January 31, 2005

Let Freedom Ring!

Jan. 31 - Greetings to anyone who is still checking this blog to see if I've got any new ramblings besides my folks!

The Washington Times headline says it best: Joy explodes across Iraq. And I think a lot of us shared in that joy.

I watched the coverage of the Iraq elections from 2 a.m. Sunday morning until 6 p.m. Sunday evening -- I just couldn't turn FoxNews (heh!) off. Although I wanted to post I was just too overcome by my feelings of humility and thanksgiving. I feel so privileged to be a witness to the courage and determination of the Iraqi people, and more than a little embarrassed because I noted that they were voting in numbers that rival our percentages in tranquil times and I really don't know how we might perform if faced with similar threats of mayhem from people who have a track record of carrying out those threats.

I guess the Iraqi people didn't get that memo about the incompatibility of civil liberties, democracy, Arabs, tribal cultures and Islam, because they certainly exercised their franchise without noticing that it isn't supposed to be in their cultural makeup.

Among those celebrating -- and rightfully so -- are the members of the Iraq Naitonal Guard and Army. I guess they did get the memo about having confidence because they did a spectacular job and are the heroes of Iraq. I was saddened by the reports of those who lost their lives proving themselves to be be true human shields.

I can't even imagine how gratified the men and women of the armed forces serving in Iraq (and those who served and have returned stateside) must feel today. I guess it's at minimum a tangible reassurance that we are on the right path and at maximum that the sacrifices have not been in vain, and perhaps more that any debt the Iraqis may owe us has been paid in full.

Quick detour: I stumbled across FoxNews on Rogers Cable up here in mid-December (which proves that channel surfing is good!) and, although I really, really miss the faint tone of disapproval that permeates far too many CNN reports, I think I'll stick with Fox as my major TV news source for all things American and Iraqi.

I do miss another thing about CNN: I used to yell out some fairly brilliant and insightful things during their news broadcasts because their analysis was so superficial, but Fox seems to have all the context bases covered and I am thus defused. I guess the result is a calmer Debbye, but never fear: the Rant Factor has not left the household because Mark is a dedicated O'Reilly Factor fan. He doesn't miss a single night and when I hear him yell Because they're a bunch of snively whiney rat bastards I know that a) O'Reilly is reporting on something a liberal said and, b) it's past eight and I have to get up to go to work.

I am extremely comfortable with this role reversal. Let someone else get steamed about the John Kerrys and Ted Kennedys (Mark made some really terrific shots about Teddy's wanting to cut and run from Iraq - the mildest was Yeah, Ted, stick with what you know best.

Okay, I lied. I shot out of my chair yesterday when I heard John Kerry's (I won't even use the title of Senator this day) comments on the wonderful election turnout in Iraq. He would have conceded to international opinion and postponed (read cancelled) those elections, and I'm not up on my Dante but I'm pretty sure one of those circles of hell is his destination. Isn't the presidential campaign over? Can't Kerry finally shut up? Americans have been happy to ignore him for over 30 years. Can't we return to normalcy?

The same nagging about the need to bring the international community together? On exactly what basis would he have us come together anyway?

When it came time to be counted, Americans remember who came forward and who lagged in the rear, and we may be a forgiving nation but we aren't a forgetful nation. We are already brought together on those things in which they are willing to participate, i.e., protecting their nations from internal threats, and thus apprehending those in their nations who may pose a threat to our and other nations, and those efforts are appreciated but not misinterpreted -- they are only capable of taking a short view of history, and we need to take a long view. Let's not mistake enlightenment for anaemia and just agree to accept the help from each nation in accorance with what they are willing to offer.

Taking the fight to the enemy takes a special kind of steel, and we thankfully have real allies who can see the danger of mistaking the Ardennes Forest for the trees.

Okay, cheap shot aside, the international community does seem to be brought together somewhat in their reaction to yesterday's elections. Jacques Freakin' Chirac was more upbeat than John Kerry, for crying out loud. This day it's Kerry and Kennedy who are out of step if only because others are realists and cannot deny the immense and irrevocable nature of yesterday's vote in Iraq.

I was further incensed that Kerry should make his comments on the very day that our staunchest allies suffered severe and painful losses. An Australian serving with the RAF, Flt-Lt Paul Pardoel and up to ten British airmen were killed when the Hercules C-130 came down in Iraq, yet he couldn't stop fretting about disapproval from those who oppose us long enough to acknowledge the loss, express his condolences and thank our allies for their sacrifice. What a graceless man.

Sigh. It's becoming very hard for me to keep in mind how totally we defied expectations after Sept. 11. (Maybe because it's been over 3 years and they should have figured it out by now.) Those who don't know us might be forgiven for having assumed that we would react as they would: become consumed with negativity and turn that into cynical passivity, or turn into murderous mobs intent on extracting revenge on the innocent and guilty alike. Instead we looked at those oft-recited root causes and recognized that maybe we could realistically address one of them and chose to take an enormous gamble and offer the twin values of tolerance and government by consent of the governed (necessarily twinned because you can't have one without the other.)

We've stated our aims countless times, and shown the truth of our words by our deeds. Stop looking for what isn't there and deal with what is visible. Maybe then we can talk and the international community can be brought together by a new practice: honesty.

Yesterday's elections were only the first step (like you haven't read and heard that elsewhere!) but that is hardly the point. What is significant is that the first step was taken, and I heartily wish the Iraqis and all those who yearn for freedom to take heart and keep their eyes on the prize. The socialists have one thing right: you have nothing to lose but your chains.

Posted by Debbye at 07:07 AM | Comments (3)

Why Can't I Be Independently Wealthy?

Jan. 31 - I wish I was independently wealthy. (Sure, like none of you ever wished that!)

Work continues full steam ahead. I feel foolish complaining about the schedule I'm working (primarily because the alternative is dreary) but the downtime and recovery time I thought I'd have after the holiday shoppers finally stayed home isn't happening.

I'm working every other night, i.e., Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. It's a pace that provides little of anything resembling "down time" for me but makes perfect sense for the company and, as there are some organizational changes taking place there and the inevitable difficulties that accompany any transition, I'm actually pleased with the way things are progressing.

I'm also mentally prepared for setbacks and compromises, because that's the way the universe likes to keep us on our toes.

The downside is that when I'm not working I'm trying to get to sleep but only achieve snatches of sleep between long waking periods during which I try to get back to sleep.

And the less said about the weather the better. It's January. I can deal with it, but I don't have to like it.

This pace should continue until mid-February and then there should be a resumption of consective nights with consecutive nights off (note plural) and that in turn should translate into a (fairly) normal life. Uh huh.

Posted by Debbye at 06:33 AM | Comments (1)

January 20, 2005

Presidential Inaugural Address

Jan. 20 - (A little back-blogging to have the text on record.) President Sworn-In to Second Term

Posted by Debbye at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)