Tag Archives: bush

As a Canadian, How I Remember

I remember waking inexplicably with a jolt at 5:45am PST.

As a child of the ’70s, in hindsight I’d now describe the jolt as “a disturbance in the Force.”

Something seemed wrong, deeply and pervasively wrong, but I didn’t know what.

I shrugged and got out of bed. I brewed the coffee, amazed at the deceptively silent and beautiful dawn rising outside. At about 6, I sat on the balcony, enjoying my coffee, taking in the warm, gorgeous September morning.

At the time, I had no cable TV. In 2001, the web wasn’t as accessibly streaming news like it does today, and I wasn’t tethered to things like I am these days.

Then, I had no idea our lives had all been altered in the preceding moments.

I showered and headed to work.

There, coworkers told me what happened:

Two planes, two towers, untold thousands of civilians, utter chaos.

The second tower had only collapsed about 30 minutes before I got in.

The significance hit me squarely. “This changes everything,” I muttered.

My coworker Leslie nodded, saying that, in less than an hour, the world her 5-year-old son would grow up in had changed forever.

***

I often forget that morning now, when the words “9/11” flash past in conversation or print.

I forget the fear, the uncertain future, the heartbreak. I often forget it all.

Now, “9/11” is not so much a tragedy that changed my perspective on the world as it seems to be a code for the politicization of ideals that polarize the Right & Left.

“You’re with us or you’re against us” were the words that soon would divide us all, months down the line, as 9/11 became a vehicle for political divide at home in America, and also became an ethnocentric push of the “American way” versus the world’s.

***

But, on September 12th, 2001, I considered myself not Canadian, but “small-N north AMERICAN.”

I wanted to get The Fuckers. I wanted bloodshed for my American friends.

I wanted to help, I wanted to pray, I wanted a million things — I wanted anything but to ever again see the image of people jumping from burning buildings to a certain but faster and simpler death, or that horrible mushrooming cloud covering city streets in dust and decay.

***

Somehow, in the months that followed 9/11, we lost the brief  closeness it brought us.

We lost the “we’re in this together” feeling that came immediately with the attack. We lost the reminder of how important community and camaraderie were.

***

I remember those early days, though.

There was a moment on the evening of September 11th when I was just stunned to hear laughter trickling down the street as young children jumped rope and rode donuts on their bikes. It seemed odd to me that happiness could be found anywhere in the world on a day like that.

I thought, in children’s laughter, innocence lives on. Maybe it could come back.

We still thought there were maybe 40,000 or more casualties that day. How could there not be? Well, the simple matter of the attack happening before 9, that’s how there could be less.

And thank the powers that be, too, that the terrorists didn’t time it “better” for the arrival of workers. After all, “maximum casualties” is their credo.

Still, as I fell into the endless loop of videos on the news, it seemed like happiness and hope died that day.

I remember going to bed on September 11th, at a loss for where my place in the world was.

Who was this evil, where would they strike, when would this end, why did they hate us, what did they pray for —  all these questions raced through me.

I felt like a zombie for days — listening to the radio, waiting to see how America would really respond, what the global fallout was going to be.

Like most Canadians, I knew already:

“We’re in it with you, wherever you go, if it’s to get the fuckers who did this, we’re in — lock and fuckin’ load, motherfucker.”

***

And Canada’s always been in it against Bad Fuckers with our buddies, the Yanks.

We’ve really stuck it out in Afghanistan. We’ve had a strong troop presence since Day One. We’re still there. It’s our way of life that was attacked that day, too. Canada had a lot of Canadians in those towers.

But, down south, with our good friends, the post-9/11 stance got murky and somehow the parties decided it was time to use 9/11’s attack for political means.

Somewhere, the message got lost — the people jumping from those buildings, the aghast onlookers on the street, the chaos and fear, that ALL got lost.

Wrong choices were made.

Wrong alliances formed.

Wrong goals set.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Did what happened in the coming years disrespect those who died that day? Did the politicizing of the horrors take America’s integrity out of those attacks? Did the day itself fall out of relevance in the stupidity that followed?

I used to think so.

I sort of forgot just how deeply 9/11 cut into my soul, how much it hurt me that anyone could have that kind of hatred for a lifestyle that they’d just blindly kill anyone they could.

I sort of forgot how much I learned about life in those days — how kind strangers could be to one another, how alike we all are when we cry and grieve, how strong we could be for those around us, how pivotal being a friend in a time of need could be.

The lessons I learned from 9/11 about the GOOD in each of us are what I want to remember for the rest of my life.

And, to do that, I need to remember how horrible it was for a little while.

***

This morning, I’ve been watching some of a History Channel documentary from 2008, 102 Minutes that Changed The World (aka “…Changed America“, its original USA title).

It’s 9/11 “as it happened” — unnarrated, unadulterated. Just amateur recordings from people on the street in Manhattan when the Towers began coming down, shown minute-for-minute as it happened, from hundreds of perspectives.

My heart’s been in my throat a lot.

Now I remember.

I remember how “tragedy” became redefined for me, and how now I think of heartbreak on a scale of Zero to 10, with 10 being “the big fireman in the street, staring in horror at the World Trade Centre, screaming and crying”.

Definitions of some words were forever altered that day for me, and when I think of some emotions, like “horror” and “fear” and “loss” and “terror”, I flash back to  faces from the news, of people on Manhattan streets, from the coverage that played for weeks following.

***

I don’t know where we are now… whether we’re a better people than we were before 9/11. I’ve disliked so much of what I’ve seen of people’s values in the years since — the forcing of prescribed morality by the Religious Right, the sanctimony of the “true patriot” ultra-conservatives, the horribly bungled military actions, the loss of rights for immigrants, the prejudism, the erosion of the economy.

9/11 transformed so much for us, even in Canada, but the almost-a-decade since has led to dark, dark times in America.

So… where are we now?

With the economy shape-shifting daily, people re-examining their values and material mindsets with an almost-Depression-era austerity, and everything else that’s come in the last decade, I’m hoping we’re in the process of finding who we are, much like Americans did in the late ’40s and ’50s.

I’d like to think what we’re undergoing societally is like spring-cleaning a house. First you got to get it really dirty, tear shit apart, find all yer crap, get rid of it, and then reinvent things from the ground up. Then, you have awesomeness.

If it takes me weeks to do that on the homefront, I can imagine it taking more than a decade for a superpower like the USA to get their shit done. It’s year nine, post-September 11th.

So where are we now? Where is America’s soul today?

I dunno. Somewhere between there and here… and There.

I think that if everyone looked back at the three weeks that followed 9/11, they might start remembering that, somehow, this worst-thing-to-ever-happen-on-American-soil horror managed to, for a very short time, bring out everything that the world sees as being the BEST of what America is.

As September 11th looms, I’d like to remind my American friends that, when the Towers came down, we were with you. When you went to Afghanistan, we were with you.

And when you really need us again, we’ll very likely be with you once again.

But the America we’re with is the America you are when it seems like there’s no hope, the America you are when you rail against evil.

The America we’re with is the one that celebrated the end of whites-only club the night Obama was elected.

The America we’re with is the one that rallied to help its fellow man in the days following Katrina, when the government didn’t even have its act together. It’s also the America that didn’t hesitate to show up first for East Asia’s Tsunami and Haiti’s earthquake, because its people expect nothing less of its government.

The America we’re with is the one that lets all people speak for what they believe in, that celebrates freedom of speech and equality for all, and who stands up for international human rights.

Luckily, most of the time, that’s the America we know & see, too.

Maybe, this week, with 9/11’s anniversary returning, Americans can remember who they were on September 12th, 13th, and the days that followed.

Because the world stood with America for a reason.

The terrorists never won that day, and if we remember who we are, they never will.

Bush Rides Again:Birth Control Defined as "Abortion"?

I know I’m Canadian, and I’ve not had to live under George Bush, but as a girl next door, I have spent much of the last eight years comprehensively alarmed by the steady erosion of freedom under this current American administration, and the assault on the sexual choices and options of the voting public, among many other questionable policies enacted over much of this last decade.

But this one takes the motherfucking cake, and it’s not getting enough press yet.

A draft regulation is circulating the Department of Health and Human services in which it seeks to redefine abortion to INCLUDE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS AND IUDs.

That’s right, by taking a birth control pill — just any old 21-days-a-month pill — or having an IUD implanted, you would legally be “participating in abortion”.

Now, this isn’t law, yet. May never be. May never even hit the floor. But it’s out there. And all those little religious-righters are wringing their fingers in glee, hoping like hell it happens, while the rest of a country that supposedly purports to separate church from state may have to pay the price for a motherfuckin’ religion-fuelled dumb policy like this hitting the books.

Now those in the administration are calling the folks (like me) on the left “reactionaries” who are overblowing the whole thing, that it won’t create difficulties for women taking the pill. Oh, really? But it’ll redefine it as abortion. It’ll redefine it as the “taking” of a life, rather than the prevention of life forming.

If the definition doesn’t DO anything, then WHY REDEFINE IT? See, that’s the thing. If you’re not DOING anything, then why are you doing it at all? Right? Because, even if you claim it’s not doing anything, but you’re doing it anyways, then…

Because, psst, you know you really ARE DOING something. Continue reading

Doing My Bit to Curb Surplus Forests

One of the things about suddenly becoming single — in the midst of a harrowing depression — is that I tend to begin to neglect myself. I ran out of hair removal stuff about six weeks ago and have continuously forgotten to buy it every time I’m in a drug store. Finally, yesterday, I remembered.

Thus, I have taken to my bush like Weyerhauser in the Amazon, my friends. Clearcut, baby. (Okay, I lie. I favour the landing strip. There are some things I just won’t do to my clit, you know?)

There’s something nice about going to bed all sexed up even when I know it’s just a solo show this evening. I don’t care.

I know there are some guys who favour the bush look, but ugh. No. Just can’t do it. The funny thing is, I’ve never been into ridding all the hair beyond the bikini line until the last couple years. Now I love it. It feels cleaner. There’s nothing like hair down there, and panties, and a pair of jeans, and SITTING on it all to make you feel like you’ve got some groin-area sweatbox going on. I love a shorn twat in a pair of jeans. It feels great. Much, much better. It also makes sleeping naked a little more fun ‘cos I’m more susceptible to breezes and such.

Yeah, I used to be a very Amazonian woman. Strange how drastically I’ve changed that way. I guess the moral is to never presuppose something’s not for you until you’ve tried it.

Anyhow, I have nothing more to say. I’m naked, ready for bed, and things are liable to get much more entertaining than if I were sitting here tapping out words for you to digest.

Which brings to mind a great saying from one of my favourite writers, Truman Capote: The good thing about masturbation is that you don’t have to get dressed up for it. (And Steff ads: Or make dinner, or wash the sheets, or sleep on the wet spot, or pay the bill, or say the right thing, or laugh at jokes you’ve missed the punchline on, or make sure you’re not caught eyeing some sexy beast across the road, or… or… or…)

My bed no longer beckons. It bellows. So, adieu.

AIDS: Another Rant Against the Bush-League

First off, a big thank you to the cute blonde across the way who keeps wandering around in boxers and no shirt. Love those pecs. Welcome to the neighbourhood, neighbour.

Kindness… With Strings

If you attach conditions to kindness, it doesn’t seem to be so much that it’s humanitarianism you’re after, y’know?

So, it was with great amusement – albeit bitter and pissed amusement – that I took note of the sanctimonious stipulations attached to all the “donations” being made by the Bush administration since 2003 in the name of AIDS assistance throughout the world. This was all shown during the brilliant Frontline “The Age of AIDS” documentary I mentioned in an earlier posting.

When it comes to countries like Uganda and Brazil, they’ve stood face-to-face with some pretty grave dangers posed by the horrific disease, and through understanding the culture and society in their nations, they’ve managed to come up with social programs to stem the rate of infections.

In Uganda, they teach abstinence and faithfulness, but they also implore the public to use condoms. There’s an intense movement towards education, and they’ve managed to go from having one of the highest incidences of AIDS to a much more stable number (and I’m too lazy to grab facts right now). The government was providing copious free condoms for the public to use. This proved extremely effective.

In Brazil, they’re not kidding themselves. It’s a very sexual country. They work hand in hand with the sex trades to try and control the amount of unprotected sex going around, and they push condoms onto the public awareness stage. It’s working. They’ve also created a system by which their citizens are ENTITLED to the drug cocktail known to keep HIV in check (most of the time). They’ve struck deals with pharmaceutical corporations and they have in-nation drug-manufacturing plants that allow them to make drugs for their citizens at a reasonable price. This is not a wealthy nation, but they have their shit together.

The US has attached stipulations to both these nations. In Uganda, the government provision of free condoms for the masses has apparently dropped by 80% since the Bush administration intervened, favouring instead the preaching of abstinence. In Brazil, they were insisting the Brazil government condemn prostitution (as it’s legal there), which prompted the Brazilian government to say, essentially, “Fuck you” to the money so they could maintain their autonomy.

Brazil’s aggressive approach to controlling AIDS, which includes HIV treatment, massive condom distribution and explicit HIV education, has produced one of the few success stories in the developing world: In the early 1990s experts projected 1.2 million infections in Brazil by 2000, but the interventions cut that number in half.

Read the source here.

As the Brazilian government rep said to the documentary’s producers, “This year it’s prostitutes, and maybe next year it’s homosexuals. Where do you stop?”

That’s a very good question. Where do you stop?

You stop when it’s your moralizing that is limiting the potential for other nations to save the lives of their citizens. You stop when it’s your failure to realize that husbands and wives get AIDS and, thanks to their marriage vows, they should expect to be able express their love in physical terms, and telling them to abstain, and not to use a condom is something that will get you laughed out of most bedrooms. You stop when your vision is so narrow that you’re not even seeing the dangerous ramifications of your moralizing. You stop when the disease has afflicted more than 5 million people in a single year (2005). You stop when the total number of dead now exceeds 25 million in just 25 years. You stop when more than 40 million people are living with it worldwide.

You stop when your sanctimonious beliefs mean you’re being a hypocrite to the very faith you profess to believe in. It’s about saving lives. It’s about letting people live, helping people live, and, if you happen to believe in an afterlife, letting God do the judging at the end of those lives.

You just fucking stop. You help. You do whatever the fuck you can to end the deaths. Because that’s what a good person does. They help in the face of all adversity. They help when they’re called upon. They don’t put conditions on it. They don’t judge those needing help. They just help.

If, in fact, AIDS (as Pat Robertson and his ilk believe) is an epidemic unleashed by God in an effort to punish the immoral, then why has “He” given man the tools to treat it even the least little bit?

I despise hypocrisy. More importantly, I despise the knowledge that 40 million people on this planet will more than likely die from this disease that we seem unable to find a cure for, but that many of them will die far sooner than they need to, and more will contract it than are necessary, all because of to many governments who have been too ashamed to admit they need help, or those who are too fucking sanctimonious to offer help without strings.

The United States wants to be a world leader? Then fucking lead from the trenches, not the pulpits. Get in there and get dirty, and don’t worry how the fuck it looks. Be like Nike, and just do it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I just read this, and it blows my mind. YOUTH, AGED 15-24, ACCOUNT FOR MORE THAN HALF OF ALL NEW HIV INFECTIONS WORLDWIDE. More than 6,000 are infected daily. Wear condoms, kids! Fuckin’ hell!