Man Without a Home

If you’re a regular watcher of The Daily Show or Real Time with Bill Maher, you’ve had the fortune of seeing my fellow Hoosier Kurt Vonnegut talking about the current state of the country. He’s been on a book tour, promoting his newest, A Man Without a Country.

The title probably resonates with lots of disenfranchised liberals at the moment, as we all feel the America we want (and believe in) slipping away from us. At home, we don’t recognize our country anymore, this warring beast where contempt for justice and reason slithers through the populace like a virus; abroad, we watch as the separation between the American government and the American people which has always been graciously granted us slowly erodes, and our friends outside our borders wonder how far into the darkness of imperialism, anti-science and fundamental religiosity, and xenophobia we will sink, and whether we can ever recover. We turn our eyes to foreign shores, and see gay marriage and adoptions legalized in many European countries, universal healthcare for every citizen of every other industrialized country, cutting edge stem cell research being done in developing nations, and we feel our country being lost somewhere behind.

This notion of feeling as though perhaps I’d fit in better somewhere else, perhaps I’m not an American anymore because America doesn’t want someone like me, is perhaps my greatest grudge against our current president. It’s shameful that good and patriotic Americans are maligned, branded with treason, simply for having a different view of what America’s future could be. And so I reject the attempts to make me feel unwelcome in my own country, where the rich tradition of liberalism has seen us through our darkest days of slavery, restricting the right to vote to certain people, the Gilded Age of the robber barons, separate but equal, back alley abortions, and other various mistreatments of Americans who were made to feel this wasn’t their country, either.

Yesterday, I saw the following from Kevin Drum:

SKIN NOT FITTING SO WELL THESE DAYS?....George Bush demonstrates his keen sense of leadership:

Bush was all set to fly to the storm area in Texas, where he planned to observe emergency personnel in action at a San Antonio supply depot. But that plan was scrubbed when the emergency operations group was moved closer to the coast.

Instead, Bush wound up going directly to Colorado, where the Defense Department's Northern Command — responsible for domestic troop deployments — is monitoring storm developments.

....Some obvious options for Bush were ruled out. He wouldn't stay in Washington, where demonstrators were massing for a huge protest against the Iraq war. He probably would avoid his ranch near Crawford, Texas, where he was criticized for spending the first few days of Katrina instead of visiting the disaster scene. He would want to show attention to the storm, but not get so close that he could become a distraction to rescue officials.

Poor guy. He's got no place to call home.....

And you know what I thought? Good.

After five years of making those who disagree with him feel as though they aren’t welcome in their own country, after five years of letting his hacks and media operatives denounce his dissenters as traitors, after five years of screaming into the dark about issues that half the country cares about but he feels he does not have to represent or address, good that he has nowhere to go. Perhaps he’ll experience for an awkward day or two what it feels like to be a man who doesn’t feel secure in his surroundings anymore, a man who wonders what happened to the life he used to enjoy. And let us keep up the pressure, camping outside his ranch and the White House, reminding him that we are Americans and we have a voice that matters, too, for the rest of his administration. Let this man who endeavored to turn the opposition in men and women without a country be a man without a home for the remainder of his days as our dubious leader.

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