the USSR). Perhaps it won’t simply be a military threat, but a threat to our status as Top Dog.
In the end, however, I still believe in America. I think that the perceived threats from other world powers are what scare us into continually bettering ourselves. We grow complacent, sure. But we can still make more money, and remain organized in ways that the other countries can only dream of.
I need to wrap this up, I have chores to do. So here’s my quick-bang summary: I believe that if the “other guy” or “other gal” gets the presidency, the world will not end. I believe that we may trade-out our status as the top moneymaker with someone else within 100 years, but a shared crown will result in the end. I believe America will be attacked, again, but we will slowly learn to be more careful at the expense of our luxuries. And I think the Huskers suck.