All these comparisons made, some humorous, and some not so humorous, between major figures in the current war and historical or literary characters. For the record, I would like to compare myself to Richard Blaine, better known as Rick in Casablanca.
What do I see when I am out in the "real world?" The majority of Americans I see at work and in day to day activities are either cheerleading the war effort or going on about how they don't want to listen. Apathy is the position of the American majority, and that doesn't surprise me in the least. People just want to go on with their daily routine and pretend this war is no different than business as usual. People don't want to be bothered. They want to turn off the news, put in a "feel good" movie on the DVD player and sleep peacefully. They complain about having their daily routine interrupted by protesters. The apathetic masses want to pretend the whole world isn't changing before our eyes because of a major shift in U.S. foreign policy. "This is stuff for our leaders to decide, it isn't my call. That's what they're there for."
My position has changed in the last forty-eight hours. I have become much more radical in my opinion. I continue to believe in the necessity of focused and intelligently stated opposition. I groan at the yelling of slogans with very little basis in reality. The only reason I am not marching today in the local protest is because if I see another "No Blood For Oil" or "Bush is Hitler" sign I think I just might snap. Yet, I have come to strongly believe that civil disobedience and the inconveniencing of ordinary Americans is not only okay, but that it is necessary. Eventually I will overcome my personal opposition to actively protesting instead of just writing about it.
Politics is your business.
My business is running a saloon.
Business as usual was acceptable to me for a long time. When they look at my record they find that in the 1980s I was actively involved in protesting the policies of the Reagan Administration. Propping up third world dictators because they vowed to destroy communism and swear friendship with the United States didn't sit too well with me. Oh yeah, this Saddam guy was one of them, and I remember being opposed to giving this bastard weapons and money to fight the nasty Iranians. This is where I begin to draw the comparison to Rick. The Germans had a dossier on Rick. They knew about his past activities and doubted his professed neutrality. Rick was jaded. His heart was broken and he just wanted to run his saloon and drink away his memories. I can relate to that.
Many exit visas have been sold in Casablanca
You've never sold one
This is why we allow you to remain in business
My heart feels very heavy. I am highly empathic and that has a lot to do with it. I listen to people on all sides of the issues and come down to the same conclusion. I am fundamentally opposed to a pre-emptive war, for it is a war of aggression, and the bad guys always draw first. The good guys are always quicker though. We defend ourselves. We don't strike. I would like the United States to make a few changes, for the sake of semantics. We now have a Department of Defense and a Department of Offense. I'd like to give our soldiers the right to decide which department they work for. Those that cheer on the new policy, which hopes this invasion goes well because it will pave the way for future action to "correct the world," can join up with the Department of Offense. Those that joined the military because they believed they were going to be defending their country can continue to defend our nation.
Dissent is being marginalized, by both the government and the media. The only way the opposition is going to be heard is by making a lot of noise and being disruptive. I'm sorry if you are inconvenienced on your way to bingo or the bowling alley. I'm sorry if you feel that you should be able to continue to go about your daily routine without interruption just like a normal day in the life. I'm sorry you are so apathetic. The Department of Offense is making a lot of noise and disrupting the peace with my tax dollars. So, we will make noise, and I hope it becomes a lot louder and a lot more disruptive. I hope it becomes a fireball that rages out of control. When I listened to the news last night and heard people talking about how protesters are doing a disservice by taking police away from the war on terror and putting us in danger, I changed my mind. Disrupt away. Disrupt everything. Get arrested. Get smacked in the head with a club. Do everything you can to make sure they never stop hearing us. Maybe eventually the apathetic masses will snap out of their stupor. The sidelines need to be closed.
Welcome back to the fight, Rick.
This time I know our side will win.