“Hey, Mark: I got a question for ya!” my brother-in-law, a rabid right-winger, said as he approached me from across the yard at a recent family gathering.
That’s when I committed an error in judgment almost as severe as the one my sister made the moment she accepted his proposal: I responded.
“What is it?” I said before I could catch myself. Damn! All those years of therapy and, still, this.
“I guess Slick Willie got caught with his pants down again, huh?” Dolton sniggered as he slithered up beside me.
“What are you talking about?” I asked needlessly.
“You know: your hero, Bill Clinton. Didja catch his meltdown with Chris Wallace on Fox News the other day?”
Good old Dolt and his Bush-supporting, Limbaugh-parroting, ovine brethren: they’re so pathetically predictable. Too late now, though: the battle was on.
“First,” I said, “Bill Clinton is not my hero. I’ve long felt ambivalent about the man.”
“Like a frog?”
“You know, amviba--, I mean, amphiba--, well, however that word is said, you know what I mean: like a frog.”
“Well, frankly, no,” I said, “I’ve really never quite known what you’ve meant although, in this case, I think you’re referring to ‘amphibious.’”
“Yeah, that’s it!”
“No, that’s not how he makes me feel.”
“But, since we’re on the subject,” I continued, “it certainly would be hard to be more toadie-like than was Mr. Wallace during the Clinton ambush.”
“What ambush?” Dolt said indignantly. “He was only asking what people wanted to know: why didn’t Clinton go after Osama bin Laden when he had the chance? Wallace even said he’d gotten a lot of e-mails asking the very same thing!”
“Oh, it must be true, then, if he said it.”
“I’m glad you see my point,” Dolt said, beaming.
How could I miss it, sitting atop his head like that?
“Look, Dolt,” I replied, wondering how painful it was, really, to slit one’s wrists, “the only e-mails a soulless worm like Wallace or any of the neocon whoreporate media lackeys over at Pravda West pay attention to are the ones they get from the White House telling them exactly what the latest lie or straw man du jour is. Except this time, their characteristically ham-fisted attempt to rewrite history failed when Clinton called them on it.”
Dolt shook his head. “Yeah? Well, what about that recent documentary on ABC proving Clinton was more interested in getting his knob polished than protecting the country?”
“‘Proving?’ Do you even know what a documentary is? As opposed to, oh, let’s just pick a wild example, a right-wing-produced piece of propaganda piped directly into your home via what used to be the public’s airwaves that’s fully intended to shoo facts down the memory hole?”
He snorted. “Huh! You liberals: always so concerned about your precious ‘facts.’”
“Uh, yeah,” I said while making a mental note to check on the legal definition of justifiable homicide, “we’re funny like that. But, for a little while now, since like when time began, facts have had an odd way of rebutting lies, and the record is clear: the Clinton administration aggressively went after bin Laden while George Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of that rotten lot, all too strangely and conveniently, did nothing before 9/11. Other than plot it, I mean.”
“Please!” Dolton scoffed. “You and your loony tunes conspiracy theories. Besides, Condi Rice recently said the 9/11 commission ‘turned over every rock’ during its investigation.”
“Well, she could only have been describing how the commission finally located Cheney and Bush so their non-testimony could be non-gathered.”
This, my brother-in-law ignored. He’d already returned to a basic, base right-wing obsession: sex.
As in: other people’s.
“What am I supposed to tell little Dolt about the sanctity of the Oval Office?” my brother-in-law went on, referring to my unfortunate nephew, nine-year-old Dolton, Jr. “That the big Dolt thinks it’s just fine and dandy for the president to order some defenseless young thing to blow him in the White House?”
“Yeah, I guess it’s far better instead to tell him the president orders defenseless young things to be blown up from the White House.”
His eyes narrowed. “You know, Mark, when you’re the only country in the world with guts enough to go to war to spread peace, sometimes innocent people die. Besides, we need to get the terrorists before they get us.”
“Not so fast there, Dolt, with that false dichotomy of ‘it’s either them or us,’” I countered. “That bit sounds suspiciously close to another country’s policy to which our country’s policy is suspiciously close.”
Dolt’s face flushed crimson. “Surely not you, my sickeningly tolerant brother-in-law, are talking about -- ,” he looked around furtively and then said, in a hushed and angry voice, “the I-word?”
“You bet I’m talkin’ about Israel ,” I said.
He gasped. “Why, that’s…you’re…anti-semantic!” he cried.
“No,” I responded, “your beloved Dubya is anti-semantic. Speaking of the devil, though, and considering how I view Bush’s hellish actions and creepy, evil lineage, I could safely be called anti-satanic.”
“I’ve come to expect that sort of crap from you about our brave president,” Dolt hissed as his neck veins bulged, “but you’ve really crossed the line with your Jew-hating garbage. Why don’t you just go ahead and join the terrorists?”
“And who, exactly, would these ‘terrorists’ be?”
“Muslims, you idiot. Palestinians. Arabs.”
“I see. And so, in your book, which would obviously have lots of monosyllabic words and pictures in it, all Palestinians and Arabs and Muslims are terrorists?”
Even Dolt could see the ever-smaller corner looming beyond his broad paint brush.
“Well, uh…no, I, uh…didn’t mean that…”
“You didn’t mean it even though you said it? What is that, then: your best Bush administration impersonation?”
“What I mean is…uh…,” Dolt sputtered, “is…right…that your little bleeding heart apparently doesn’t care that the Palestinians have vowed to push Israel into the sea. Ha!”
“Yeah, we’ve heard that one for years now. Yet I’ve always wondered just how the power-mad Palestinians would do that: brandish their rocks and slingshots while chasing a terrified Israel , with its two to three hundred nuclear warheads and immense military, into the water?”
“Very funny. But even if you don’t care about Israel , you’ll be singing a different tune, and in Muslim, too, when you and your terrorist-loving pals have all helped al-Qaeda win the war on terror and the caliphate comes to town.”
“Uh, there is no Muslim language. A Muslim is a person, one who adheres to the Islamic faith,” I explained.
“See what I mean? Stickin’ up for ‘em every chance you get. Case closed.”
“What’s closed is your mind,” I said. “Anyone who believes Bush’s recent insane assertion that the bogeymen of al-Qaeda could somehow ‘advance their vision of a unified, totalitarian Islamic state that can confront and eventually destroy the free world’ is just as nuts as he and his Project for the New American Century collaborators are. Of course, I can see why Bush and his crooked corporate cronies would be frightened by the prospect of this conspicuously undefined ‘Islamofascism’ he keeps harping about.”
Dolt’s eyes widened. “You can?”
“Sure!” I said. “It would interfere mightily with the good, old American fascism we have now.”
“You’re hopeless, Mark. You’re no better than the terrorists, who hate Israel because it’s Jewish and hate us because of our freedoms.”
I was impressed: Dolt was on pace for a personal best in CPM (cliché’s per minute).
“Then they should quit hating us any moment now,” I said, “since the Bushies, abetted by a criminal Congress, have done a fine job of eliminating those freedoms, especially with the recent passage of the breathtakingly hideous ‘Detainee Bill’ that jettisons habeas corpus, precludes judicial review, ‘legalizes’ torture and allows Bush to imprison people forever.”
“I know where he could start with that last one,” Dolt sneered.
“Which is something I’ll sure you’ll dutifully follow up on once your shoo-in application for Neighborhood Snitch Leader is approved,” I replied.
He didn’t like that so much but I didn’t care; I was steaming now:
“As for the taboo of criticism of Israeli government policies equating to anti-Semitism you’ve trotted out a couple times,” I continued, “it’s the Big Lie that stifles all debate -- that is, if debate still existed in this cursed land -- about the decades-long conflating of American and Israeli policy that has proved disastrous for Palestinians, Israelis and Americans alike, an ugly whopper dealt to you daily by the complicit media you’ve swallowed whole.”
“You mean the liberal media? Hardly!”
“If you mean the media are hardly liberal, I’d actually find myself agreeing with you for once which would mean I’d then have to go out and shoot myself,” I replied.
“You know that’s not what I meant,” he sniffed.
“But that’s how it is,” I said. “This ‘liberal media’ canard you and your fellow Dittoheads constantly spout: the truth is, the majority of American media are controlled by five mega-conglomerates whose owners are almost exclusively right-wingers and solely interested in acquiring and consolidating even more outlets so they can, what else?, make more money. There’s great advantage to them simply regurgitating what they’re fed by the ruling fascists instead of doing what the late, great First Amendment intended as their real function: keeping an objective eye on government and openly reporting the details.”
“Who cares about ‘details’ when our American way of life is threatened??” Dolt exclaimed, once again proving he never found an unrelated tangent he didn’t like.
“I don’t know, Dolt, maybe it should be threatened.”
“Well, with our long record of bombing whomever we feel obstructs our ‘right’ to consume as much of the planet’s resources we desire; eviscerated civil liberties; fixed elections; super-galactic consumer and national debt; a record trade imbalance; an endemic, distracting addiction to shopping; a poisoned environment; bursting prisons; a racist drug war; wacko religious fundamentalism; a dismal educational system; enflamed xenophobia; rampant sexism; forty-five million Americans without health care; oppression of labor; and a government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations, maybe our cherished way of life could use a little upsetting.”
“Where do you get all this stuff?” Dolt demanded. “It’s like we’re living on different planets.”
What a delightful I image, I thought.
“Besides,” he said snarkily, “it’s pretty funny how I never hear any of this on TV.”
“Hel-lo! Have you not heard a word I’ve said?” I asked.
“I only listen if it’s important,” Dolt spat.
“Then listen to this: you and your fellow good Germans continuously and willingly expose yourselves to, essentially, state-run media that spew ridiculous, non-stop lies like: Clinton did nothing while Bush has done everything to protect America; all Muslims are jihadists whose sole aim is to squelch your right to watch American Idol while you gorge yourself on toxic food and charge more useless crap from QVC; the gutting of the Constitution is actually a good thing designed to, Orwellian-like, protect your liberties while simultaneously sending them down the crapper; Lebanon and Gaza had it coming while tiny, oppressed Israel, the recipient of three billion U.S. dollars annually that help fund the world’s fourth-largest military, is a democratic oasis simply defending itself against swarthy bad people rather than a terrorist apartheid state whose main lobby AIPAC has both a stranglehold on American foreign policy and ensured anyone daring to criticize the Israeli government’s inhumanity is automatically slandered as a Jew hater; and on and on and on.”
“Now, wait a -- ,” Dolt began.
“No, you wait,” I said. “I’m not done.”
For once, he was silent.
“And so all of this,” I said, “all of it, is spun and sanitized and sexed-up and spoon-fed in sensationalistic and sugarcoated sound bites to you and your fellow phony patriots, assuring you it’s all part of a grand scheme to keep you safe from some scary plan of world domination by ‘Islamofascists’ that exists only in your masters’ heads.
“You buy the lies and then, worse, spread them, repeating them until they’ve become gospel, thereby making possible both the transformation of a land that once held forth truly lofty ideals into a neo-feudalistic, murderous rogue nation, and the perpetuation of catastrophic atrocities like Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and next, Iran, where your heroes fully intend, soon, to use nuclear weapons.”
Dolt had remained silent and either had suffered a stroke or was still searching for his next Bushism. At last, he spoke:
“Whatever. You believe what you want to believe, Mark. The fact is, there really are people in the world who seek to obliterate America , and it’s just like the president says: we fight them there, or fight them over here.”
“Well, Dolt,” I answered, “I’ll concede one point: America does have mortal enemies. But you’re a little late. Had you taken but a moment to pry yourself away from the electronic doping tube to look around, maybe you’d have noticed millions of them have already been spread throughout this country for quite some time.”
Panic creased his face.
“Really?? No! Where are they?”
“I’m looking at one.”
Mark Drolette is a writer who currently lives in Sacramento, California, and whose next book Why Costa Rica? Why the Hell Not? will at last be his first, due to be published once it’s finished and then, finally, published. He can be reached at: email@example.com. Copyright © 2006 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
Other Articles by Mark Drolette
Startling Conclusion: Bombing People Really Pisses Them Off