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Signs of the Times for Wed, 01 Mar 2006

Signs Editorial:

by Jane Stillwater

"I just had the worst nightmare!" said a friend.

My friend looked wild-eyed and ghastly. "Take a deep breath, calm down and spill."

"I was in this taxi and we were driving up this really steep hill and then suddenly the car began rolling backwards and I looked over at the driver and he was ASLEEP!" So. What did you do? "I grabbed the wheel and jammed my foot on the brake petal but the brakes didn't work!"

I've had those kinds of dreams before. They are terrifying. But what do they mean? Was something in my friend's life spinning out of control? "Now if it was ME having that dream," I said, "I would know exactly what it meant. This is the perfect analogy for what is going on in Washington DC these days." My friend shrugged. I had just hijacked his dream. Humph.

"Now if it was me having that nightmare," I lectured, "that steep hill would represent mankind's uphill battle to evolve into the type of human being that Jesus, Mohammad, Abraham and Buddha would be proud of. The taxi would represent our government -- the vehicle we use to get us to this urgently critical destination on time. And the cabbie would represent our leaders, the ones we hire to safely and efficiently drive this vehicle -- and to get us there in one piece and on time." My friend started to look interested. I added, "Here. Have some hot tea."

"Then who would the passenger person represent?" he asked.

"That's easy. That passenger would represent all us poor smucks who trust government leaders to get us safely to our destination -- and of course the ones who are paying the fare."

Right now, today, at this very minute, our country is like that taxi -- out of control, blindly racing backwards, careening wildly downhill to sure destruction. And our leaders are asleep at the wheel.

When my friend flagged him down, his dream-cabbie appeared to be a competent driver. He was not. He was a fraud who hadn't even passed his road test! And like that fraudulent cabbie, we Americans have been stuck with the wrong men and women to drive our vehicle of state.

These people became our leaders, according to Rob Kall, solely because of their ability to pay for the most TV advertisements -- or, according to the GAO, because they were good at stealing elections. That is no criteria for selecting a driver. None. these people have NO LEADERSHIP SKILLS. And there are no excuses for us either. We should have taken a closer look at their badges.

But do excuses really matter when the car we are riding in is out of control and madly rushing downward toward certain death?

What must we do to stop this nightmare? "What did you do in your dream?" I asked my friend.

"I pushed the stupid incompetent driver out of the way and took over myself. Then I brought the taxi under control." We need to do that too.

We need to put people in the White House, the Supreme Court and Congress who actually know HOW to stay awake and to get us to where we need to go. We need to control election spending. We need to count the votes ourselves. We need to elect people with NO ties to the weapons industry. We need to put limits on television advertising. We need to take back our airwaves. And we need to start placing (legal) wiretaps on all the White House phones and start reading THEIR e-mails.

We need to hire leaders who represent US!

And if our drivers fall asleep at the wheel and cannot get us to where WE want to go -- safely and on time -- then we need to drive our own car.

PS: I just listened to "Democracy Now" on KPFA, where investigative reporters described American black ops torture techniques in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Morocco and Poland. American military personnel -- not just a few bad apples -- torture captives in ways that you don't even want to know about. Broomsticks up the rectum? Months in freezing temperatures in unlighted cells with screeching noises blasting at them 24/7 while they hang by ropes until they confess to crimes that only fools believe had actually been committed? And the American troops who perform these unspeakable acts learn how to do it by reading these worst-than-medieval torture instructions from out of Pentagon-produced books!

"And then they came for me and by that time there was nobody to speak up for me," Pastor Niemoller said about the Nazis. If we don't get our American democratic vehicle back under control, the 600 new concentration camps that Halliburton has just been commissioned to build here in America may be used to house US. And then it could be you and me -- us Democrats and bloggers -- who are being rammed with a broom.

PPS: Okay. So our federal vehicle is being driven by a scurvy group of blood-curdling torturers -- sort of like our own personal Freddie Kruegers. But can they steer America through the economic nightmare that awaits us if something isn't done really soon about our out-of-control financial deficits? Or will we just get another sequel to "Nightmare on Wall Street"?

To quote Joseph Stiglitz, "If America were not the economic powerhouse that it is, the day of reckoning would have already come. The only questions that the world faces today are how long it will persist, how it will be tamed and how much damage -- to America and the world -- will be done in the interim. And how hard will the landing be?"

Stillwater is a freelance writer who hates injustice and corruption in any form but especially injustice and corruption paid for by American taxpayers.

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