My sister Apolitica called me yesterday. �Dolton�s really upset,� she
said of her spouse.
�What happened? Did someone peel the �I heart Dubya� sticker off his
beloved new truck?� I asked ever empathetically of my Bush-lovin,�
Rush-adorin,� flag-wavin,� magnet-displayin� brother-in-law, the one who�d just
recently somehow scraped together a skeletal down payment for a $35,000 fully-loaded
four-wheel drive even though he, my sister and their 9-year-old son (Dolton,
Jr.) don�t have a pot to piss in and are already giraffe eyeball-high in debt.
�No, no,� she answered. �His grandpa�s ill again and having trouble
getting an appointment to see the doctor. You know how close those two are.�
Indeed, I did know this. It was actually one of Dolt�s few redeeming
qualities, the affection he had for his namesake grandfather. I also knew the
old Dolt was a disabled veteran and figured his trouble getting treated was
almost certainly related to the relentless assaults by the chickenhawk Bush
administration on benefits fully due those who�ve honorably served in America�s
�Hey, sis, put Dolt on the line,� I said. Normally, requesting to speak
with Dolton could only mean I was running a dangerously high fever or having a
dreadful nightmare. Or both. But his grandfather (who, despite being at least
partly responsible for my brother-in-law�s existence, is a good guy) was
hurting, and besides, I thought, Dolt is only human, or nearly so. I went for
It was, of course, a mistake. Will I never learn?
Dolt came to the phone. �Yeah, what is it?� he snarled. I drew a breath
and enjoyed this high point while it lasted.
�I�m sorry to hear about your grandfather. How�s he doing?�
�Not so hot.� Dolt throttled back a bit. �His old stomach wound is
acting up again, he�s in pain, and he can�t get in to see the doctor for
another few weeks. There�s something seriously wrong with that system.�
�It�s a real disgrace, all right,� I said. �Your grandpa bravely drops
behind enemy lines on D-Day, gets shot up, endures several operations and
decades of discomfort, and now the government says take a hike.�
Dolt�s voice thinned. �I suppose you�re gonna tell me now it�s all the
Bush administration�s fault.�
And so we were off . . .
�Well, not the wounding part,� I replied. �Although, on the other hand,
since we�re talking World War II vintage grandfathers, perhaps if the one that
belonged to your dear Dubya hadn�t fronted for the
Nazis during those early salad days for the Bush family, a number of good
men like your grandpa might have been spared a lifetime of pain and delayed
doctor visits and still others might not have been snuffed out in their
�You�re crazy,� Dolt grunted.
�Every time we speak,� I responded, �that very thought goes through my
head,� a remark that flew right over his. �Regardless, what�s truly crazy, or
at least unforgivably ignorant, is to support someone like Dubya who, like his
granddaddy Prescott and pappy Poppy, couldn�t give a blasted ass about who
lives or dies as long as he and crooked cronies can keep the blood, and thus
the blood money, flowing.�
�What�re you talkin� about?� Dolt exclaimed. �Bush praises the troops
all the time!�
�Well, then, maybe all your grandpa needs to do is take two acclamations
and call you in the morning.�
�Never mind. But if phony praise was all it took to keep troops and
veterans in good stead, the way Dubya dishes it out, none of �em would ever
have so much as a hangnail. Unfortunately, his actions speak far louder than
any of his empty attaboys, and boy, has he emptied it big-time onto those he�s
sent out behind The Big Lie to do his murderous bidding.
"In January 2005, Veterans for Peace reported,
�The last four years [have] been marked by the president proposing reductions
in funding for veterans� benefits and unsuccessful efforts by Congress to keep
minimal funding for veterans flowing. . . . The White House . . . openly
requested a cut of $844 million from the 2004 veterans budget and a cut of $910
million from the 2005 veterans budget. When Congress proposed an additional
$1.3 billion for veterans health care in [a FY 2004 bill, the] White House
squelched the allocation. . . . Due to the funding cuts, the [Department of
Veterans Affairs medical] system was forced to eliminate 6,000 hospital beds,
just as 235,000 veterans sat on waiting lists for VA care.'
�And, just the other day,� I said, simmering, �Andrew Taylor of the
Associated Press wrote
that new proposed cuts by Bush �would prove traumatic to the already troubled
VA medical system, and would force staff cuts, delay investment in new medical
equipment and deny care to hundreds of thousands of veterans.'
�So tell me, Dolt,� I fumed, �if your grandpa now can�t get seen even
for wounds the VA�s known about for 60 years, who the hell�s gonna take care of
the thousands of soldiers grievously injured in Iraq and, now it horrifyingly
appears, yet to be in Iran?�
I swear I heard Dolton�s jaw clench through the line and could almost
feel him mentally rifling through his cut-and-paste Fox News talking points. Right on cue, he spat, �Look, Mark, those
soldiers knew what they were getting into when they signed up!� Dolt�s
knee-jerk reactionism had fully kicked in, and grandpa, a man for whom Dolt
cared deeply, was suddenly forgotten. Instantly, it was all about the idiotic
�You mean,� I pressed, �recruiters are finally telling kids the truth
these days, that they�ll be killing and possibly dying to protect the sanctity
of multinational corporate profits?�
�That�s just stupid,� Dolt said exasperatedly. �Our soldiers protect us
from barbaric fundamentalists who threaten our civil liberties and American way
�Oh, so, in other words, our neocon-directed military illegally invades
a defenseless country and kills and tortures people in the process, so
Americans here at home can enjoy warrantless searches and pile up crushing debt
to cram their garages full of stuff?�
�I don�t see how that�s even Germanic,� he snapped, utilizing an
unsettlingly germane malapropism given the parallels between today�s America
and a certain country in the 1930s.
Just then, I heard my nephew in the background.
�Daddy, daddy! Let's go take a ride in your new truck!�
�Not now, little Dolt; I'm talking to your communist uncle,� my
�Uh, that's �columnist,�� I
�Ha! Same thing,� Dolton harrumphed, no doubt as the indoctrinated
canard �liberal media� swam through his mind. (More like �waded,� considering
the area�s spatial limitations.)
I changed the subject -- sort of. �So this spanking new Toyota Tundra of
yours: How do you expect to pay for it?�
He was boiling now. �It�s none of your damn business.�
�It sure will be when we all end up living oh-so-harmoniously together
in my apartment after you�ve gone belly up because you can�t make the
�That won�t happen,� he retorted. �After all, unlike some people
I know, I work two full-time jobs,� he said, as if this were an enviable thing.
�Right. And they�re both low-paying positions with no benefits that
don�t even enable you to keep your head above water as it is.�
�But we needed a car!� he protested.
�Then why didn�t you get a car, a reliable used one, instead of a
15-miles-to-the-gallon, ego-boosting wallet drainer? What do you need a
four-wheel drive for, anyway? You hate
�Um, yeah, true,� he mumbled almost inaudibly, �but, uh, I really wanted
one after I saw my neighbor�s.�
The perfect American, I thought. �Don�t you get it, Dolton, how you play
right into their hands?�
�The ones belonging to the people who own you, lock, stock and
oil barrel: corporations and their bagmen infesting the government and stealing
us all blind, which they couldn�t do without your enthusiastic support of their
brazen lootings like the Iraq war money pit and tax giveaways to the
�ber-wealthy that have flung our record national debt into hyperdrive; or your
addiction to charging things you don�t even need thereby goosing America�s
near-record consumer debt; or your falling for the con of incessant advertising
and induced envy as you further indenture yourself for an extravagant import,
thus doing your part to make the record
U.S .trade imbalance even more record-y.
�Congratulations, Dolt: you�ve just helped the ruling den of thieves hit
the lucre trifecta.�
�But . . . the economy�s doing great!� he blurted in classic
missing-the-point fashion while also cluing me in to the latest party line du
jour pipelined by the likes of Limbaugh and Bill O�Reilly.
�Yeah,� I said, �I guess -- that is, if you�re a typical CEO pulling in
430 times the average worker�s wage. But not so great, I�d say, for that same
laborer whose pay has stagnated for the past 30 years. When was the last time
you got a raise at either of your jobs, Dolt?�
�Uh . . . I don�t remember,� he murmured.
�Yet you go out anyway and mindlessly buy a four-wheeled, gas-guzzling
appendage extension, thereby helping perpetuate America�s terminal dependence
on the oil teat. Nice going.�
�Listen, Mark,� he growled, �the thing commies like you don�t get about
America is our freedom, which means I�m free to buy whatever I damn well
�Free?� I cried. �You�re not free! You are completely enslaved,
voluntarily chained to the red, white and blue-bedecked altar of unsustainable
American consumerism at which you obediently worship, while your fascist
creditors view you as nothing more than a throwaway consumer unit to be
discarded as soon as your upkeep cost exceeds your net personal production
value. The corporate masters of war howl with glee as you buy both their
worthless goods and snake oil pitch about how you must constantly cower while
unquestioningly pledging both fealty and your very progeny to their mighty
military machine, the one that promises to save you from scary brown men while,
in reality, it gobbles global goodies which it will relentlessly continue doing
until the house-of-cards U.S. economy, the very one into which you put so much
unstinting faith, sweat and coin, inevitably comes a-tumblin� down, at which
point, of course, comes the kicker: The throngs of America�s bamboozled sons
and daughters who come home from their overseas slaughtering assignments
shattered and ultimately, abandoned -- that is, if they come home at all.�
Dolton was steaming. �Why do you liberals hate America and our troops so
I could set my watch: another irrelevant, right-wing sound bite. I
addressed it anyway.
�Hate the troops? Hardly,� I replied evenly. �Millions of us flooded the
streets repeatedly before the war started, doing everything possible to assist
those pitiable pawns in the most fundamental manner: trying to keep them out of
harm�s way. Many lobby tirelessly still to bring them home ASAP. Hell, even the
troops themselves say it�s time to leave Iraq.�
�That�s right. Zogby International just reported that �72
percent of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the
country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should
leave immediately . . . ��
�Well, uh,� Dolton sputtered, �that�s, um . . . that�s exactly what
lefties like you do, use the troops� own words against them. Ha!� He sounded
proud of himself.
�Yes, it is quite low, I suppose, to cite the soldiers, but, believe it
or not, I can think of something even more appallingly injurious to their
�What�s that?� he asked.
�Supporting the son of a bitch who sent them over there in the first
place, who then does everything he can to screw them upon their return. You
know, just like what�s happening now to your poor grandfather.�
�Dad-dy!� It was my nephew again. �Now
can we go for a ride?�
�Hey, Dolt,� I said.
�What now? I need to take junior for a drive.�
�Don�t you ever worry about little Dolt�s future?�
�Nope. He already knows what he wants to be.�
I dropped the phone.
Copyright � 2006
Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who
lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.