“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Black Thursday

In case you haven’t heard, the House and Senate both voted today to pass the resolution to let Bush go to war with Iraq if it’s, uh, necessary. All he has to do now is officially start the war, and then work it into his schedule to mention it to congress within 48 hours after that. “Oh, by the way, uh, remember those diplomatic measures? Dick figured we exhausted them so, uh, we started a war. I almost forgot to tell you!”

Finally, our representatives can get to the important work of collecting bribes instead of wasting their time with all that ‘declaring war’ bullshit the founding fathers saddled them with when they wrote that pain in the ass we call the Constitution.

The Constitution was getting old anyway.

If you think they’re still planning to use war as a last option, you are naive or insane. You wouldn’t be the only one – these congress people voted ‘YES, LET’S ATTACK’ just days after the head of the CIA admitted that we are only really at risk from Hussein IF we attack him.

If somebody asks you to hand them your gun, you don’t give it to them, even if they swear they won’t use it. And you don’t tell the president yeah, it’s okay for you to have the power to declare war yourself, if you promise that you will take us into consideration. Even though we didn’t take the people who voted us into office into consideration.

I am especially disgusted by the ‘yes’ vote of Washington State Senator Maria Cantwell, a god damn democrat. The Washington State Democratic Party voted unanimously to oppose war. We are the home of Jim McDermott, one of the few politicians I might consider calling a “hero”, because he’s actually standing up against the Bush regime, even going to Iraq to investigate for himself (and already being smeared for it). As you read in my column, 8,000-10,000 people marched for peace here in Seattle on Sunday, and I understand another couple thousand from a church had a candlelight march last night. I’m sure the demonstrations in Olympia and Bellingham were nothing to shake a stick at either. It is clear where her constituents stand, but she turned her back on us, and on the Constitution. 

As Senator Robert Byrd said, they might as well hang a sign on the Senate that says “Out of Business” or “Gone fishin’.”

So, this is it, people. X marks the spot. The judicial coup of 2000 was a complete success. I have taken what hope I had in our system of government and have put it up in the attic with the old Christmas tree ornaments that I never even use anymore. May a rat shit on it. I think today will be remembered as a shameful day in American history. As the repercussions of this war (and all the future first strike wars that it paves the way for) begin to hit home, I hope some of you will join me in writing every single one of these bastards who voted ‘YES’ to remind them that it’s their fucking fault.

But I’m here tonight not just to complain, but to tell you that this is what in motion pictures I call the OH SHIT IT’S ON moment. We were Billy Jack standing here trying to make peace. But they pushed us too far. Take your boots off, boys and girls, it’s time for us to take our fucking country back. We may be mere Ewoks but we got big rocks.

Today I saw celebrity war criminal Oliver North on Comedy Central hawking his new action adventure book. Jon Stewart gave him some shit, mentioning his “legal troubles” and “credibility issues” although I would’ve also liked him to mention his ARMY OF TERRORISTS that make it awkward whenever he is on the news as an expert on terrorism. This is a man who everybody knows should be in jail, and he’s a TV star instead. This is what we can’t let happen anymore.

Anyway, Oliver North had the nerve to invoke Tod Beamer and these other guys on that plane over Pennsylvania. I still think that plane got shot down but I don’t mind them being called heroes, because fate did make them heroes by putting them in that spot where they had to do what any of us would do in that situation – try to fight back, do what you can, maybe even say something like “let’s roll” if you, like me, watch too many Steven Seagal movies.

But when people keep using these people’s deaths to promote war and all this bullshit, it’s not only insulting, but it’s a misread of the metaphors here. What people seem to forget is that these people VOTED whether or not to fight back. They believed in democracy! If you’re going to use them as a symbol you have to use them as a symbol against what is going on in this country where votes don’t count, where a Constitution-destroying bill is ramrodded through without any of our representatives EVEN FUCKING READING IT, where Congress and Senate don’t represent the American people, where the President gets to declare war when he damn well pleases, even if the Constitution says otherwise.

I do believe in democracy, and voting, and the Constitution, and that means I believe in America, despite what Republicans and Democrats say about supporting your president, right or wrong. Even if he’s Saddam Hussein? Even if he’s Dick Cheney?

I want the old America back. The one that stood for what America stood for, one time. So I feel that, unlike these traitors, I am allowed to say “let’s roll.”

Let’s take to the streets. Let’s go to Washington DC and San Francisco for the big marches on the 26th (the anniversary of the day they voted for that bill they hadn’t read). Let’s march a whole fucking lot, but let’s do more than that. This is not the ’60s anymore, we have new experiences, we have new generations, we have new tools at our disposal. Video cameras, digital cameras, cell phones and especially the internet will change the dynamics of civil disobedience and non-violent protest. They make us more powerful, and we’ll need it because the weapons this time are nuclear and the media this time is NOT on the frontlines. The kids don’t just got guitars anymore, they got MTV, they got hip hop, they got samplers, scanners, color printers, MP3s and flash cartoons. Imagine the flow of information, ideas and art that we can transmit around the world in a millisecond, compared to what it took back then. We need to use whatever tools we have to fix this country. We need to use our culture as a weapon, the way our enemy does.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that there’s a thrilling new Desert Storm video game, complete with Saddam Hussein, brand new for the X-Box? I don’t.

I hope everyone who is upset by this turn of events will take some time to consider what talents they have that could be used to stop this war and this regime. Whatever it is, we need it.

Let’s get these fuckers. We’re taking our country back.

thanks,

Vern

P.S. For a little inspiration, check out these great songs by Saul Williams (from that movie SLAM) on notinournamemusic.com

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2002 at 6:29 pm and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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