Guilt and the High Cost of Annoyance

Okay, kiddies, I’m going off the rails this morning and I’m riding the crazy train straight into Rantville, so you may wanna jump off as soon as possible.  Why?  ‘Cause things will be said, and there will be . . . language.  I usually leave something for those who jump in and see the warning, and decided they don’t want to go on, so here:  read about how Natasha Kerensky helped The Motherland during the 1917 Revolution.  You’re welcome.

For the rest–onward.

The election hasn’t turned me into an old, nasty person who’s opening my door every few minutes to get you damn kids to get off my lawn, but find there are fewer things these days that prevent me from getting pissed off.  As I told someone the other day, “I don’t have a temper, just a low tolerance for bullshit,” and said tolerance is growing lower by the day.

For example, there is social media, and what happens when you discover your friends think you should like what they like.

I was keyed up over the election, and I breathed a sigh of relief when they finished late last Tuesday night.  I even got in a few digs at the losers, which I have to admit wasn’t nice, but I was in a “Don’t give a shit” mood, and that’s never pleasant.

Then I went to bed, and woke up the next day to a barrage of petitions.

Most of the time I ignore petitions.  If I want to get on something I’m there, but for the most part I’m passionate about those things that touch me.  But the petitions were coming:  Tell Harry Reid That We Want Elizabeth Warren on the Banking Committee.  Tell The President to Have the DoJ Decriminalize Marijuana and Let the States Decide.  Draft Rachel Maddow to Run For Senate–

Hold on there, people.  You’re serious about this?  You’re saying, right now, a couple of days after the 2012 Election is through, you want me to get on a petition draft to get Rachel Maddow to run for the Senate?

Now, I like Rachel.  She’s likely one of the smartest individuals on television, and knows a great deal about how public policy and government works . . . but I’m thinking she’s not the sort of person who’s gonna wake up one morning, log onto Facebook, and go, “Hey!  16,000 people signed a petition to tell me I need to run for the Senate!  I’m on this shit!”

In other words, not going to happen.

Then I got the word that I needed to hop onto a Cause, which is more important than any silly ‘ol petition, because . . . it’s a Cause, and that makes it the Eleven of Petitions.

Most of the time I ignore these as well, because as with petitions, I get on what I want to get on, and most of my feelings do not follow yours, just as yours don’t follow mine.  But when I get a Cause sent to me, where we just have to nominate Malala Yousufzai for the Nobel Peace Prize . . . I don’t want to bang my head on a desk; I want to find the person who started the cause and slam dance their noggin.

Not to take anything away from Malala Yousufzai, because any person who stands up to religious extremists who are so pants-shitting scared of anything that doesn’t fit their limited world view that they will try to kill young girls who are flippin’ them off with a book needs all the support they can get . . . but if by now you aren’t aware that you can’t nominate anyone for a Nobel Peace Prize, you need to get some schoolin’ as well.

This happens every year.  People get together and say, “Hey, you know who’s done a lot to promote world peace?  Glenn Beck!  He needs a Peace Prize:  let nominate him!”  And then three thousand yahoos send off their “Nominating petition” and sit back all fat and happy that they’ve done something good.

Then the others come:  Rush Limbaugh!  Harry Reid!  Sarah Pallin!  Morning Joe!  Dr. Oz!  Tony Stark!  Natalia Romanova!  Nick Fury–no, not the black one, the other one.  It comes every year–

And every year the Nobel people say, “You’re wasting your time; we don’t take nominations, because . . . damn.”

But, hey:  better to take that shot that your Cause might just be the one that gets read, than not take any shot at all.  After all, it’s the Internet:  what’s the harm?

Though this is just small change in a world of Big Internet Money.  For if there is one thing that drives me even nuttier that the few items listed above, it’s getting hit upside the head with following:

Abused animals and military personnel.

I have never abused an animal.  Never.  Been pissed off at them from time to time, and have been annoyed at the neighbor’s dog barking its ass off at 2 AM, but I’ve never abused an animal.  I love cats, and it hurts me greatly to even to think of anyone being able to hurt, torture, or even kill such as creature.

That said, I really enjoy logging onto Facebook at 6:40 in the morning and discovering that one of my friends has decided I need to know that there are all sorts of scumbags out there who hurt animals, so here’s a picture of a dog that was tortured to the edge of death, send some money to keep this from happening again–you’re welcome!

Over the years I have donated money to shelters and organizations to fight against this sort of thing.  For a while I owned five cats, and four of them were rescued from shelters.  So the history is there, and I feel that I’ve done what I can to help animals short of becoming a Crazy Cat Lady.

Then the following happened, and I don’t believe I can sum up my feelings, in words, any better than this:

I love you, Sarah, and I love your music–but it used to be when I’d hear that song, and see those pictures, I either changed the channel, or left the room.  ‘Cause as nice a person as you likely are, I knew you were going to show me why I should help this cause–and if it was necessary to guilt trip my ass into forking over the cash, so be it.

And it went on for years.  It’s still going on, but with a different actress, and different animals, because lets be real:  a couple of years after the first, “I’m Sarah McLachlan,” ad went out, the animals you were seeing in that ad were, in all likelihood, dead.  Probably because you–yes, you!–didn’t send money.  Probably because you changed the channel . . .

But now we move over to the world view of military people on social media–and I feel the need to place a little personal information here . . .

I grew up during some of the worst parts of the Cold War, and during the height of the Vietnam War.  The majority of the people in my family were pro-military, and supported the Vietnam War–though I’m not sure if it was because they felt we needed to prevent the Domino Theory from becoming a reality; or, as my grandfather put it, “We need to show those gooks who’s in charge.”  I tend to think it was more of the later than the former, but that’s another story.

When I was eleven I joined the local chapter of the Civil Air Patrol.  The CAP was not just a paramilitary organization for kids then:  it was considered part of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.  I was, from eleven until just after I turned fourteen, in the Air Force, more or less.  I wore a uniform for meetings, I went off to a few Air Force bases in my time, and I did my share of saluting people who were of a higher rank than me–which was most everyone.

But I also learned first aid; I watched a child birthing movie twelve; I figured out how to navigate an airplane–and I was the go-to kid when you needed to know the effects of a near-by nuclear detonation (in other words, it didn’t kill you right away), because I was about the only one who knew how to use the circular, handy-dandy, nuclear bomb calculator.  Yep, if you needed to know when you were about to get dosed with lethal fallout, I had it down.

I could have even attended the Air Force Academy and graduated in 1980, and if I’d put in my thirty years I’d have gotten out two years ago, probably around a Major or a Lieutenant Colonel, or maybe even a Full Bird, and found out, for sure, if that broom closet at NORAD was really a utility closet, or if the back was another door that only looked like a wall, and that was the real entrance to the SGC.  But that didn’t happen, and there are reasons for it–most of which I really don’t have time to go into right now . . .

That said, every time I get a post from someone on Facebook saying I have to Like this picture of our people in uniform, ’cause if I don’t I’m not supporting the troops, I want to find the person that sent the picture, and stick a heel from one of the boots I’m now wearing up their ass.

Back in the early 70’s, Harlan Ellison used to call it “Flag Waving Patriotism”.  It’s the attitude that the mere fact of  hanging a flag in front of your house, and talking up a good game about how we need to “kill commies”, you were supporting your country and your troops.  In today’s vernacular, it was my earliest exposure to the “America!  Fuck Yeah!” syndrome, which one can find all over the Internet–and you don’t even have to try looking.  It’s right there.  Trust me.

So I get pictures saying that I need to like them if I support our troops; that I have to like them if I defend those who fight for my freedom; that I better like them, otherwise I support the terrorists, and I probably shouldn’t even be living here–

Stop right there.  You do not get to tell me I’m some kind of terrorist because I don’t like your picture.  Ever.  Because I’m not buying your arguments . . .

See, when was the last time the troops really fought for our freedom?  As in, “You’re protecting my state from the Big Bad.”  Invasion of Grenada, 1983?  Don’t think so.  The peacekeeping forces in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War, in 82′ and 83′?  Not really.  NATO intervention in the Kosovo War in 98′ and 99′?  As noble as that effort was, I’d have to say we’re very selective in which ethnic cleansing we try to stop, which raises another set of questions . . .

We have lots of people still in Europe, South Korea, and Japan.  The European forces were meant to stop the Soviet Union, but unless you’re Mitt Romney, the U.S.S.R. ain’t been rattling many sabers of late.  The troops are in South Korea because there’s still a war going on there–really–and there are crazy assholes running the North . . . but the reality there is, North Korea has about a half-million artillery pieces pointed at Seoul, and if they wanted to reduce that city to rubble, about the only way we could stop them would be to invade, or light them up with napalm, but still–not protecting anyone here.  And the forces in Japan were originally put there to keep Japan from attacking anyone else.  These days, it’s more like the Japanese are worried about service personal attacking their daughters . . .

Then there’s Iraq . . . yes, we got rid of a bad dictator, a guy who killed, what?  Killed four hundred thousand of his own people?  Yeah, that is bad . . . ‘cept Saddam would have been the first guy to tell you that the Kurds weren’t his people, just as Suharto, the second President of Indonesia, would tell you those six hundred thousand people that died after the September Revolution in 1966 weren’t really his people; they were Chinese, and more than likely members of the PKI (the then Communist origination in Indonesia), which made them even worst . . . and the million or so people he killed while he was in power, using  weapons we supplied, and done with the training we gave to many of the officers in charge of the military at that time–hey, you know, shit just happens, ‘kay?

But, I will argue, at no time was Iraq ever a threat to us.  We got Saddam, but we also got a trillion bucks run up on the credit card, and we ended up with four thousand dead–which, if not given the state of body armor used these days, would have been about five times that number–and we now have thousands who are in need of physical and mental health treatment . . . only, that’s something that’s really kinda hard to pay for these days, it would seem . . .

And just as a bit of a head’s up:  if you’re going to remove a bad dictator who kills four hundred thousand of the people living in the country they run, try not to kill six hundred and fifty thousand of the same civilians you say you’re saving.  Kinda bad PR, in case you weren’t paying attention . . .

When it comes to supporting the troops, I do this:  I try to support people in the government, or who want to get into government  who aren’t going to send those the troops off to some conflict that’s gonna run up another trillion, and maybe another five or ten thousand dead, on a war that isn’t needed.  Like, say, a country that might have one nuclear device in a few years, who don’t really have a delivery system for said device, who could be turned into a sea of glass in thirty minutes time due to the numerous SLBM boats slinking about in the Indian Ocean–but which is sending a lot of politicians, and other crazy-ass Amurcans, into a pants-pissing frenzy because this is the end of the world as we know it, and it needs to be stopped now!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I’ve heard this shit for fifty years, and I’ll probably hear it for another thirty if I live that long.

You want to do something, get off your butt and do something.  You wanna send me pictures of tortured animals and suffering troops–

I’m all full up with taking care of crazy shit this week.  Come back next week–

You know where to find me.