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The End of The Millennium - Sort Of

In a Note Just Handed Me

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 05, 2000.

Welcome to the last year of the Millennium, perhaps the most pointless case for celebration since the last Millennium. Two topics today. In the first week, I got sent this by email:

Can you imagine working at the following Company? It has a little over 500 employees.

Of them, 29 have been accused of spousal abuse, 7 have been arrested for fraud, 19 have been accused of writing bad checks, 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses, 3 have been arrested for assault, 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit, 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges, 8 have been arrested for shoplifting, 21 are current defendants in lawsuits. In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving. Can you guess which organization this is? Give up? It’s the 535 members of the United States Congress. Now, I have no idea if this is true or not. Having received it over email from a friend but originating from an unknown source, there is certainly reason for doubt. But I am willing to bet that many of us nodded knowingly and without much surprise when the entity was revealed. I did as I read it. We should be careful, here, as I initially was not. Note that the word conviction does not appear, and famous and wealthy people get set up all the time, and being accused or arrested or stopped by suspicion of something really means nothing. Even if it is not true - and I hope to God it is not true, because even I get offered credit cards, and doubt that felons can hold Federal Office - what does it say about us that these people are not only paid to rule us but that we listen when they castigate us for similar and lesser failings? That absolutely nobody listening stood in outrage and demanded a duel to extract an apology to the honor of Congress does not precisely exonerate us: we chose them, after all. Further, say the phrase 'a Congressman's honor' without giggling. Try it.

But whatever the actual statistics, we probably all think that the sort of people who seek the power and the limelight of political office are, at best, incomplete personalities seeking public applause to cover private failures. There are exceptions, the actual public minded bureaucrat, the hedonist, the front for other interests, the actual thief risen high. But, in all, a Congressman does not impress us particularly, although his power does. This is probably why we have such surreal expectations of our President; we need the Good Father to rule the wicked Congress, regardless of Party. This is eerily close to the peasant's image of the Czar, and it is a dangerous mindset in a democracy. We need better and less hypocritical Congressmen and more Congresswomen and be less concerned about the sex and past drug lives of our Presidents. The small Cuban boy who was coaxed out of the shock of a horrible experience - one that included the drowning of his mother and stepfather escaping to Florida - by being buried in American glitz, schmaltz, and garbage, is being returned to his father and home. Damned straight. I hope we all recall the shameless, nay, disgusting display put on by the reactionary Cuban community of Florida who clearly tried to financially purchase the child's affections and allegiance and who may have, the child being a child, at least partially succeeded. What they are hoping for is a photo op of the child crying as he is led back to his island, much like the one of the foster child being returned to her folks some years ago. These are the people who have wanted us to go to war and risk nuclear war for them. Please, let us recall this when needed.

I yearn for the day when an American politician stands up in Florida and says that, while we are anti-Castro and anti-communist, we are not conversely pro-Mafia and pro-fascist oligarchs or pro ancient and weird land titles that can only guarantee a society of grandees and peasants. In short, the Miami Cubans need to get a life before they become the Serbs of the Caribbean, longing to avenge ancient and deserved losses in battle. This is how ancient, stupid, and dangerous grudges become future horrors. They serve the yearnings of short term politicians, whether Milošević, or Gerry Adams, or, well, Santa Anna and his Mexican successors. As well, the brothers Bush and various Democrats. There is a great deal of nonsense about how Cuba will be a healed sore when Castro dies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cuba's problems have been swept under the temporary communist rug is all. Like Nicaragua, the family names in conflict go back hundreds of years, and they will appear in violent conflict again when the old farte dies.

As always, my views - while superior to yours - are my own and bear little if any resemblance to those of KGNU’s staff, Board, mental health professionals, volunteers, militant extremists, radical hygienists, tree huggers, or pyramid therapists.