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25 November 2004

Take that, indulgent ones!

I don’t normally find Tom Friedman’s column in the Times worth reading.  But today’s bears examination.

But most of all, I want to have the gall to sully American democracy at
a time when young American soldiers are fighting in Iraq so we can
enjoy a law-based society here and, maybe, extend it to others. Yes, I
want to be Tom DeLay. I want to wear a little American flag on my lapel
in solidarity with the troops, while I besmirch every value they are
dying for….

If I can’t be The Man, then I at least want to be the owner of a
Hummer – with American flag decals all over the back bumper, because
Hummer owners are, on average, a little more patriotic than you and me.

Yes, I want to drive the mother of all gas-guzzlers that gets so
little mileage you have to drive from gas station to gas station. Yes,
I want to drive my Hummer and never have to think that by consuming so
much oil, I am making transfer payments to the worst Arab regimes that
transfer money to Islamic charities that transfer money to madrassas
that teach children intolerance, antipluralism and how to hate the

And when one day one of those madrassa graduates goes
off and joins the jihad in Falluja and kills my neighbor’s son, who is
in the U.S. Army Rangers, I want to drive to his funeral in my Hummer.
Yes, I want to curse his killers in front of his mother and wail aloud,
“If there was only something I could do …” And then I want to drive
home in my Hummer, stopping at two gas stations along the way.

If I can’t be any of these, then I want to be just a simple blue-state
red-state American. I want to take time on this Thanksgiving to thank
God I live in a country where, despite so much rampant selfishness, the
public schools still manage to produce young men and women ready to
voluntarily risk their lives in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to
spread the opportunity of freedom and to protect my own. And I want to
thank them for doing this, even though on so many days in so many ways
we really don’t deserve them.

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