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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:10 PM
Original message
The Bad Old Days


(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Max Sparber, Nancee_art, Hamish Irvine)

The Bad Old Days
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Someone once told me that I'm the kind of guy who runs toward a fight. He said it like it was a bad thing - pretty much because I was fighting with him at the time - but I never forgot it, and have since taken it as a badge of honor. There's nothing wrong with running to the sound of the guns if the struggle is brutal, vital, and in need of another body, especially if one more person can make a difference.

It is high summer, the slow time in this business, so I've been thinking quite a bit about running toward fights, about how many fights I've charged into, and especially about how many others charged in with me. You were there, and if you weren't, you know someone who was. There were millions of us, and every time I ran to the sound of those guns, I rubbed shoulders with the best people this country has to offer.

You remember how bad a time it was, right? It started with Bush v. Gore, and went from there into a bunch of faith-based baloney, a huge tax cut for rich people who didn't need it then and need it less now, a ban on stem cell research because sick people can screw themselves...and that was only nine months and ten days into the beginning of the last decade.

It got so much worse on the eleventh day.

After the Towers came down, everyone looked at the blue sky above as if it was the enemy itself while retrieving their mail with oven mitts because someone put anthrax into the system and totally got away with it. The American Taliban got on their horse - represented chiefly by an attorney general who couldn't stomach bare breasts on a statue - and passed the PATRIOT Act, the Homeland Security Act, withdrew from the ABM treaty, all the while smiling a "What, me worry?" smile through the Enron collapse (which was, by the by, a fairly accurate road sign for what we're dealing with today).

Yeah, the fear. Remember? Back when having a flag on your car or house or lapel was required, and anyone who asked questions or cautioned restraint was part of the "other" and maybe on a list? Remember plastic sheeting and duct tape? I do. I specifically remember talking to a hotel manager in upstate New York in her office about an event, and piled in the corner were several bales of sheeting surrounded by three full bricks of gray tape, and I was aghast, and she didn't understand why, because, well, the president said she needed it to protect herself, and that was that.

It was the fear that put us in Afghanistan, and never mind the Turkmenistan pipeline. It was the fear that put us in Iraq, the vacant threat of weapons of mass destruction that some of us called "Bullshit!" on to little or no avail. Paul Wellstone maybe could have done something to stop it, but he died on the doorstep of the war. I was passing through a tollbooth on the way to a pre-war anti-war protest when I got the word that he was gone; I can close my eyes and see that shattering moment as if it happened yesterday.

After that? Daniel Pearl. The Chavez coup attempt. The DC snipers. Sharks. Colin Powell lying to the UN and the world. The invasion, again, and Mission Accomplished. Mad cow. Madrid. Abu Ghraib. Nick Berg's head. Jeddah. The 9/11 Commission and whitewash for all, because "No one could have anticipated." Bush wins again. Giuliana Sgrena is assassinated. London is bombed. The Danes deal with Mohammed riots. Bali. The Kashmir earthquake. Bird flu. Mumbai. Lebanon. Katrina. Haiti. Oil hits $100 a barrel. The US economy collapses. Thousands, millions, die with no justice, dozens a day at minimum, every day, over all these years.

You get the idea. You were there. Like as not, you charged in against these things, some or all, like I did.

In these hot, quiet summer moments, I've been remembering all those damnable awful things. I wrote about every single one of them, every day, and survived the madness by being here at Truthout. I read everything, just like you, tried to figure it all out, and was better for the effort.

A guy once said I run toward fights. Damn straight I do. Always have, always will.

Whats the alternative?

http://www.truth-out.org/the-bad-old-days62216
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. .
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. love the driving cat
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 02:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. Me too, that's pretty funny.
Edited on Thu Aug-12-10 02:59 AM by Lasher
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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
3. Don't Forget The Red Sox Winning It All in 2004. A Dark Time Indeed.
Welcome back, D'Bag. With all due respect.
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wysimdnwyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #3
21. Ah, the 2004 MLB postseason
A rare bright spot on the stain of the past decade.

To this day, I'm not sure which part I enjoyed more; the eventual (and long overdue) Series win or the comeback against the Yankees.
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
4. K & R
:thumbsup:
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. Welcome home, WilliamPitt...
It's good to have you back where you belong...

Recommended.

:patriot:
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
6. I like to fight.
Keep fighting the Good Fight!
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sellitman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
7. I thought it would get easier when Dubya was retired.
The fight has only gotten harder. I'm there until I can't.
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. Gawd what self serving meaningless tripe.
You lecture people about fear, quite poorly, and then you try to make us afraid.

Silly.

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Dystopian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 11:40 PM
Response to Original message
9. KandR.
peace~
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
10. And here is America - drunk, hungover, and sick....
from that awful experience.

And they believe the answer is the hair of the dog that bit them?

They are ready to return to those "bad old days".

I don't have a lot of fights left in me but I will be fighting them with my dying breath...







peace...





.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 01:15 AM
Response to Original message
11. Well said. Fight, capitulate, or collaborate.
Seems the Jackass Brigade has. as usual, indicated their allegiance with their favorite DU tool, unreccing anonymously. K&R.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 04:31 AM
Response to Original message
13. William, nothing less would do. I remember when I was
accused of being a hippie, and tree hugger after Bush was placed into office. I consider myself to young to be a hippie, so I was a bit perplexed, but I couldn't of been more flattered.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 05:30 AM
Response to Original message
14. Unrec.
Faith based baloney?
Obama Announces White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/ObamaAnnounc... /

Patriot Act?
President Obama signs one-year extension of Patriot Act
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/27/obama-s... /

War in Afghanistan and Iraq?
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON A NEW STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/homeland-security
note: not a peep about getting out of Afghanistan and a lot of noise about Pakistan.

Homeland Security and Patriot Act under Obama
Check out the ACLU website which is full of articles about Obama's ideas of homeland security (a flawed organization and a flawed concept)




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wysimdnwyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #14
20. Countered
Did I miss something in Will's piece praising Obama for correcting all of those things? Does the widespread disappointment in Obama's inability - and seeming unwillingness - to change so many of the Bush policies of which Will writes make what Will says about those policies wrong? Just because you - like many of us - had hoped for so much more from Obama, Will didn't discuss Obama at all. His article is about keeping the faith and continuing the struggle. He didn't say anything about the struggle being over.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
15. Welcome home, Will. There are a couple of toons on the Washington Post site
this morning that refer to American voters' total lack of memories. I am sure about 90% of the population is so upset that Obama hasn't fixed things back to a 1990s level that they will put those responsible for our mess back into power.

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Duval Donating Member (377 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
16. Still in the game, too.
That last sentence nails it, WRP! Great to see you here again, as always. :D :hi: :dem: :kick:
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John Agar Donating Member (212 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
17. The past was bad.
I'm more interested in/worried about the future right now.

What will the political landscape look like in 2011-12?
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
18. Yes, I've been doing this stuff for a few years.
Like, since about 1963 with the civil rights movement, 1968, when I was in the Army, back from Vietnam, and involved with the Oleo Strut (and very peripherally with the Fatigue Press) at Ft. Hood/Killeen, TX., 1969-74 in Madison, WI, and a few other places, up through the current mess.

The problem is that we don't seem to have much of a winning strategy. The forces of counterinsurgency seem to have pretty effectively neutralized us. Trees falling in the forest and mass demonstrations with no coverage. Does anyone hear them? Do they matter? Has the public been beaten into submission, apathy and hopelessness? Have we been robbed of a fundamental belief in our own instrumentality?

Now in my dotage, I'm still willing to fight, but seeking new and more effective strategies. Currently I'm putting my attention into thoughts of how to change the spirit of the people into an active, life-affirming force.
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Currently, the only real political strategy seems to be-
"You think we're bad, just look at those guys!"

Sorry, I could buy that once upon a time, but it just doesn't make the cut for me anymore.
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sulphurdunn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #18
27. I was at Ft. Hood
Edited on Fri Aug-13-10 02:59 PM by sulphurdunn
when you were there. I remember cockroaches in the barracks the size of baby elephants. Ah, but Killeen: Pawn shops, pool halls, jewelry stores, used car lots, porno book stores and cheap motels on both sides of the main street, interspersed with churches and no booze sold anywhere. Except for the booze, America has become a lot like that.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
22. I run to defend
Edited on Thu Aug-12-10 10:03 AM by bigtree
. . . not really relishing the fight. I always tend to regret it when I lose my cool, especially when it seems to be in vain. Worth it, though, most times.

kickin' and rec'in it . . . frickin unrecers
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
23. Why would anyone UNrec this? Fight on! Rec. nt
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I don't get it either.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
25. But I thought the Bad Old Days started AFTER Jan. 20, 2009???
or so we've been told

:thumbsup:
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
26. K & R + Thank you, William Pitt.
:hi: You still have it. :hi:
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