Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Wall

Last Friday night I ran the Extemp prep-room at the Caesar/Cicero debate tournament at North Ridge High. After sending off the last speaker of the first round, I headed to the tab room to scare up some dinner. There, Mr. Hire told me he had heard I was stirring up trouble again. "What? Me?" He said he’d heard I had hung a giant "W STILL THE PRESIDENT" sign right across the hall from Mrs. Seiter’s room. I told him, while I would have if I could have, I hadn’t. He told me Ms Seiter was plotting to get even by handing up a poster that would keep a running tally of the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq next to the W sign. What an "interesting way" to honor the love of those who have laid down their lives for people they didn’t even know. I resolved that if she posted the sign I would post some of my own. Various numbers that would challenge the stupidity of this liberal taunt came to mind: The number of Americans killed on 9/11, the number of Americans killed by terrorist attacks during the Clinton Administration, the number of people murdered by terrorist world wide, the number of Russian killed by Islamic terrorists, the number of women murdered in Afghanistan by the Taliban, the number of men murdered by the Taliban, the number of Israelis killed by terrorists in Israel, the number of Palestinian children convinced to blow themselves up in acts of murder, the number of unborn Americans aborted every year since Roe vs Wade, the number of Americans killed in auto accident, the number of American murdered in America, the number of policemen killed fighting crime, the number of firefighters killed while rescuing people from disaster, the number of Coast Guards men who have died at sea trying to rescue the crews of sinking ships, the number of Iraqis murdered by Saddam Hussain, the number of Kuwaites murdered by Saddam, the number of Serbian civilians killed by US bombing that ended the regime of Melosavic, the number of Iraqis killed during the first Iraq war, the number of Iraqis and Iranians killed during the Iran/Iraq war, the number of Union Soldiers that dies freeing the slaves, the number of patriots that died in the Revolution, the number of our warriors killed in WWI and WWII, Vietnam, Korea, the number of Tibetans murdered by China, the number of Somalis murdered in Darfur, the number of Ivarians by the French, the number of. . .! What conclusions should we draw from these numbers, what would posting them mean.

On Monday afternoon Mr. Hopkins told me the death tally sign was up - the battle was joined. The handwritten poster next to the four by eight foot "W" banner read something like, "1200 + AMERICAN SOLDIERS KILLED TO DATE IN IRAQ AND FOR WHAT?" I printed out four sheets on my computer in large font.

"REASON #1: 0 - THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS MURDERED BY TERRORISTS IN OUR HOMELAND SINCE 9/11!

REASON #2: 25,000,000 -THE NUMBER OF AFGHANS FREED FROM THE MURDERING TERRORIST REGIME OF THE TALIBAN!

REASON #3: 25,000,000 - THE NUMBER OF IRAQIS FREED FROM THE MURDERING TERRORIST REGIME OF SADDAM!

Underneath these pages I placed in even larger print: MORE TO COME!!!

When I returned to check the wall there were poster board tags filled with broad marker letters. Before leaving school for the day I answered each. They went like this: (I don’t have the posters - I quote them only from memory.)

Poster:
THANK YOU FOR SAVING US FROM SADDAM, WHO WILL SAVE US FROM YOU?
Reply:
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SAVED FROM ME; ALL I WANT TO DO IS TO THINK FREELY. THE SAME PRIVILEGE GIVEN YOU BY AMERICA. IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ TOO, NOW!

Poster:
45 MILLION AMERICANS GO TO BED HUNGRY EVERY NIGHT.
Reply:
250,000,000 AMERICANS GO TO BED EVERY NIGHT FAT!

Poster:
15% OF AMERICANS LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL, WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING TO SAVE THEM?
Reply:
AND THE POVERTY LEVEL I N AMERICA ALLOWS US TO LIVE BETTER THAN KINGS ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD OR HISTORY!!!

Poster:(Under my page MORE TO COME)
THAT’S WHAT WE’RE AFRAID OF.
Reply:
WHAT KIND OF IDEOLOGY FEARS THE TRUTH? THINK ABOUT IT!

I awoke rather early next morning and composed some rhetorical questions to post. I printed them out and taped them together into a long scroll that stretched down three quarters of the wall.

SOME RHETORICAL QUESTIONS:

How much of the U.S. economy’s challenge is related to the unprovoked attack of 9/11?

How many Americans would be out of work if the Bush Tax Cuts had not pulled our country out of the Clinton Recession?

How many people in the world would be hungry if Saddam Hussain controlled the world oil supply? Ask his own people how he shares "oil for food".

How many women would the Taliban have killed in the last two years for wanting to go to school or work or speak their minds?

How many Policemen have died fighting crime in the last two years? Should we give up that battle?

How many Firemen have lost their lives rescuing people from disasters since ‘9/10? Should we give up fighting fires?

50,000 Americans die each year in auto accidents. Shouldn’t we give up driving cars? We could use the gas money for welfare!

Would you like to trade the U.S. economy for that of Russia, Germany, Canada, or France?

How many would have died in Saddam’s torture chambers if he weren’t in jail?

How many suicide terror bombers would Saddam have bought at $25,000 of Oil for Food money each if he were still in power?

Before school started more posters, this time on bright yellow oaktag, had appeared. As I have first period prep, I answered.

Poster:
WHERE ARE THE WMD’S
Reply:
I’LL TELL YOU ONE PLACE WERE WMD’S ARE NOT - BEING DEVELOPED BY SADDAM HUSSAIN WITH HELP FROM THE UN OIL FOR FOOD PROGRAM.

Poster:
WHERE IS OSAMA , MR BUSH?
Reply:
OSAMA IS HIDING IN A HOLE WERE ALL HE CAN DO IS MAKE VIDEO TAPES IN HOPES OF BOLSTERING DEMOCRAT PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS.

Poster: (Under my remark about Americans being fat.)
AND THIS IS GOOD?
Reply:
WELL, AT LEAST WE’RE NOT STARVING.

Poster:
WHY IS IT IF WE WANT PEACE WE HAVE TO SEND OUR SOLDIERS OUT TO WAR?
Reply:
ASK CHURCHILL THIS ONE.

Poster:
THERE WAS NO IRAQI INVOLVEMENT IN 9/11
Reply:
THERE ARE MANY CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SADDAM AND TERRORISTS, FROM MONEYS GIVEN TO MURDERS, TO MEETINGS BETWEEN AL QADIA OPERATIVES AND SADDAM’S INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS, TO TRAINING CAMPS, TO SAFE HAVENS FOR THE PLANERS OF 9/11.
HITLER DIDN’T BOMB PEARL HARBOR - I GUESS YOU WOULD FAULT ROOSEVELT FOR SENDING TROOPS TO NORTH AFRICA.

Poster:
THE CLINTON YEARS PRODUCED A SURPLUS IN TAX REVENUE.
Reply:
CLINTON RODE THE ECONOMIC WAVE OF THE REAGAN REVOLUTION FOR SEVEN YEARS UNTIL IT COLLAPSED UNDER CORRUPTION INSPIRED FROM THE "TOP" AND THE BURSTING OF THE PHONEY E BUSINESS BUBBLE. THE SURPLUS OF THE 1990'S HAD FAR MORE TO DO WITH NEWT GINGRICH’S CONTRACT WITH
AMERICA THAN ANYTHING THAT WENT ON IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

Poster:
BUSH TAX CUTS TOOK PROGRAMS AWAY FOR THE POOR.
Reply:
THE TAS CUT RESCUED A FAILING US ECONOMY AND PUT REAL INCOME INTO THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS AND CREATED JOBS.

Poster:
AMERICA NOW HAS THE HIGHEST DEBT AND WORST ECONOMY IN ITS HISTORY.
Reply:
AMERICA IS MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN EVER, WITH THE HIGHEST GNP IN OUR HISTORY AND MORE JOBS AVAILABLE TO ITS WORKERS THAN ANYTIME IN HISTORY. IF YOU THINK THIS IS THE WORST ECONOMY EVER, YOU OUGHT TO STUDY THE GREAT DEPRESSION DURING THE ROOSEVELT ADMINISTRATION.

When I returned to the wall at the end of school all the posters, including the tally of American Soldiers killed had been pulled down. Some of my replies were also gone and others damaged and wrinkled as if they had been pulled down them put back up. Posted amidst them one small yellow tag "OK - NOW I’M BORED"

I feel good about the out come of this little clash - I was not bored. I was ready to keep up the argument and I feel my efforts had served an important purpose. I believe that the debate had put the deaths of our precious soldiers in context. My study of the Vietnam War has shown me how powerful anti-war propaganda can be. War is terrible, we must never forget that. The deaths and lives of our heros should be memorialized. But their sacrifice should not be used as a weapon to support the cause of those who would champion the murders who killed them.

6 comments:

Bryan Hickman said...

Mrs. Seiter's original argument -- the tally of Iraqi dead is very revealing. To the left, this number is political argument -- not something they actually care about. The higher the death toll, the greater the case against GWB. It's pathetic...and it's disturbing.

The 45,000,000 who go to bed hungry (not an accurate statistic) is also not something they "care about." This is a political constituency. The Democrats, for their own political well-being, depend on people designating themselves as poor or oppressed -- those who view themselves as successful or self-sufficient are more likely to vote Republican.

Basically all the arguments they make are the same.

You can't help but have misgivings about a party that depends on poverty and troop casualties to justify their arguments.

A_Shadow said...

I'm making this comment mostly for arguments and thought provoking... So eat it up.

It occurs to me that relying on the poor masses as they do, and relying on the deaths of soldiers and other "hardships" is a very common social aim in order to win. That's what the Communists used in Russia, right? They said how the middle class was so horrible (I use middle class because I can't remember how to spell what they actually called them) because they were fed while the huddled masses starved to death. Which is much like how it ended up. The huddled masses were starving to death, but now also being shot to death, tortured to death... it goes on.

It also occurs to me that it's a Hitler-esque way of trying to win votes. Coming out of a recession, with empty promises to make the country at hand better. The only difference is: Hitler actually bolstered his countries economy and production. If he hadn't decided to conquer nations and commit genocide, he would have been one of the greatest leaders of all time, perhaps.

I dearly wish that I were still attending... I would have given much to have seen that in the halls. But it seems to me that you are victorious. It's very apparent in the liberal copout that you saw. "Now I'm bored." It means that the student, which I'm assuming (more hoping for the common sense involved that it wasn't a teacher), was cornered and had no answers for your numbers, had no answers for your questions. And so rather than admitting that he/she was wrong, or that they didn't know the answers, they dropped the subject. Interesting indeed.

Anonymous said...

It is one's perspective that gives emotion to "truth". The emotion of a liberal that the conservatives are removing the "values" of this country is based on their absolutist view that relativism is their right. The concept of the "greater good" is relative to the ability to act with no consequense and blame that consequense on others.

Just a thought for the teacher across the hall. Perspective will eventually be changed through personal experience with cause and effect, not rhetoric.

I walked the streets of Oklahoma City the day after the bombing. We want to fight the war over there not here. A normally noisy city was quiet except for the sound of soldiers marching and rescuers scrambling. The only sound I could here was the broken glass under my feet. I was stopped by ATF and FBI officers to directed me to my destination. The first building that was open east of the Federal Building. As I walked closer to the building I heard the distinct sound of an M16 being made ready to fire pointing at me.

My liberal leaning days were over at that second. I grew up.

Anonymous said...

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said "The words of the prophets are written
on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

Simon/Garfunkel

BaddKarma said...

Our soldiers are there because that it their job. They signed on the dotted line, they agreed to go where they were told and do what the President (ie the people) ask them to do. Unfortunatly, a hazard of the occupation is injury or death. No one wishes that a soldier dies but they are there so that no more innocent civilians, those that aren't trained to fight, have to die at the hands of evil. Those that are against the war do not understand what we are up against. We are facing a new foe, one that wakes up every morning and spends the entire day trying to figure out how to kill us. We have never dealt with that before. And W did what he thought was the proper response. If he hadn't kicked ass and taken numbers I would have been disappointed. Did we act out of revenge, most probably, but so what, we had the right. Those that oppose the war don't see that it is a war of religions, almost the 2nd Crusades. I salute you for standing up to the liberal wackos and telling the truth. I wish more people would do the same.

Dr. Health said...

What conclusions should we draw from these numbers, what would posting them mean.