"What we've got here is failure to
Some men you just can't reach…
So, you get what we had here last week,
which is the way he wants it!
Well, he gets it!
N' I don't like it any more than you men."
Look at your young men fighting
Look at the hate we're breeding
My hands are tied
D'you wear a black armband
And I don't need your civil war
Look at the shoes your filling
My hands are tied
"WE PRACTICE SELECTIVE ANNIHILATION OF MAYORS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
I don't need your civil war
I don't need one more war
Phew. What a powerful song. You don't have to be a liberal (I ain't!) to find something to like here. Conservatives don't love war; we're just willing to face the fact that it is sometimes necessary.
While Axl and company may have been railing against the "military-industrial complex," I see something deeper in this song. This is about the sadness of man's inhumanity to man, in all its forms, throughout history. For the most part, the masses are merely pawns in the ridiculous struggles for power fought by a handful of men at any given moment in history. The fact that today's struggle is a necessary one doesn't lessen the tragedy of war, nor does it minimize the suffering and loss that war brings upon people who neither asked for it nor have a choice in it.
I've always been a patriot, even when I was a kid. My pride in the United States used to give me a lump in my throat, even when I was too young to really understand what I was feeling. Corny? Yeah, probably.
In these post-9/11 days, it is that much more important to me that I live in a country where peace and freedom are a reality. I can't imagine what it is like to live in a country where your perception of reality is so skewed that bombs and destroying the lives of others are your only forms of self-expression. To a certain extent, we are all victims of the circumstances around us, but we also create our own reality. Not every Palestinian thinks teaching their own children to blow up innocent children and old people makes sense. Not every Muslim thinks that there are 72 virgins awaiting them in heaven if they will only blow up non-Muslims. But there are far too many of each.
One of the things that makes the United States unique is the fact that it is, in a very tangible sense, The New World. Physically separated from most of the population of the world, North America took a heroic effort to reach. When you were living in the world that you knew and understood in Europe, it took a very significant decision and a great commitment to get yourself here. In a very real sense, then, we inhabitants of this great country were naturally selected for a desire for a better life. We are the decendents of people who dared to venture into the unknown on a quest for freedom, wealth, opportunity, and happiness. While other people stayed where they were comfortable, our ancestors left their warm beds and crossed an ocean to reach the land of opportunity.
Even the Mexicans who illegally cross into this country have the gumption to risk it all in pursuit of a more promising future. This land attracts the best of the best. People strive to get here. They let go of what they know in the hope of something better.
As much as the rest of the world resents us and loves to point out our many flaws, they, too, recognize that we are a nation of achievers, decended from their own departed pioneers and risk-takers. We, not they, carry in our genes the vision of a hopeful future and the chutzpah to actually go for it.
Flawed and imperfect as we are, We the people are imbued with a spirit and determination that the rest of the world can only dream about. We live it.
Can there be a more crystal clear illustration of the difference between Good and Evil than in the back-to-back comparison of the way the United States handles Saddam versus the way the barbarous scumbags behead their kidnapped victims? Rarely do you find someone more desperately in need of a good hanging than Hussein, yet the US is going to hand him over to the new Iraqi government to be dealt with in an open, legal manner. Meanwhile, these radical whack-o's kidnap innocent victims — people who have done more good for the Muslims than Saddam has — and behead them on camera.
Wouldn't it be nice to just blow these bastards up and be done with them? We're too good to just wipe them all out. We have to go to the trouble of sifting between the genuinely evil and the mildly wicked.
Sometimes it really sucks being the good guys.