Crazy Saturday Part 1: "Burn Down the USA"!
I just got back to the hotel- just in time to catch the All Blacks/ South African Springbocks game...
I wanted to sit and relay the crazy events of the day, but I had to watch the All Blacks do the Haka first. For those of you who've never had the pleasure- the Haka is arguably the single coolest sports ritual I've ever seen. Ever. Just before the start of the game, the entire team performs a dramatic and intimidating Maori ritual dance in an almost military cadence while staring down the opposing team- who look pretty much like they're shitting their pants. One player leads the group, shouting ritual phrases as the rest of the team responds with shouts and grimaces as they all stomp out the wardance as one.
It's incredibly bad-ass. Imagine if, at the beginning of the Super Bowl, the whole Ravens squad, (for example), come out before kickoff and performed a crazy, tribal wardance in unison- shouting, calling and responding with such fearsome authority that it intimidated the Cowboys, (for example), to the point where they were reluctant to even come on to the field.
Huh, huh... rugby's cool... huh, huh
So anyway... I get up early this chilly and beautiful morning to go out and take a walk, get some fresh air and buy some presents for friends and family- and, out of nowhere, I find myself in the midst of a vocal and volatile Palestinian protest march. In Auckland, no less.
Never a dull moment, huh?
I could fill volumes about all of the different and conflicting things I felt seeing a teeming mass of angry protesters, armed with banners, flags and bullhorns, screaming "Burn down the USA" as they made their way through the streets of this lovely city that I've grown to love so much. To be honest, I don't really know how to describe it just yet... I will say this, however:
It really kind of sucks. A lot.
I really wanted to avoid any sort of political stuff here on my little window to Auckland. Y'know- keep it light and fun... nice sunsets, pictures of birds and whatnot, but...
Since my arrival, I've had literally dozens of coversations, with people from all over the world, about the current state of America and it's place in the world. First thing anyone wants to talk about the second they find out I'm from The States. To say that the current administration is unpopular would be a profound understatement... akin to saying that Charles Manson was just 'a little upset', or that Jabba the Hut was 'just a little overweight'...
A great many people I've met here believe, (unfortunately and inaccurately), that all of us yanks are down with the 'Bush program'- that we're all aggressive, bloodthirsty rednecks with a bible in one hand and a 6 shooter in the other, eating cheeseburgers and watching Cops while we wait impatiently for the opportunity to just smack the shit out of the next non- white/christian or hetero person who pisses us off...
A sad commentary indeed... but I digress.
Rather than go on and on about my disdain, contempt and disappointment in regards to the current (lack of) leadership in my beloved US of A, let me just say this: I have friends and family who are very liberal and friends and family that are way conservative. I have friends and family who are very religious and I have friends and family who are the most godless heathens this side of Sodom and Gomorrah. I love them all. I don't begrudge anyone their beliefs either way- as long as it's not hurting or beating down anyone else- God bless.
Hell, if Yoda makes you a better person than Jesus, than may the force be with you. It really comes down to character.
My contempt for the current administration is not necessarily based on party affiliation; historically in America, there have been many great Democrats, as well as many great Republicans... (Hell, George Patton and Clint Eastwood- hardcore Republicans both- are 2 out of my top 10 favorite people in the history of man), and I regretfully admit that I believe that most all politicians anymore are full of shit by design. I suppose they pretty much have to be, system being what it is... guess it goes with the territory. It's not about red or blue... it's about green.
My problem is that I simply do not believe that Dubya or any of those other world class asshats he shares office space with are good men, in any meaningful sense of the word. Period. I truly don't believe there's a single ounce of real, honest-to-God character in any one of 'em. Not one. They're a bunch of rich, petty, paranoid, repressed and hypocritical old bastards driven by self serving and short sighted agendas.
It really pisses me off that people like me- and a great many other Americans who I know, regardless of their party affiliation, feel as I do- get lumped in with those miserable sons of bitches. They have as much business running America as my cat...
I take that back- comparitively speaking, Biscuit would absolutely kick ass as El Presidente.
Oh well, this too shall pass... at least, I really hope so. I'd hate to finally have to accept that Orwell really was right.
Stay tuned for part 2...