Have You Seen It Yet? Raul's Coming Home For Christmas
"So ... here's the scoop on the video. I was in the San Antonio airport. Loads of military personnel coming home ...
On the tv screens all over the terminal was Michele Bachman on one of her many nauseating campaign stops. Except this one caught my eye as well as everyone else's. The sound was off so all we were getting was the closed caption feed. Basically she was saying that the troops were "expelled", "kicked out" of Iraq. And that this was a major "embarrassment" for the United States. All this as these young troops, no doubt having survived a trip to hell and back, stared at the tv monitors. I was speechless. I wanted to hug them and tell them that not everyone in this country is an asshole.
I told my friend, Allan Miller the story. He made some calls to friends and associates and we made this video in the beautiful Franklin Theatre in Franklin, TN. We just felt like we had to do something to let the troops know that politics aside, they are never an "embarrassment" or a "failure". The "embarrassments" and the "failures" are the politicians like Bachman. Who, by the content of this speech alone should disqualify her immediately from being in contention for the office of Commander in Chief.
Here is the story of that day as told by Allan Miller...
I WAS IN SANTONIO, WAITING OUT THE LAST FEW MINUTES BEFORE THEY STARTED BOARDING FOR THE LAST LEG OF MY ODYSSEY HOME. FOR ONCE, I WAS ACTUALLY ENJOYING OBSERVING THE PEOPLE AROUND ME. MOSTLY IT WAS YOUNG VETERANS, AT LAST GOING HOME. THEY WERE ALL RIDING EACH OTHER PRETTY WELL, WHILE THE SCENTS OF GALLOWS HUMOR, FEAR, RELIEF, DANGER AND OTHER MORE NUANCED AROMAS FILLED THE AIR. NOT HAVING EVER SUPPORTED THE WAR DIDN’T DIMINISH THE “CONTACT HIGH” I COULD FEEL FROM THEM. THEY ALWAYS HAD MY SUPPORT, AND PERHAPS SEEING THEM CUT LOOSE LIKE THIS REMINDED ME OF HOW, FOR REASONS I MIGHT NEVER UNDERSTAND, I HAD ALWAYS FELT A CONNECTION WITH THEM.
FOR YEARS, MY USUAL DAY BEGAN WIITH COFFEE, THE MORNING NEWS, AND YESTERDAY’S LOSSES, WHICH WOULD TRIGGER THE FATAL ARITHMETIC AUTOMATICALLY. WHILE THOSE TERRIBLE DEATH TOLLS ROSE, I’D OFTEN FIND MYSELF DOING THE TRAGIC MATH.
IF FIFTY WERE LOST, AND THEY EACH HAD FOUR MEMBERS OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY, THERE’S 200 GRIEVING SOULS; AND IF EACH FALLEN SOLDIER HAD 20 IN THEIR EXTENDED FAMILIES,1000’S MORE HEAVY HEARTS. ADD TEN FRIENDS FOR EACH, AND GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW MANY OTHER LIVES THEY TOUCHED, AND HOW, IN MANY OF THESE SUDDENLY DARKENED LIVES, THIS UNTHINKABLEY AWFUL DAY STARTED OUT LIKE ANY OTHER. THEIR NUMBERS WERE GROWING AT AN EVER INCREASING RATE AND WITH THEM, THE HUMAN SUFFERING INDEX WAS LAUNCHING INTO SOME INCOMPREHENSIBLE, STRATOSPHERE...
WHETHER YOU SUPPORTED THE EFFORT OR NOT, THE PURITY OF TROOP COMMRADERY HAD AN UNDENIABLE PHYSICAL PRESENCE. THAT SPAWNED FROM THE WONDEROUS SPIRIT THAT EMANATED FROM AMONGST THEM, AND WAS BEYOND CONTAGIOUS.
THEY HAD MADE IT, THEY WERE HOME, BACK HOME, THEY HAD MADE IT. ON A RAFT OF PRAYERS, VOICE MAILS, E-MAILS, THEY HAD MADE IT. THEY WERE HOME. GOING BACK TO ALL THE PEOPLE THEY HAD PRAYED TO SEE JUST ONE MORE TIME. THEY’D GET TO SEE THOSE KIDS GROW UP; THEY’D GO HOME AND HELP THOSE WHO HAD STRUGGLED WITHOUT THEM, TO KEEP THEIR DREAM OF TODAY ALIVE. THE 24 HOUR A DAY NIGHTMARE WAS SURRENDERING TO THE AMERICAN DAWN. THE WEIGHT OF DANGER WOULD, AT LAST BE LIFTED FROM THOSE COUNTLESS DUFFEL BAGS. THE UNIMAGINABLE BURDEN’S RELIEF WAS QUICKLY INTERRUPTED, HOWEVER, BY AN INEXBLICABLE SILENCE THAT CUT THE AIR WITH THE SHARPNESS AND EASE OF A SURGICAL SCALPEL.
ALL EYES WERE SUDDENLY RIVETED TO THE SILENCECED SUSPENDED MONITORS LOCATED AT EVERY GATE AND TO THE CRAWLS BEING QUOTED BENEATH THE IMAGE OF A WOMAN SPEAKING BEFORE A DISINTERSTED PRESS CONFERENCE.
SHE WAS ON THE ASSAULT, CRITICIZING THE RETURN OF “OUR TROOPS” AND BEMOANING THE FACT THAT THEY HAD BEEN DEPRIVED OF “VICTORY” BY THEIR PRESIDENT, ON A MISSION THAT STILL HAD NO NAME, THAT SHE HERSELF COULDN’T DEFINE. THIS INSANELY INFINITE WASTE, GARNISHED WITH THE USUAL DOSE OF THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND THE SPREADING OF FREEDOM. STATEMENTS THAT WERE USUALLY DELIVERED WITH SUCH CONVINCING, SPIRITUAL SINCERITY, HAD BEEN REDUCED TO LITTLE MORE THAN, IRONICALLY SILENT SOUND BITES, FILLED WITH HONORABLE IMAGES, OF “COLLATERAL DAMAGE”,” MINIMAL LOSSES”, WHICH TRANSLATED TO THE DEATHS OF SOME PERCENTAGE OF THE BRETHREN OF THOSE WHO’D BEEN CELEBRATING A MINUTE EARLIER.
THERE SHE STOOD, NEVER HAVING BROKEN A FINGERNAIL TO DEFEND HER “BELOVED”, “GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD”, BUT FULLY PREPARED TO SPEND THE LIVES OF THESE YOUNG MEN; THE REDHEAD WITH THREE DAUGHTERS, THE BLOND BOY WHO CLEARLY LOOKED TOO YOUNG TO HAVE BEEN GOING, LET ALONE RETURNING, AND ALL THE OTHER SPEECHLESS VIEWERS. THEY WEREN’T EVEN PEOPLE TO HER. THEY WERE PROPS TO BE USED TO FILL HER OTHERWISE BARREN POLITICAL LANDSCAPE.
THREAD BARE WITH THE OVERUSED, UNDERTHOUGHT LOCK STEP MARCHING ORDERS OF HER BODY POLITIC. THEIR LIVES APPEARED TO MEAN NOTHING TO HER. IT WAS EITHER GOOD FOR BUSINESS OR BAD FOR BUSINESS, MAYBE IT’S A HARSH OBSERVATION, BUT ONE TRUTH THAT I CAN ASSURE YOU OF, AS I WITNESSED IT PERSONALLY, WAS THE THEFT OF THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN’S WELL EARNED MOMENT IN THE SUN. ROBBED OF ALL OF IT’S MEANING.
RIGHT OR WRONG, THEY HAD ENDURED SO MUCH FOR YOU AND ME, AND THREE HUNDRED MILLION MORE. OH YEAH, AND FOR HER RIGHT TO TRY TO DIMINISH THEIR BRAVERY, TO A NATION WHO AT LAST, HAD CHOSEN TO MUTE THIS SHRILL, TREACHEROUS SOUND OF EMBARRASMENTS ENDURED FOR SHEER OPPORTUNISM.
BOARDING TIME, AND IT’S BEEN A LONG DAY. ONE LOOK BACK OVER MY SHOULDER, AT THE MONITOR SHOWED HER LIPS WERE STILL MOVING, BUT THE EMPTINESS OF HER WORDS COMPRISED THE SILENCE THAT ECHOED SO RESOUNDINGLY, THROUGHOUT THE AIRPORT. SOON ENOUGH, SHE WOULD TURN HER UTTER IGNORANCE INTO ONE MORE MEANINGLESS BOOK AND TOUR TO ENRICH HERSELF.
BUT AT LEAST, THEY WERE HOME. HOME FOR CHRISTMAS."