I’m fed up with politics. I think I’ll get back to concentrating on fiction. There’s more truth to be found there.
I witnessed something a while back that should have been a wake up call for me. I went to Brandon Hadaway’s funeral. Brandon, a big, smiling, happy kid, grew up in Fairfax; I worked with his father and grandfather in the mill, until it closed. Brandon also worked in the mill part time in high school. He joined the Army when he graduated.
Like far too many other fine young Americans, Brandon was killed in Bush’s war. Brandon died for Dubya’s sins. Everyone who knew Brandon felt the pain of his death.
They buried Brandon at the old community cemetery between Fairfax and Riverview, across from the closed and shuttered Fairview Mill.
I was standing near the graveside during the funeral service, and I could see Brandon’s coffin and his father and grandfather seated before it. And beyond them, the closed mill across the road. It suddenly struck me that Brandon was expendable. He had made the ultimate sacrifice, but he would soon be forgotten, except for those few who loved him.
The people who caused his death didn’t give him a second thought. Indeed, they didn’t even want his coffin photographed when it was unloaded at Andrews Air Force Base. The grandfather spoke at Brandon’s funeral. He thanked the honor guard for bringing Brandon home, but he told them flatly that he hated their war, and thought it was foolish, and not worth sacrificing his grandson’s life or anyone else’s. His rage was controlled, but righteous and heartfelt — an old man hitting back the only way he knew how.
In the grand scheme of things, Mr. Hadaway’s comments were honest and understandable, but for naught. Nobody really cared about his opinion. At least, nobody with the power to stop young people being killed for nothing but a stupid politician’s monumental ego.
Likewise, Brandon’s father and grandfather were expendable. They followed the rules and the system had sent their jobs overseas and left them in the lurch, to fend for themselves. They were expendable, too. No one cared that their lives had been wrecked, their hopes and plans destroyed. They were all three, son, father and grandfather, refugees from the American Dream; stunned wanderers in a world they never made. And their government didn’t seem to care. No one did.
Brandon was in the coffin, but all three of them were casualties.
And so were most of the rest of those at that sad gathering of mostly mill hands expendable. I don’t think I was reading more into the situation than was actually there. Ever since that day, I get the same feeling when I read the paper, or see the news reports; Or, I drive by a silent mill. It looks like we are having a funeral for the country. Something seems to be lost forever. We seem to be eternally standing at a grave.
I’ve always thought there was nothing more pathetic than a morbid, cynical old person. But, since I’m in that category myself now, I honestly don’t see any reason not to feel that way. And plenty of reasons why I should.
But, I’ve always felt that people were about as happy as they made up their minds to be; and I’ve made up my mind to be happy in spite of what the world does. I’m thinking about starting a Kiss My Ass Party, the KMAP.
While I’ve always heard that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I’m not so sure that’s the best response. Maybe it would be better if you can’t beat ’em, to tell them to kiss your ass, which will be the guiding principle of the KMAP.
Ask yourself this: Wouldn’t you feel better if you could tell John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and now Barack Obama, and many other idiots, not only politicians, to kiss your ass? Sure you would.
Anybody wanna join? It will be a small, but select group. K-MAPs forever!
JL Strickland involuntarily retired when the cotton mill where four generations of his family worked closed and his job was sent to Pakistan, with the government’s blessing.
He is a freelance writer from Alabama.