Saturday, March 11, 2006

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden…

One of the biggest songs on AM radio in the early 1970’s was a Country/Western song called ‘Rose Garden’ by a singer named Lynn Anderson. The hook went: “I beg your pardon, but I never promised you a rose garden”.

As a little kid I had no idea what in the hell that song was about. I heard it every time my father and I were in the car together. The moment the song would come on he would instantly crank the volume up and laugh as he sang along with the hook. In a voice that sounded eerily similar to Sidney Poitier (at least to me he did) my dad – singing all of the wrong notes, would continue to sing that song until well after we got out of the car. The song, I surmised had some special meaning to him.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you – or the one you’re with, complains about your life together, the quickest response is usually to say “Hey, nobody’s perfect.” Or you say what Lynn Anderson said so poetically “I never promised you a rose garden.”

Nowadays it looks like President Bush wants to sing that song to us. And judging by the latest headlines he has a lot of singing to do: “IRAQ IS ON THE VERGE OF CIVIL WAR”. His response: “I beg your pardon...” The next headline: “IRAN THREATENS PAIN ON U.S.” His response: “I never promised you a rose garden.”

In all honesty I have something to admit to you, during the 2000 presidential election, to the consternation of my family, I was a rat’s hair close to voting for George Bush. I was fed up with the way the Democratic Party has taken the Black vote for granted. All a white Democrat has to do is throw on a dashiki and show up to the biggest Black church on a Sunday morning and clap as close to on beat as he can, and BAM: He gets the Black vote. I wasn’t havin’ it. No more, I said, a candidate must come with some concrete facts and a plan before he gets my vote. So, in that spirit I figured “hey, let’s hear what this Bush fella is talking about.”

Let’s put it this way, that Tuesday election in 2000 I didn’t cast my vote for Bush.

When he got into office I figured, ok, here’s there let’s see what he’s gonna do. Well, not too long after getting into office 9/11 jumped off. I was all for going to Afghanistan and kickin’ ass over there. But then he started mentioning Sadaam Hussein’s name one too many times. I was still heartbroken over the World Trade Center. I reasoned to myself that we should hear him out about going over there. I was scared of being attacked again – like everyone else. He insisted that they were very close to having a nuclear weapon. In some speeches he said they were two years away from acquiring a weapon of mass destruction. Which was a lie.

Bush mentioned our intelligence reports in his speeches, which, have now been confirmed to be totally and completely inaccurate. He said, “Based on our intelligence and other evidence.” He never said what that evidence was.

His reasons for going over there just didn’t sit right with me. The only valid point he made, as far as I was concerned, was that the Iraqis kept thwarting the inspection process. One of the conditions that the Iraqis agreed to when they surrendered back in 1991 was that they would allow open and free inspections. The inspections never really went right, there was always a delay. We imposed economic sanctions on them. They were suffering.
But they had nothing to do with terrorism.

When we finally got on the ground there after the whole ‘shock and awe’ thing we found no weapons of mass destruction. Nor did we find any terrorists. They’ve found their way there now, but they weren’t there before.

The war in Iraq, which many of us thought would be a rerun of the lightning-quick 1991 war, is turning out to be the worse conflict we have seen as a nation. This war may be worse than the one in Vietnam. Everyday that we spend over there is another day that we have pissed off more Arabs. This is a war that we cannot win.

What we don’t understand is that unlike us, when our nation was being born, there was a movement that led up to the Revolutionary War. There was a movement from within the country, people were pissed off and were organizing themselves to make change. That’s what separates us from them. We as a people wanted change. There was no movement on the ground in Iraq to overthrow Sadaam. There was no movement or rallying cry around Iraq for democracy. For us to say, ‘Here we have gotten rid of Sadaam for you, now go ahead and elect a government so we can leave. Your destiny is in your hands man, God love you.” Is total bullshit. That country has been around since the time of Noah’s Ark and they have known nothing but kings, emperors, rulers, shahs and whoever else can wear a crown. To expect them to have democracy after three years when they didn’t ask for it is wrong.

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