Last week, I hopped the ferry for my usual 35 minute journey back to Seattle.
When I got on and peered out the window, I noticed something unusual. There was a Coast Guard boat with a machine gun mounted at the front, and behind the gun was a man ready to shoot someone or something. Since we were nowhere near a national border, one can only assume that those someones or somethings were fellow Americans.
A bit uncomfortable (“oops, the trigger slipped and we took out some guy on the ferry, will the media buy that he was a terrorist, of course they will”), I got up and walked to the other side of the ferry, where I immediately encountered yet another gunboat.
You can run from violence, but I guess you can’t hide.
As we made our way across the Sound, the armed boats confronted every small boat that came within 500 yards of our ferry. They pointed the big gun at them until they stopped or changed course. This entire time, no announcement was ever made to let the somewhat concerned ferry passengers know what was going on.
What struck me as even more unusual, however, were the number of people that were completely unfazed by this spectacle.
“Oh, they do that from time-to-time”, remarked a 50-something year old woman who was seated behind me, “I was scared at first, but now I just ignore them.”
So, this is what it’s come to. Routine armed escorts across the Puget Sound as random pleasure-boaters find themselves on the business end of gigantic machine guns while grandmothers shrug the whole thing off.
Not that I’m complaining, however. Oh, no, not me.
Two weeks ago, Barack Obama visited Seattle. It was the third time he visited Seattle in a year, and the third time he came over, snarled traffic, and left with a fistful of bribes while throwing up a gigantic “fuck you” to every Seattle resident who couldn’t afford $35,000/plate dinners.
On the eve of his visit, I typed up a 2,000-word post … basically expounding on the paragraph above. I called the President corrupt, I expressed my disappointment at his only coming to Seattle when he needed bribes from mega-rich people, and I questioned the commitment of Democrats to the working people of America when their anointed savior decides to come and take bribes during the middle of evening rush hour.
Moments before I hit “submit”, however, I was asked by a couple members of my household not to publish it.
Was this because they are Obama supporters?
They didn’t want me to publish my critique, because they feared that the post would draw the attention of someone in the Patriot-Act-renewing President’s service, who would in turn kick down our door and shoot one of us in the face in the name of national security.
And so, the post never saw the light of day. I imagine that it never will. I simply fear my government too much.
As I sit here typing this article, fighter jets are screaming overheard. I have to plug my ears every minute or so, and their last pass was so loud that they set off half a dozen car alarms on the street below.
“The Blue Angels are a great recruiting tool!”, said the Naval Officer on Friday’s Evening News. “We’re never going to cut their budget!”
At this moment, some 20,000 people are standing on the shores of Lake Washington, waving their hands in the air and cheering as the Blue Angels perform yet another 700Mph maneuver.
As much as I love airplanes, I just couldn’t bring myself to go this year. I couldn’t go because I know. I know. I know that those airplanes … those sleek jets … those fast, loud airplanes … they’re not for me.
Those planes are for someone else. They’re for guys who can afford $35,000 dinners. They’re for guys who, in a fit of patriotic fervor, ears still ringing … may … just may … run down to the nearest recruiting office so that they, too, can sacrifice their lives to protect guys who can afford $35,000 dinners.
Nah, those planes aren’t for me. They never were.
The best I can hope for from those airplanes, is for them to drown out the sound of my crying, as I mourn for what has become of freedom in the USA.
Enjoy your air show, Seattle.