Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A conservative's view

Splitting the Difference

February 8, 2006
By Nancy Greggs

It's the beginning of a new year, a time to reflect on the mistakes of
the past and resolve to improve the future. That being said, my Fellow
Citizens, I think it's time we admitted that we just can't get along
anymore - it's time to think about a divorce.

For the past few years, we've been engaged in a civil war; a war of
ideas and ideals. The rhetoric got out of hand a long time ago, and
before this really comes to blows, let's agree to disagree - and separate.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, so let's pick up the sword of
Solomon and cleave the country in two, and pray that somehow both sides
survive.

Those of you who are ardent believers in the Bush regime can take
one-half of the nation (hereinafter called Bushistan); those of us who
still believe in old fashioned notions like the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights will take the other half, known as the Good Ol' USA.

Citizens will have to relocate to the side of their choice - and for
many of you, it may be the last freedom of choice you enjoy, so choose
wisely.

Undoubtedly G.W. Bush will declare himself your President-In-Perpetuity
(PIP), but those of you who are enamoured of the man and his policies
will have no problem with that. We here in the Good Ol' USA will hold
fair and transparent elections - and by the way, you can take the
Diebold machines; they'll be immediately outlawed on our side of the fence.

The first order of business will, of course, be the erection of giant
wall between Bushistan and the Good Ol' USA, and it's only fair to share
the expense. Our side will be built by Good Ol' American workers, paid a
fair wage; your side will be built by Halliburton via a no-bid contract,
so it will inevitably cost you a lot more. But you haven't squawked
about their contracts up to now, so I'm sure you won't mind.

The period of adjustment will be difficult, but much less so for you
over in Bushistan. You've already acclimated yourselves to things like
loss of personal freedoms and civil liberties, the loss of respect
around the world. We Good Ol' USAers, on the other hand, will have to go
through the difficult, albeit joyous, re-adjustment of having those
things back in our lives.

You will still have your usual newscasters, like O'Reilly and Limbaugh,
and under their Bushistan government-controlled mandate, they'll feel
even freer to slant the news, just the way you like it. You won't have
to put up with any real news anymore, and every day will be a great day
in Bushistan - at least that's the way you'll hear it, day in and day out.

We in the Good Ol' USA, on the other hand, will have to face the real
news: we'll hear about how things aren't really going too well in Iraq,
and if there are any discrepancies in our voting system, we're going to
have to hear about it, 24/7, in excruciating detail. So while you get to
hear about Paris Hilton's latest fashion faux pas, we'll have to content
ourselves with things like international and domestic news of substance.
You get to keep FOX; we'll keep Seymour Hersh and Maureen Dowd. Seems fair.

On a darker note, you Bushistanians will have to brace yourselves for
some hard times economically. Your income tax rates will probably soar
to somewhere in the 80% to 90% range; after all, once your PIP Bush is
installed as supreme leader, the wealthiest among you will be declared
totally tax-exempt, right along with all of the corporations (Big Oil,
Big Business, Big Pharma) he so adores. That means a heftier tax burden
on the middle-class and poor - but again, you've shown your acquiescence
in the past, so you're sure to welcome the new tax code with open arms.

You'll also be bearing the ever-escalating costs of the war in Iraq
(along with whatever new wars your PIP will be involving you in). We'll
be giving the soldiers currently stationed there the choice between
coming home to the Good Ol' USA or staying in the Middle East to fight
for the non-freedoms of Bushistan - so I think you may be seeing a
rather dramatic draw-down of troops as a result.

But life will go on for you in Bushistan, just the way you seemingly
want it to be. You'll attend state-sanctioned churches every Sunday, a
one-stop-shopping site for Jesus-and-government all rolled into one.
After services, you can take the family to a Triple-G-rated movie,
without fear of the kiddies seeing anything that depicts homosexuality,
criticism of the government, or any of those other unhealthy things that
destroy society.

Economically, I don't think it will take too long for the Good Ol' USA
to get on its feet. With your PIP's penchant for sanctioning the
outsourcing of your jobs (after all, a financially-strapped citizen is a
malleable citizen), he'll undoubtedly be sending a lot of jobs our way.
Imagine going to your local WalMart and seeing "Made in the Good Ol'
USA!" stickers on the products you buy! That will be a new concept for
many of you younger folk, who have never seen that label before.

Of course, there won't be any "Made in Bushistan" labels on the products
sold on our side of the Continent. The Good Ol' USA will be following
its traditional policy of not doing business with repressive regimes
that advocate torture, and without any restrictions on your PIP and his
Administration in that regard, that kind of keeps you out of the trade
loop, doesn't it?

You'll also be taxed to fund the various governmental programs to "keep
you safe," and due to your PIP's aforementioned proclivity for torture,
as well as invading and occupying sovereign nations, you'll be a lot
more vulnerable to terrorism than we here in the Good Ol' USA. You'll
also be funding those secret prisons around the globe - and hey, let's
face it, water-boarding experts don't come cheap.

We in the Good Ol' USA, free of those financial burdens, will spend our
tax dollars on things like education, hospitals, stem-cell research to
cure diseases - you know, the kinds of things you Bushistanians no
longer see any need for.

On the other hand, you'll never have to face the heartbreak of your
children leaving home. After being educated under your system, they
won't be able to secure jobs anywhere else but Bushistan. Once they
start spouting what they've learned - like the fact that God created the
world 6,000 years ago, and the fact that the sun revolves around a flat
earth - they're sure to be turned down for continuing education or job
opportunities anywhere beyond mom and dad's backyard.

Once we rebuild NOLA and its environs, the tourist trade will also be a
great source of income here in the Good Ol' USA. Of course, in
Bushistan, once any of your major cities fall prey to natural disaster,
they'll be replaced with tent cities and FEMA trailer parks - not
exactly a big tourist draw. Without any pesky oversight, PIP Bush will
be free to appoint whomever he chooses for important government
positions, and disaster victims shouldn't expect too much assistance
from Barbie Bush (new head of FEMA), or Jenna Bush (new head of Homeland
Security). But on the brighter side, Momma "Babs" Bush will be more than
happy to remind disaster survivors how much better off they are, which
will undoubtedly be a big morale booster when you're left with nothing.

There's also the matter of the population explosion that is bound to
happen in Bushistan, once abstinence is the only sex education allowed,
and abortions and birth control become a thing of the past. But once the
FDA and the Department of Agriculture are privatized and free of
oversight, tainted meat and experimental drugs will keep the population
down, along with those of you who die of overwork trying to fund your
PIP's most important policy (making the rich even richer). So your
numbers should stay at an acceptable level, i.e. just enough workers for
the factories and fields.

And yes, there will be jobs. With the institution of the new minimum
wage of 9-cents-per-hour, and the abandonment of such crazy ideas as
health benefits and sick pay, multi-national corporations will flock to
Bushistan; they're always happy to relocate in "cheap labor markets."

After a while, we in the Good Ol' USA will undoubtedly lose touch with
all of you over in Bushistan. Travel outside of your borders will be
restricted - for your "own good," your PIP will explain - and Internet
access to the outside world will, of necessity, eventually be outlawed.
But there's always the hope that some kind-hearted NSA agent, who will
be monitoring your every communication, will clandestinely pass along
some news of you to the outside world now and then.

Now, I know a lot of you prospective Bushistanians are already having
second thoughts. Maybe you're thinking that life in the Good Ol' USA
would be preferable; perhaps you're already pining for the way things
used to be, before you threw in your lot with a PIP who is more
interested in clearing brush than he is in your well-being as citizens.

Well, it's not too late. As much as some of you drive me crazy at times,
you're still my Fellow Citizens, and I want you to be part of my
country, and part of my life.

So maybe we should give it one more try, if not for ourselves, for the
sake of the kids. Maybe we can come to some sort of mutual
understanding, some sense of cooperation.

After all, it's not that I don't want you living in my world; it's just
that living in your world is no longer an option for we who still firmly
believe in the Good Ol' USA.

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