Monday, July 03, 2006
Wherein I have a Gone with the Wind Moment about the Iraq War & America for the Fourth
Bear w/ me... This weekend was spent taking care of a sick BabyGirl. As she was napping across my lap Sun evening, "Gone with the Wind" came on TCM, so I settled in to watch. I have seen the film several times before (it was one of my nana's favs-- and NO, she was not a wistful Southerner-- she was a naturalized American who thought Ohio-born Clark Gable was hot). The scene where all the Southern boys are excitingly discussing war and how they will beat the Yankees b/c "a gentleman simply cannot lose to such an ill-mannered enemy" and "The South will win b/c we're fighting the good fight" and "the war won't even last a month" crap arrives, and I was struck by how alike their delusions of grandeur were to our own BushCo in 2002/03: "The fact is, like Cheney and Wolfowitz and all the president’s men, many of us believed it would be a cakewalk. We believed that no matter how many Iraqis died in Shock and Awe, they would be grateful and no more than a handful of our soldiers would pay the price. We believed it would be a long wkend in the desert (like the 1st Gulf War) and when it was over there would be parades, parties and medals of distinction." Thru all of their chest beating, the men notice that Rhett Butler isn't saying much, so they excitedly ask his opinion. Rhett gives it to them: He tells everyone the much-needed truth in the frozen caste-like society where freewill doesn't seem to exist & everything is done out of honor and tradition, regardless of futility. Butler tells his fellow Southerners there's no way the South could defeat the North if war breaks out. This angers them, and they cry "treason!" & scream "traitor!" (sound familiar?) b/c he has the gall to say the truth. He boldly asks: "Do we have ammunition factories? Do we have food? Do we have a navy? All we have is tobacco, slaves, and cotton." All true statements, yet they still insist he's wrong. Rhett is absolutely right,a nd so are we. I want to slap Bush's War Fans' empty heads and scream: Yeehaw is not foreign policy, morons. It didn't work for the Confederates. It isn't working for us under BushCo's regime. This film was released in 1939. The Civil War began in 1861... have we learned NOTHING from history? Let's pan to the scene where a downtrodden Scarlett O'Hara has to go back to the makeshift Atlanta hospital to ask if the doctor she volunteered for can assist her w/ Melanie Wilkes' emergency labor and delivery. As you can see in the image above, she is simply trying to walk thru, but as the camera pulls back, we see that her path is blocked by a sea of 100s of wounded soldiers, and their painful, pitiful moaning is deafening as she carefully steps around and over them. But the look on her face is indifference. She has simply seen too much death to let it affect her. Is this what we are doing to our troops and the Iraqi people? Do they simply walk around and over pools of blood and bits of flesh in the streets? How much of your soul and your humanity do you have to lose in order to become indifferent to that? I feel like those of us who dare to protest this war or print previously well known publicized info (NYTs and the SWIFT banking) are like Rhett. We say the truth-- we often scream the truth-- yet it falls on the deaf ears of those who would rather slap a useless magnet on their gas-hog SUV, as they delusionally think that they are true patriots. Like those vacuous cheerleaders who cry "I'm a Republican b/c I want less govt in my private life", and then they applaud warantless spying, Constitutional amendments and BushCo's regime brand of fascism, I present this: When casualty lists for the Battle of Gettysburg are passed around to weary people gathered in the square, a bandmaster directs a rag-tag band of very young boys to play "Dixie" in tribute-- it is a moment that makes you laugh b/c it is so macabre and perverse. I want to have a steel-toed boot- ass kicking party at the WH this Fourth of July instead of a BBQ, and I suspect Rhett felt the same: He is enraged by the obvious waste of the death toll, the inability of the people to see the truth & the futility of the war. Rhett cries: "Look at them, all these poor tragic people. The South is sinking to its knees. It'll never rise again. 'The Cause!' The cause of living in the past is dying right in front of us." That is exactly it, isn't it? It is true for us in Iraq. It is true for the Palestinians & the Israelis, for the genocide in Africa . If we could just stop being so stupid, delusional and selfish for 1 second & lay down those weapons, we might see how ridiculous all of this killing is. But we are so caught up in "The Cause" and "in living in the past" that our very future is dying right in front of us. Why? Racism and religious intolerance are the techniques of imperialism that work very well to set people against each other. We can all feel justified in oppressing people and denying them normal human rights as long as we can think that they belong to a race or a religion that is subhuman and thus inherently undeserving of respectful treatment. Look around you America, and wake up before it is too late or before we are tossed into another war. Or I guess we can all just keep waltzing and spinning our way thru history like the Confederates: pretending that the war is about honor & maintaining a precious way of life and not about imperialistic slavery, greed, racism and intolerance. Happy Fourth of July.