Monday, June 23, 2008

The Slumps and the Swishers

Everybody needs an enemy. And, it would seem, when we get one it's also necessary to use them to good advantage.

When our enemy was a country -- like the Soviet Union -- some of us (not me) used them to good advantage. They kept us pretty much terrified (me) of what might happen -- the Soviets were barely people like us -- and so, no doubt, there was a lot of money to be made in defense efforts, armaments, etc.

Now our big enemy are the terrorists. Whether they really have much power and presence or not, it doesn't make any difference. They're our enemy, and we (somebody) will use them to good advantage. The watershed moment -- which the neocons were thankful for -- was 9/11. You see it pays to have a good defense, but if the enemy still manages to get through, by luck, by hook or crook, or by our own negligence, that also can pay. 9/11 paid big time. There should be no dispute about that. Bush rode it all the way to Iraq and hasn't come back yet. The Republicans used it to ride to victory in 2004 and it looks like that's about all they have left this year.

Today we had it in the news something of this very thing, that the McCain campaign thinks another terrorist attack on America would be beneficial. McCain aide Charlie Black said the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an “unfortunate event. But [McCain's] knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us.” The subject of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil was brought up, and Black said, “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.” So, try to imagine John McCain's prayers every night before he goes to bed, "Oh, please Lord, please, pour out your wrath on this nation once again, so I can get my sorry butt elected. In Jerry Falwell's name I pray, Amen."

"Certainly it would be a big advantage to him." That's what the Republicans are hoping for.

Here on the Slump half-acre, things are pretty calm. But it wasn't always so. We used to have an enemy -- I never really knew why -- the Swishers next door. It was common knowledge that the Slumps never had much use for the Swishers, and the opposite was no doubt true.

Grandpa Slump was the most vocal about it, of course. But he was known to get drunk and shoot rock salt at random. So he was always the most vocal. Grandma always had the basic quietness that is natural for women of her generation. I suppose you have all those kids, and raise them in the depression, and everyday's another heartache, it gives you a softer nature. Not for Grandpa. But of course the drinking took away whatever softer side he might've had.

The odd thing about this feud was it was very low-key. I wouldn't have known the Swishers existed, basically, if Grandpa wasn't grumbling about them. They didn't seem to be bad neighbors and kept to themselves. I said that was the odd thing, but the oddest thing of all was that one of my uncles -- Babe -- married a Swisher daughter. That was before I was born. So why Grandpa couldn't like them at that point, I don't know.

Everyone's got enemies.

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