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Turn Your Back

I would like to thank Tom White for his excellent reminiscence and commentary on WWII. One little story he told tickled my imagination. The common Japanese folks at the time, he says, had the custom of turning their backs on the high and mighty folks, out of respect. I thought, isn’t that a curious custom?

Then I remembered the time that I went with my father-in-law to meet a plane at the Rapid City, South Dakota, airport, and there was the powerful Senator George McGovern casually entertaining an admiring crowd. My father-in-law wanted me to go over and shake his hand, but I turned around and went outdoors instead — not out of respect. That was thirty years ago.

This year the eyes of the world are fearfully watching the most powerful man on Earth stumble through his script promising death and destruction to his enemies anywhere and everywhere on the planet, and everybody wonders who will be next in line for that evil puppet’s job? That is, for course, assuming that the elections aren’t cancelled in the name of national security.

I look at the roster of candidates, and I read what they do not say, and I think we’re in big trouble. For one thing, nobody is saying that they will renounce the usurped power of the office to make war. Nobody is saying that they will renounce the usurped power of the office to rule by executive order. Nobody is saying they will repeal the Patriot Act, or disband the office of Homeland Security. Nobody denounces our military occupation of dozens of foreign countries, or promises to bring our troops home. Nobody denounces the police state so carefully crafted over decades in the District of Criminals.

So the names may change in November, but nothing else will change, for no man will give up the power. I hear people speak of this in hushed tones. Common folks, working folks. They know. As a decorated Marine Corps veteran put it, "Look, get this straight, I love this country, but I hate this government."

In the election farce of 2000 roughly one-sixth of the US population put this guy into office, and nearly two-thirds of our population turned their backs on the whole business. I wonder how many will turn their backs in 2004?

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