Lately I've been reading and hearing a lot of different stories on the news and online-- stories that make me say, "Huh? What are these people thinking?" Let me give you a couple examples.
Recently, there was an article about the last Civil War widow who had died at age 97. The story went on about how several groups in the south saw her as a link to the past and she was feted and honored by them. Now that she's gone, so is that link. Huh? The woman was 97 years old. That means she was born in 1906 or 1907. The war officially ended in April, 1865. That means that the war had been over for a minimum of 41 years when this woman was born. If the man she married who actually fought in the war was 15 when the war ended and she was 15 when they got married, that means that the man was 71 years old when he married a 15 year old girl! How is this woman in any way a link to the Civil War other than the fact that as a child she married some old man who has been a mere child when the war ended?
My oldest son just finished his junior year in high school. Not a week later, I received a notice in the mail about senior pictures, sent out by the yearbook staff of his school. They go through the requirements and then get to a section called "Photo Suggestions". For "Guys", it says that a coat and tie would be most appropriate. As if I'm going to get my son into a coat and tie. But that's not what made me go "Huh?" Under "Girls" it says to avoid bright patterns and bold colors and to wear darker solid colors. Then in parenthesis it adds, "Remember light colors or white can easily make you appear 8-10 lbs. heavier." Excuse me? Oh, wait...Huh? First, the fact that they put this little "reminder" for the girls only shows that society still continues to insist that women look thinner while men don’t really have to worry about their weight. But to include it in their in the first place is sending the message that what you look like is the most important thing for people to remember about you. They left a phone number to call if you have questions. I wonder if I can use the same phone number to make comments as well.
Did you hear what OJ Simpson had to say in an interview recently? What is this man thinking? He's angry at his wife because she's not there to raise the kids and he thinks she could do a better job of raising them in some areas? Well, maybe he should of thought of that before he became responsible for her death. He's also suggesting that Ron Goldman's father shouldn't be upset because his son's death gave him lots of opportunities to be in the spotlight! Huh? Is this man for real? Of course, it appears that like most abusers, OJ thinks that everyone should follow his lead. He's certainly taken advantage of Nicole Brown's and Ron Goldman's deaths to get into the spotlight. I think he’s using the anniversary of his death to plug his straight-to-video series, a rip-off of the hit show "Punk'd". (I'm not even going to give the name of his show so that he doesn't get free publicity from me too.) I often wonder how his two kids are coping with the knowledge that their father has been found to be legally responsible for their mother's death.
A report put together last year by military and civilian lawyers for the Pentagon argues that the laws preventing torture do not necessarily apply to any action directly ordered by the president in the name of national security. Huh? The laws they're seeking to thwart are the same laws they were seeking to enforce in VietNam and they'd be seeking to enforce again if American prisoners of war were being treated the way the US has treated Iraqi prisoners. There have been over 43,000 detainees-- only 700 of which have ever been charged with anything at all. Imagine the furor if, in this country, they arrested 60 people, held them without legal council, only charged one of those 60 with a crime and killed one for every 25 charged. Of course, there's always legal technicalities to get around things like humane treatment of enemy combatants. And yet we have the nerve to complain about how our prisoners are being treated by the Iraqis? Talk about hypocrisy! How can anyone justify torture for any reason?
Then there's the news from the state comptroller's office in Texas that Unitarian Universalism is not really a religion. Huh? John Adams and John Quincy Adams were both UU members (or more accurately, members of the precursors of the modern UU faith.) Now we have the government of Texas deciding what is and what is not a "real" religion! Despite the fact that non-traditional churches make up a very small percentage of religions in Texas, they make up a full 25% of the rejected applications for tax exempt status. But the comptroller's office says there's no bias being applied. Did I show you pictures of the beach front property I have for sale in the Nevada?
There is the report that came out recently warning Americans that this summer has the highest threat of terrorist activities to date. They don't know where, they don't know when, they don't know how, they don't know how, but they know it's coming. Huh? Have you noticed how the current administration announces that the terrorism threat is going up or really high every time Bush’s ratings start to drop? And then, of course, the sheeple of this nation say, "Wow! What a job Bush is doing because he thwarted all those terrorism attacks!" And Chicken Little was the greatest prophet known to man.
The 9/11 commission is done with the taking of testimony and is set to release their report next month. But from the preliminary reports they've already released, they have said there's no credible evidence that there is any link between Saddam Hussein/Iraq and al Qaeda. However, when speaking to reporters after a meeting with his cabinet on Thursday, June 17, 2004, CNN reports that the president said, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaida is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida." Huh? Let's try that again. "The reason I keep insisting that purple elephants wear high heels hiding in cherry trees is that purple elephants wear high heels hiding in cherry trees!" I don't care if you have evidence that says otherwise! What I say goes! I guess is shouldn't surprise us if the doctor who recently diagnosed Bush as a paranoid, sadistic meglomaniac is right. After all, he also said that "[t]he President suffers from 'character pathology,' including 'grandiosity' and 'megalomania' -- viewing himself, America and God as interchangeable."
And finally, there was the story out of Texas about the homeless man who was set on fire. Police think that it might have been done as a joke. Huh? What kind of a "joke" is it when up to 8 men pull up in two cars, light another human being on fire and then drive off in their SUVs? Of course, you could always use the excuse that the hardline supporters of Bush are using with regards to the prison abuse in Abu Ghraib: at least it's not as bad as what Saddam did! Police hope that by airing a surveillence video of the crime caught on tape that the public will find it in their heart to turn in those who did it. If someone knows who did it and doesn't turn them in, I think they should be charged as an accessory.
Sometimes there's nothing to do but shake your head and pray you're here in the morning to try again to get people to understand that we're all members of the same race: humans. That when we harm one, we harm ourselves. That we're all interconnected on this planet: water, land, animals, humans. And that if we destroy one, we destoy all. But far too often when you try to explain that simple concept to people, they look at you and say, "Huh?"