Shows His Hair
By Kevin Dawson
Pat Tillman. True American hero. True enough. But how that
distinguishes him from his seven-hundred-plus-and-counting
fallen comrades, whose anonymity is being all too zealously
protected by the Bush camp and its fan base, hasn't quite
been figured out.
At least here is one case of an American soldier whose death
in the Middle East hasn't been swept under the rug or sloughed
off with glib platitudes like "freedom isn't free" or "yeah,
yeah, it's tragic and all that, but it's a small price to
pay, etc." The first thought that may have come to mind was,
like the old song says, "Ya gotta be a football hero."
But then B.D. got it in the leg.
Doonesbury, whose author is a favorite target of conservative
watchdogs moaning about the so-called liberal media, ironically
offered the first sacrifice of a comic strip character in
the alleged cause of Iraqi Freedom. (Beetle Bailey certainly
isn't over there; neither, for that matter, are Mallard Fillmore,
Lois's Hi, Cathy's fiancÚ Irving, or The Family Circus's Daddy.
B.C. and his fellow cave-dwellers, being period characters,
Walden football coach/reservist B.D. did something which
Garry Trudeau's detractors or the many flag-waving war supporters
aren't about to do: actually performed military service, losing
a leg in the process. His reward: the strip - in which B.D.'s
scalp, normally covered by a helmet, was exposed for the first
time - was edited or deleted from several newspapers.
Add that to the outrage over the photos of flag-draped coffins
that appeared on many front pages recently. Many indignant
citizens, who saw nothing wrong with President Bush using
9/11 images in his campaign ads even after he swore in January
he wouldn't politicize 9/11, fired off frothing letters to
the editors demanding how the newspapers dared violate the
privacy of the dead soldiers' families (I didn't see name
tags on the coffins, did you?) and "comfort the enemy" by
publishing graphic evidence of war's usual toll.
Stateside, the holy wars continue. Since Easter, The Passion
of the Christ has inevitably dropped from the box-office Top
Ten, and now Christian parents everywhere can start thinking
of what to tell the kids next time they want to see a violence-packed
R-rated movie ("But you let us see that one!").
John Kerry was allowed to take Holy Communion last Sunday,
despite his pro-choice stance. Papal purists are unable to
reconcile being Catholic and being pro-choice, which is odd
since the Vatican spoke out strongly against the Iraq war,
yet no one's demanded that war-supporting Catholics be excommunicated.
Homosexuality remains the worst thing in the world, while
everything else the Bible opposes is merely evidence that
"nothing's perfect." Same-sex marriage, it is believed by
those against it, knowing they comprise a majority, should
be resolved by a popular vote - you know, the way that women's
suffrage, racial integration, and the 2000 presidential election
Conservative Christians still complain of being oppressed
by an increasingly secular society. (Pop quiz: How many conservative
Christian presidents has this country had? How many gay ones?
How many atheist ones? How far would a politician get today
if he or she publicly stated "There's no such thing as God?"
Let's not keep seeing the same hands.)
It's All Bill Clinton's Fault
Oh, and Bill Clinton, whose book comes out in June, still
gets blamed for everything wrong with the world today. If
he had been on top of terrorism, the theory goes, there would
have been no 9/11 or war. "Fox Fans" also perpetuate the pretty
myth that Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden "on a silver
tray," crediting Mr. Clinton with the gift of prophecy that
Bush's cheerleaders claim the Bush bashers expect him to have
As for Mr. Woodward's best-selling assertion that Bush had
planned to go to war with Iraq all along, the one word that
comes to mind above all others is: duh! But when you're busy
being dragged through the mud and impeached over vital matters
of state like your sex life, there's little time left for
alleged silver-tray offerings.