Friday, July 30, 2004

I Was Once A Card Carrying Democrat

Part IV - Epiphany

I had an epiphany. The kind that many have had. I once talked about being changed in personality by the occurrences of 9/11. I also talked about the things that I saw and did on 9/11 in the topic titled "From Here To There". I said that it opened my eyes to the world around me. It did. I have been a rather insular person. Like many people. Concerned largely with my own life, my own achievements. My job. My income. My home. My small family.

World politics were barely on my scope. World economy, just a little bit more. I never truly paid attention to it. Just sound bites on the evening news.

When I thought of our leader, our President, making decisions to vote, they were largely within the context of how it applied to my insular world. Of course, I wanted the President to be capable of working with world leaders. I wanted him to be capable of leading the military. Insuring our economic viability in the world. Our security.

Frankly, I never really understood what was involved with that. How deals made with this country effected our relations with another country. How it effected our economy. Why we gave economic deals to countries that should well be our enemy. It was rather above me. Above my concerns.

My epiphany did not occur on 9/11. It couldn't because I was still in shock and had not come out of it enough to really start thinking about it. About the causes, the meaning. I was like many others, just caught up in the moment, the grief, the anger. Reasoning had not set in yet.

Actually, to call it a single epiphany is misleading. I had several.

After a day and a half of waiting, waiting for our response, the President went to ground zero and spoke with a bullhorn as people chanted "USA! USA! USA!": "I hear you. We all hear you. And the people that knocked down these buildings are going to hear from all of us soon!"

Maybe that's not an exact quote. But that's what I remember. That was the first epiphany. The realization that, had my vote in 2000 elected Al Gore, that we would not have had such a response. Tepid, is the word I would have applied to my expected response from him. I believe we would have hem-hawed around trying to figure out "who dunnit". Made some half assed attempts at finding them and tossing a few bombs at them as we did in the last 8 years. Call it a day and try, unsuccessfully, to get these "sovereign" nations to cooperate and turn in these "terrorists".

This image from September 11, 2001 stays in my mind. Not the planes or the buildings falling down. Not the people jumping or the ones running away. This image that I have written about before and some how continues to haunt me.

After the buildings fell and the gush of smoke and debris, there was an eerie calm. The picture was foggy. There were a few firemen and policemen and some citizens standing around, covered in dust and ashes. Looking dazed. And in the eerie quiet was the sound of hundreds of buzzing alarms. The alarms worn by firemen that indicate a hero is down. That's all that you could hear, in the quiet. Like the strange deafness after an explosion, when everything is muzzy except that strange buzzing sound.

Like an alarm clock going off. Waking you from a nightmare in the morning. In the dawn, when the light first comes through your window. Only to wake and find that your dream, your nightmare was real.

On September 12, 2001: Epiphany. Thank God it was George Bush and not Al Gore.

For days after, I watched the coverage. The thing that sticks in my mind is not the actual planes flying into buildings, the buildings crashing, the people running. I wasn't there. It seemed, and still seems to me sometimes, like a movie in my mind. A scary movie. An end of the world movie. What really got me was the days after.

I remember the day after, Sept 12. Thousands of people walking around in shock and grief. Carrying the pictures of their loved ones. Going from emergency room to emergency room, from one emergency register to another. Have you seen my loved one? Call this number. John, we are looking for you. Call home. The pictures were hung on walls, on fences, on telephone poles. People in groups being filmed by the news, desperately trying to hold their pictures up to the camera. If you've seen my loved one, call this number.

And I knew their grief. I knew that it was in vain.

It is not the pictures of the buildings falling that remind me. It is those images of after, the images of people that would never come home, that are in my mind forever. It is the buzzing sound of alarms that echo forever in my ears.

wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

Right now, as I write this, there are cicadas outside in the dark. They are making their cadence, their summer music. That's what I always compared it to. Music that meant summer was here. Now, they sound like those alarms. The strange hi-lo pitches. I want them to stop. Because it is too much like the sound of that day.

For days after, I watched the news. The experts. People trying to explain who these people were. The enemy. Why they did it. For five days I watched everything I could. News. Special reports. History and biography. So many people trying to explain. I heard them say it was our foreign policies that did this. We needed to change. I started getting very angry, because it sounded like they were telling us that it was our fault that 3,000 of our citizens, citizens of the world were dead. I said that before. I still hear these people saying that. WE are making THEM angry.

Right now, I want to scream out an obscenity. FUCK YOU!

September 17, 2001: Epiphany.

We needed to change alright. We needed to wake up. It seemed to me, by trying to place the blame at our door, that people were trying to go back, retreat, curl up in a ball and just pray that THEY will leave us alone. Not hurt us again. Like abused children, afraid of the ugly person that lashes out at the nearest and weakest person because their life sucks. I am not a child and I refuse to be abused. I am an adult. Mature and capable of taking back my own destiny. That is how I see our country. That is what I see is necessary for our future. No more making nice and walking softly, hoping that "it will all be OK." I recognized that my future, the future of my family was in danger and I wanted that future protected.

Then, we were at war in Afghanistan. I heard them saying "quagmire", "Viet Nam", "USSR", "mujihideen" and "fierce fighters" in the same breath. Talking about our soldiers, our troop strength, our strategy as if they were commentators at a Monday night football game instead of representing my country, our cause. The people saying this was my party. The DEMOCRATS. These people that I had voted for for the last 16 years. The people that I was expecting to protect me. Stand up for me. Take my message to those that would hurt me. Never Again!

Instead, the bi-partisan actions of the first 60 days seemed to melt away in a blaze of partisanship. Like they were starting their fucking campaign cycle early. That's what was important to them. Trying to show that the president was incompetent instead of making my voice heard to the evil fucks that had done this to us. YES! EVIL. I'm not afraid to say it, are you? Because it takes an evil mind to come up with the plan to fly planes full of innocent men women and children into buildings full of innocent men, women and children. And I don't want any moral equivalency bullshit about how our policies resulted in the same. Fuck that. I know for a fact that we have never done anything that heinous. I will never accept any such claim as valid. So, if you read this and you want to respond in that way, set yourself on fire and take a flying leap off a 110 story building. Then, come and tell me about your moral equivalency.

October 21, 2001: Epiphany

These bastards that I had voted for, who were supposed to represent me, voted to authorize the President to use force in Afghanistan. One thing they did right. Then, in the middle of battle, they started their arm chair quarter backing; IN PUBLIC. While our boys were over there. Telling the world that we were not prepared. We were going to lose. What in the hell was wrong with these people? Were you trying to insure my vote in 2004? You were betraying our country. YES! BETRAYING. For a moment in the spot light. For the sheer hope of denigrating what you perceived was an overwhelming support for the president which was sure to win him the election in 2004. In your eyes.

Instead of supporting our cause, you went for the jugular.

Now, the Democrats will tell you that they were rightly raising their concerns to insure that we had the proper action that would result in the capture of bin Laden, insure our security, protect our soldiers. What a bunch of bullshit. I know there are some naive people in this world that believe that, but you must know that IN TIMES OF WAR you DO NOT do that IN PUBLIC. That is what committees and congressional sessions and pentagon planners do. IN PRIVATE. Not in front of the cameras. Not in public sessions that are broadcast around the world. Giving our enemies AID AND COMFORT. ENDANGERING our soldiers by convincing these bastards that we are weak and they might overcome us if they keep attacking us. None of these assholes really have the slightest clue about war strategies.

Even I, a simple citizen, know that you do not give away our troop strengths and capabilities. Part of the strategy is to convince your opponent that you are too strong. To make them afraid. To make them believe that they are going to lose no matter what they do.

The whole democrat party needs to sit down and read military strategies of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Sun Tzu. Genghis Khan made whole armies lay down their weapons and run by using the simple method of dragging tree branches behind his soldiers horses. Placing women and children on their extra horses. Forcing the conquered enemy to walk in front of them so it would appear that he had a force three times the size of his actual army.

And they keep doing it. The keep saying our troops are undersized. Under prepared. Under supplied. Untrained for the actions they must take. Who cares if it is true. YOU DO NOT TELL THE ENEMY! Fucking morons.

February 2002: Epiphany

I finally read bin Laden's declaration of war from 1998. 1998. Clinton was still president. I know that the Republicans were in charge of congress at that time. Had the majority. But this man was supposed to be our leader. Supposed to have people advising him on making sure we were safe. That's when I put together all the episodes. The ones that took place on his watch. The ones we did nothing about. We let this happen. We let this guy declare war on us and did nothing, but continue to treat them like a nuisance to be swatted now and then. That's what it was. Swatting at the flies like we were on some summer picnic.

I read the declaration and understood the nature of our enemy. His hatred. His total commitment to our destruction. That was when I realized that we must be just as committed to their destruction. We cannot take half measures. We cannot treat for peace. Negotiate a cease fire. The enemy does not ask that of us. They ask for our total submission or our total destruction.

I posted that one other time on my blog. A commenter left a message. Something like: Your sick! That is just sick! My first thoughts weren't anger. They were surprise and then pity. Because in their paragraph of spewing, I recognized a small part of me. Fear. Fear that, just by saying it, I am committing myself to something terrible. Something that cannot be simply rectified with a few bullets. A few well placed words. Fear that I must recognize this to be as the President said; long and brutal war where we should expect to see people die. No quick wins like Gulf War I; Panama; Grenada.

September 12, 2002: Epiphany.

The enemy was more than a few guys running around in the Afghanistan mountains. Dispersing among us. Laying low in foreign countries. They are being born even now. I don't mean birth as in child birthing, children or babies. I mean spawned in the sense of being created in the madrassas and the mosques in the middle east. And we act as if it was nothing. No concern. They are over there of course. Inside their own countries. If they stay over there, we can fend them off. We can pick them off in small police actions. Intelligence efforts. Forgetting of course that we have open borders and that they can come and go almost at will. Attack us behind the lines as it were. Flanking maneuvers.

And we refuse to recognize it for such. It is nothing. We can hold them off by simply improving our foreign policies. Improving our relations with these dictators. What foolishness. It is the dictators that spawn them in the first place. It is these "relations" that make us complicit in the actions of the oppressors. And they keep being made. No amount of hand wringing, feel good diplomacy is going to stop this action.

The President has put forth a premise. That dictators in the region are aiding and abetting these people. Our enemy. And it's true. He put forth Iraq, an enemy that we had been in a holding pattern with for many years, as the first that must go. I can go into the reasons. We can discuss the hair splitting by the Democrats as to whether this was a "legal" war or if there was "just cause" to do so. And the more this hair splitting continues, the more I realize that my party, the Democrats, could not take my security seriously. If they cannot seriously wrap their minds around the possibility that Saddam Hussein and bin Laden could and would create an alliance in the name of their shared vision of a great pan-Arab state even while that vision might be approached through differing ideology, they are morons. If they cannot understand and articulate the purpose of this shared vision is the creation of a new power in the middle east, the likes we have not seen since Hitler and Stalin, then I want no part of them.

The more they tell me that these new actions are supposedly spawning more terrorists instead of decreasing them, makes me laugh. An angry laugh to be sure. Because I know that it is just by luck that I did not get my wish when I voted in 2000. It was just by luck that somebody became President that could actually understand this threat. And they call him stupid.

And in between, during the year of 2003, they continued their attack on the President. They continued to tell our enemy that we were divided. That we could be conquered. That we might submit. And they can say that it is not true. They can say that they will protect me and continue to fight the terrorists. While they are saying it out of one side of their mouth, the other is telegraphing to the enemy that they might have victory if only they wait a little longer because we realize the error of our ways. We will not prosecute this war on them fully. We want our safety and we are willing to negotiate our total victory away, if only for a few years of calm. We'll pull back our soldiers and work with our allies.

How ridiculous. They will not give us this peace because it is not part of their plan.

February 22, 2004: Epiphany

We captured a letter from Al-Zaqarwi to bin Laden on the prosecution of their efforts in Iraq. In the letter, al-Zarqawi confirms the statements found in all of the al-Qaida documents captured to date. The confirmation that the purpose of Al-Qaida is to create this Pan Arab state founded on the principles of Wahhabi Islam and invested with the Marxist ideology of utopia. The Islamic Utopia. A dream based on the grand Ottoman Empire of the 15th century.

Did you know that the Al-Qaida, the Islamists dreams are based on the teachings of Sayyid Qutb? Did you know that Sayyid Qutb espoused this strange ideology? Marxist Islam. And it would be a most terrible kind of evil. We have only to look at the strict enforcement of Wahhabi Islam by the Religious Police of Saudi Arabia to know what a Pan Arab state based on this ideology would look like. What it would perpetuate on it's hapless citizens. To know how they would behave towards the rest of the world. Because part of that ideology, the great plan of the second Ottoman Empire, is to spread it's borders throughout Europe and Asia and Africa and Beyond.

A grand scheme, maybe too grand some would say. Nothing to be afraid of because it is too big and unwieldy to ever come to fruition. There are too many obstacles in the path of this creation. Therefore, they can be only considered nuisances. Little bands of terrorists that we must "get before they get us". How stupid is that reasoning? How deliciously naive. I'm sure China thought that about Genghis Khan as he marched on their borders. Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan thought the same thing as he raided across thousands of miles and conquered them.

The Prussians and the Russians believed this, too, as Napoleon marched on Vienna and Moscow. We believed it, too, of Hitler and Tojo, while we negotiated and Germany prepared to march on France, who believed that they were protected by the Maginot line. Russia who thought they were protected by the historical failure of Napoleon to cross their great wasteland and was sure that Hitler would not attempt to do the same. China who thought the Japanese would not attack them and attempt to take them as a colony. The US that was sure we were protected by Oceans against an attack by Japan as we woke to the destruction of Pearl Harbor.

What about the USSR as it rolled across eastern Europe and eastern Asia to spawn new totalitarian communist regimes. Did we think our great army, the cost of these maneuvers would keep the USSR at bay? China in Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Tibet.

On September 11, 2001, this premise was already proven false. They can and will attack us. They operate from countries in the middle east with impunity.

Why is it that my party cannot see that denial of this possibility, that a whole region might be united under this banner, could cause us harm?

July 28, 2004: Epiphany

Senator Kerry, representing the Democrat party, asking for my vote, said he will never "mislead" us into war. Kerry said the "only justification" for going to war is when there is no other choice to help protect the American people from a "real and imminent" threat. (Fox News)

Senator Kerry, you will never have my vote. You sir, are a fucking moron. There is a "real and imminent" threat and it comes from these countries who are harboring our enemies. Spawning them as we speak. They are not our allies. Frankly, any other country that believes as you do, such as France, that this can be somehow contained and controlled through diplomatic and economic means, are fucking morons, too.

We are at war now. We should prepare to take that war to our enemy and not wait for them to fight us on our shores. You fucking morons.

There you have it. A three year odyssey in which slowly, but ever surely, I recognized the ridiculousness of my party. The Democrats. You can throw in a few things about "rolling back tax cuts for the greater good". Nonsense about "effective" healthcare provided for ALL citizens by a government that can't even manage our Medicare program effectively. Stir that in with embracing the far left idiots like Michael Moore; stupid celebrities who divorce and re-marry at the drop of a hat, but some how know how to manage foreign relations; salt it with the general denial of the party to recognize our danger and it must be overcome and you will see the things that drove me away from my party.

I said it before and I will say it again: I WILL NOT BE LUMPED IN WITH THE REST OF THE MORONS.

There are things I could do without in the Republican Party. But my first priority is security. My security means that we take the fight to the enemy and not wait for it to show up on our doorstep tomorrow.



Robert said...

Quite a journey.

First you convert to the right, and before you know it you are a full-fledged member of the VRWC, agitating for a flat tax and denouncing state-run health care.

Asher Abrams said...

Kat, thanks for a very thoughtful and moving blog.

Pat in NC said...

I have always been an Independent because I saw good candidates in both parties. I did not want to be told to vote for someone I could not accept because they were in a chosen party. This year, I will vote a straight ticket for the first time in my life.Yep, it won't be for the donkeys.

Warren said...

Hello Kat,
I have read your posts on some of the Iraqi blogs so I thought I would check your blog out.

I never had the kind of epiphany you had. I realized, after the Oklahoma City bombing, that such an occurrence was almost inevitable, that it was only a matter of time.

I'll tell you what did happen.

On that terrible day, I was working away, busy with earning my daily bread and listening to the radio when I heard the first report. I thought; what a terrible accident. When the second crash occurred, I sat down and cried. I knew that our world would never be the same.

I had always been a political independent, (more of a cynical pragmatic Libertarian). I always voted for the Libertarian candidate in presidential elections, that is, until the 2000 elections.

I realized the course that our nation was taking was the wrong one and being thoroughly disgusted with BC, I cast my vote, for the first time ever, for a Republican presidential candidate. I felt that it was important that my vote really counted and not just make a political "statement".

Everything I have witnessed since that time has reinforced my opinion that I made the correct choice and I will vote for George Bush again and pray that he is re-elected. This is too important to allow the foolish children of the left to control the highest seat in the land!

Now if I can only get the Republicans to reign in the budget I will be happy.

ps I'm a regestered Democrat. There are only two choices in Indiana and the local ward healer is a Democrat, (so), to keep on his good side....

ALa said...

Being a card carrying member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy my entire life, it has been really great to read about your journey down the road less traveled...
I cried so much in September 2001 that I honestly thought I would never cry again. The other night I watched a video montage that I hadn't seem before of 9/11 (I have it linked on my site under September 11, 2001) it is beautifully done and SO painful...I have seen many of them but this is definately the best--it has audio of the calls to loved ones and police and fire radios and it is SO hard to watch/hear. My husband came home and thought I had been attacked by a hive of bees-I wonder if it will always be that raw...

Kat said...

I had a fellow who went by the name "gandhi" once tell me that he thought I was suffering from some sort of trauma. My anger, while justified at the time of the incident, should have been mollified by some sort of reasoning, that committing war against these folks was just as bad as what they had done because we might end up killing innocent people.

Frankly, he was not able to convince me of the moral equivalency.

Maybe I am suffering from a sort of trauma, but I think it's the kind where you wake up to find that the world as you thought it was, didn't really exist. Like Alice in Wonderland.

On the first day, I didn't cry. I know I was in shock. For three days after that, I cried at the drop of a hat. I stayed home and watched TV when I wasn't working. On the fourth day, my brother and his family came over and made me leave the house. It was probably the best thing that could have happened. I have friends that lived up there and the first day, I was worried sick. One of my friend's sister had moved to NY about 6 years ago and taken a job at one of the companies in the towers.

After I calmed down, I remembered that she had quit her job the year before to stay home and have a baby. That was almost a pitiful relief. I didn't know anyone that died that day, yet I knew them. Because they were me. Just people on an airplane, or going to work. They were me, therefore, the attack was personal and cannot go un-answered.

For a year after that, I didn't watch anything about it. I watched the war news. Then I watched the ceremony on the anniversary. After that, I wanted to remember, always. So, I watch that footage every once in awhile, to remind me. Maybe that's considered masochism, but I don't want to forget. Pretend we can go back. I need to remember so when the times are hard ahead, I won't falter.

Like the cries of "Remember Pearl Harbor", "Remember the Alamo".

Everytime I see it, it's the pictures of the people that were left behind that makes me cry. Because I know, even three years later, their grief is more than mine. More than I could ever understand. Their loved ones are gone and can hurt no more. But they are still here.

There are a lot more things I have thought about the Democrat party. For once, I started researching all of the grand plans and the agenda items. I started looking at their support base and I started realizing that these folks really didn't understand me; represent me.

I guess, there is truly nothing like the converted, because now I can't stand that party as it is. The truth is, I feel that they turned away from me before I ever turned away from them.

onein said...

You put my exact same feelings into words. Everything that has been inside me-- basically the reason I set up a blog-- its all there.

As recently as last November I split my votes. I started the Democratic Primary season with a clean slate. I was ready to listen. And I listened to every speech I could. I came away not only not voting for a Democrat for President, but I will never vote for a Democrat again.

I came around a little late, and I can't put my feelings into the right words.

You did that. Thanks.