Roger Barbee: My wish list for 2015

Roger Barbee

I know that it is not my birthday, but I want to ask for a few presents, or perhaps some wishes for the new year. It is selfish of me, but perhaps some readers will share in asking that:

Dick Cheney go away. Yes, he was vice president twice, and he has spent his life earning his living in government. However, the man, with his constant scowl, strikes me as, well, a vulgar person.

It seems that he is often called forth by the media so that he can, once again, bestow on us poor citizens his view of the world. In his remarks to Chuck Todd concerning the release of the CIA torture report, the best vocabulary this man could find was, “It’s [the report] a bunch of crap.” He then went on to point out the need and justification for the United States to torture prisoners.

Cheney is afraid, and he acts and thinks out of his fear. He also wants this country to be afraid. Cheney presents tough, but is a pathetic bully full of fear. He is one who constantly reminds us of 9/11 and its horrors. However, as awful as that event was, he continues to speak out for a mind-set that goes against every principle on which the United States was founded.

By the use of twisted language such as “enhanced interrogation technique,” Cheney tries to call a spade anything but a shovel so that it will fit his ill-formed logic and need. For me, I want to hear from such men as John McCain, John Kerry, George McGovern, Tim O’Brien, or Mike Tidwell when the subject of torture and war are presented. Torture is what the other guy does, not Americans.

Cheney is nothing but an arm-chair quarterback who has never been exposed or tested in the field of real life. When he had his chance to join for battle during Vietnam, he took how many deferments? Please, go away and live on your government retirement, Mr. Cheney, while sharing your scowl with your cronies and family.

We expect more from the movie industry and ourselves. The news that a large company has been hacked is important on many levels, especially for the privacy violations. However, what I find pathetic is that a major movie maker in the United States of America made a so-called comedy out of Americans attempting to kill the leader of another nation. How can such a theme be humorous? And it was to be released on Christmas Day — all this in a “Christian nation.”

A national survey asks if the movie should have been pulled because of threats from the folks behind the hacking and, being a free people, most polled citizens voted that the movie should not be pulled. Americans do not agree with censorship. That is all fine and good and perhaps even noble, but I think the survey should have asked why would anyone pay money to see such a film? Is this type of tripe what we Americans, on Christmas Day no less, will pay to watch? We can, and should, do better. It is “more than a movie,” it is a commentary on our national psyche.

We stop using the word terrorists to refer to misguided people who attack and kill anyone they see as enemies. Let us call them what they are, thugs. I believe that when we call them terrorists, we give them power over all good and decent peoples. Should we have concern? Yes. A plan to battle them? Yes. But, do not allow them to strike fear into our conscience because, if we do, then we will act out of fear and that will lead us to costly mistakes. We are not in a “war against terrorists,” but in a task to do what is right for citizens of the world.

For 2015, I wish that we as a nation examine our thinking and actions — and demand more from our elected leaders and ourselves. For 2015, perhaps we can come together as a people with a common need and do good for ourselves, then perhaps other nations. For 2015, perhaps we can first remove the cinder from our own eye, then maybe we will do better for ourselves and those around the world. For 2015, I wish that we would not react out of fear, but do what is good and right. Perhaps we will.

Roger Barbee is a retired educator who lives in Edinburg with his wife Mary Ann, four dogs and five cats. Email him at red-hill@shentel.net.