- (Photos are from the famous Green Zone press conference with John McCain that I attended last April -- plus one of me in a Humvee because I'm so cool!)
Let's start by enforcing all those international mandates calling for justice in Israel/Palestine -- the Geneva conventions and all that. And while we're at it, let's make all the laws in Israel/Palestine apply equally to Palestinians and Israelis both. If Palestinians need 200 signatures to get a building permit, let's have Israelis need 200 signatures too!
Then let's turn Israel into an actual democracy by giving the vote to EVERYONE in Israel/Palestine -- and giving everyone equal education opportunities too. PhDs for all.
And let's abolish all those Israeli neo-con Jim Crow laws against "non-believers". (Did you know that in Israel today, a non-believer is not a non-Jew. In Israel today, a non-believer is simply anyone who doesn't believe that God gave Israel to the Israeli neo-cons! In Israel today, you can be an Orthodox Jew, keep Kosher, have faith in the G-d of the Torah and still be considered a non-believer. Isn't that a bit weird?) And if a Palestinian has to sit for six hours at a checkpoint and carry ID papers at all times, then let's have Israelis sit at checkpoints for six hours and carry ID papers at all times too.
"And every time an Israeli kills a Palestinian child in cold blood, then a Palestinian gets to...." Oops, forget about that one. Palestinians would have to spend too much time killing Israeli children to even that score. And besides, we are striving toward justice, non-violence and WWJD here. And Jesus definitely would NOT do that!
And then let's tear down the actual physical wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. You just know that this is what Jesus would have done. He wouldn't have wanted to walk through all those checkpoints on his way to visit the Temple or go home to Bethlehem to visit His mom. You can [West B]ank on that!
But what is actually happening here is that I have lured you into reading this essay under false pretenses, using lurid headlines about Jesus liberating Bethlehem as bait in order to talk about something else -- something even more important. Israel and Palestine are on the other side of the world. Sure, I care about what is going on over there. But I care about what is going on here in America a hecka lot more. Why? Because I live here, not there. I'm selfish that way. Get over it.
"So, Jane. What's on your mind now?"
That's a no-brainer. "John McCain." Who do you think is going to win the 2008 presidential election in November? John McCain, of course.
I just got an e-mail from Sterling Greenwood, the editor of the Aspen Free Press. Greenwood is a bona fide member of the Hunter S. Thompson school of Gonzo journalism -- Gonzo journalism is making a comeback by the way because us bloggers can actually say what we want online. We don't need no stinking badges! The corporate media hates us. But we have ALL THE FUN. Us and Jack Kerouac and Mark Twain and Molly Ivins. But I digress.
"Can you believe," e-mailed Greewood, "that John McCain is being trumpeted as a possible GOP front-runner because he won South Carolina? No one mentions that some sixty-seven percent of the voters in that state voted against him." That's right. Most people split their vote between Huckabee and Thompson because they were all pissed off with McCain because of his pro-globalization immigration stance. Much of South Carolina's textile industry was out-sourced to Latin America on McCain's watch. Even South Carolina didn't like McCain. But he will still be our next President.
"Not only that," continued Greenwood, "but on the same day that McCain won South Carolina," -- sort of -- "he came in third in Nevada behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul." What? McCain can't even beat Ron Paul? "Plus earlier McCain came in fourth in Iowa behind Huckabee, Romney and Thompson. And McCain also got trounced in Michigan by Romney and didn't come up to scratch in Wyoming either." Greenwood does present a good case that McCain might be a loser. So WHY are we being stuck with him? Probably for the same reason that the spiritual tradition of Jesus is being ignored and He is being stuck with The Wall. "War" produces pork. Idealism does not.
"Granted," went on the editor, "John McCain won New Hampshire but figure this: If Hilliary Clinton had lost as often as McCain has, the talking heads on TV would have long since have buried her candidacy. But the TV-heads were all set to tout McCain as having 'big mo' if he'd even finished Iowa as high as third. Gimmie a break!"
Sorry, Gonzo. No break for you. John McCain -- not Hillary or Obama or Edwards (and certainly not Kucinich, Richardson, Paul or Gravel!) -- is headed toward sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom, rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn and cruising around in Air Force One.
"But why John McCain?" you might well ask. Because of who he is and what he does. I'm currently reading Terry Pratchett's latest novel, "Making Money," and it is about the actual physical act of MAKING money -- wherein our hero, Moist Von Lipwig, goes off to work at the Ankh-Morpork mint. And said money is being turned out by golems, those ceaseless hard workers who never stop working for their masters. Well. John McCain is a hard-working golem too -- working tirelessly night and day to turn out money for the weapons industry. And from sad past experience with the elections of 2000 and 2004, we have all learned the hard way that corporations like General Electric, Lockheed, Raytheon and Halliburton get to pick the next President. Not us.
Ergo. Thus. Here's my conclusion: In 2008, somehow or other, John McCain will get shoved down our throats. John McCain WILL be our next President. He's as good as sitting in the Oval Office right now. And the aforementioned throat-shoving has already begun. American voters have even started to overcome their gag-reflexes already. "McCain is a centrist," they are already starting to chant. "He is a uniter." Now where have we heard that one before?
The New York Times, that legendary gray lady who already helped shove Shock and Awe down our throats, has just endorsed John McCain -- once again sacrificing America's common good for the good of the weapons industry. "What's good for [the weapons industry] is good for America...." Yeah right. But those guys drive Mercedes-Benzes. And we don't.
America is already facing a bone-chilling recession brought on by over-spending on guns while underspending on "butter" and if the dollar continues tanking at its current rate of self-destruction, we'll be lucky to be driving donkey carts in a few more months. But manufacturing a million more Humvees is NOT going to save you and me.
So. Is President John McCain going to be able to save us from walls and guns and checkpoints and starving children right here in California? Hell no. But he'll save the weapons industry. And, in the end, isn't that what really counts?
PS: Someone just asked me, "Jane, what exactly is the connection between your snappy headline, the first paragraph, and the long article on John McCain?"
That's easy. The connection is this: When McCain gets into the White House and America continues down its insane road to militarization, the Roadmap that he will use will lead us to the Promised Land alright -- and California will start looking just like Israel/Palestine. The whole point of this parable? That Jesus was right! Violence does not work.
PPS: Rep. Dennis Kucinich has suggested the following plan of action to get America back on track. I like it. And Jesus would probably like it too:
* Immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.
* No war with Iran.
* A national, not-for profit health care system.
* Repeal of the Patriot Act and a restoration of civil liberties.
* The cancellation of NAFTA and the rebuilding of the U.S. auto, steel, aerospace, shipping and manufacturing industries.
* Carbon-free and nuclear-free energy policies.