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Take THAT! You Pot Smoking, Scum Sucking Nattering Nabobs of Negatism......Negativism.....Negaticity.......

Born in 1981, John Walker Lindh Will Pay for the Sixties

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 06, 2002.

I find it both odd and somewhat fulfilling that so many social conflicts since the sixties are going to be solved in court. Well, at least heard in court. Many of them will attend the trials of John Walker Lindh, a son of Marin County, California. It is almost too perfect. A conservative Republican Bible Belt administration has a child of the liberal, hedonistic, hot tub, pot-smoking hippies in their clutches under the heading of treason. It is a wet dream for the right wing, especially those folks who spend their time trying to repackage fairy tales from the Vietnam years for another generation. You know, the endless emails with supposedly true stories in which heroic, tolerant, and ever so wise military veterans gently expose the stupidities of the liberals by conversations or incidents. If you’ve never received these, you’re not on the WEB. None of them, by the by, have ever survived scrutiny as true.

But the truth is, the hypocrisies of the repressive far-right Christian zealots are not totally wrong in their intent given the hypocrisies of the intellectually lazy and self-centered fuzzy liberal lifestyles that are exemplified in Lindh’s parents.

Cutting to the chase, the boy’s father left the mother for a man, which is to say he’s gay. Apparently, he didn’t know that earlier and it was better to be true to himself and divorce then provide a home for a kid who clearly needed, wanted, and deserved a structured family life. Cynics might go so far as to say that the phrase, “tough luck” comes to mind. And Mrs. Walker, you had no inkling before you had children with this guy? None? You have no right to discover yourself on your children’s time, and once they’re here, it’s their cab counter that’s running by your own hand. Is that harsh? Yes. And, sorry, true. That’s what youth is for, finding yourself. You ain’t willing to pay the Piper; you don’t get to call the tune, especially when your kids have to dance it.

Despite money, education, and arguably good hearts, John Walker Lindh’s parents were awful. There is no other way to describe their non-reaction to their son becoming a Muslim at sixteen, leaving the states to allegedly study, and ending up in Al Quada without either the parents knowing much about any of it or, clearly, caring a whole hell of a lot. Good parents are always a little bit square, and it never does harm to know where your teenager was at any given hour. Well, okay, not exactly, but where his hangouts and friends are. Well, what state he’s in. Okay, continent. It’s not conflicting on his space to know which continent he’s in. And who he is. Are we to believe that there were no early signs given that the kid was in desperate, almost Freudian parody mode in search of a father figure? None? What do you know about Islam, Mr. Lindh and Ms. Walker, anyway? Until it impacted your precious lives, did you bother to discover what your kid was dabbling in? Or ask why, if not of him, than of yourselves?

Walker is only twenty as we speak. He could have, of course, ended up a Ned Flanders, who was also in rebellion against his hippy-dippy parents, or more likely, John Ashcroft, a Christian equivalent of Islamic patriarchs. Ashcroft recently spent time and our money draping long-standing statues in the foyer where the Attorney General gives press conferences lest tender eyes view a woman’s breasts. Could he be more Taliban?

The very interesting thing about the trial will be that his prosecutors offer many, perhaps all of the qualities that the young man probably went in search of. I would contend that the religion wasn’t as important as the clear direction, the patriarchal lifestyle. That he ended up in position to kill his countrymen may have been a subconscious desire, with the image of his father the one he always saw in his sights. But as far as we know, John Lindh is not the target of the Bush administration as much as the generation of his parents, who have to be shown to pay. Well, not the entire generation, just the hippie/liberal contingent because Ashcroft and Bush - by the by, both avoided the draft in their generation’s war, Bush by getting a safe job in an Air National Guard unit, and Ashcroft by student deferments - because both of them have to divert attention from their own less than heroic antics during their youth. Lindh resembles to them all the Hippies who fled to Canada, all the guys who waved Viet Cong flags, all the people that don’t let Bush and Ashcroft pretend they did their duty. It is somewhat icky for Ashcroft, of all people, to be using the term traitor so easily.

And Bush, of course, is in a family that knows something of youth and rebellion. Not a hell of a lot, but some. His daughters, if not alcoholics like himself, have problems. His brother’s daughter has similar problems. His relationship with his own father has been rocky at times.

But if what we hear about the Lindh kid is true, a risky assumption, he’s in trouble. He has demonstrated both the intelligence and the learning to be denied ignorance as a defense. He is going to be sentenced by hypocrites for his association with very bad people - Al Quada - and very selfish ones: his parents. After the age of eighteen, though, his actions are his own, so his proven actions will sentence him.

I dare say that not a few people contemplating the future of John Walker Lindh are cringing and going 'there but for fortune, or lack thereof, could have gone I once.' Maybe not in service to Al Quada, but to a foreign power, a foreign drug gang, a political action committee that stored bombs but never used them, vaguely planned to rob a bank and send the money overseas, rob a drug dealer or his clients, almost did something from which there was no stepping back, no denying, no hiding from. Walker is no Patty Hearst - she was kidnapped - but there are emotional resonances between them. There are many dead John Walker Lindhs in the Florida Straits. There are increasing numbers shooting schoolmates and themselves. He is only new in his location of action.

We need a frontier, again. Badly.