America has spoken—I give up

Ripley M. Howe is a native Californian, musician and Sacramento City College student

I was surprised at my own reaction to the results of the last election. Previously, I had been a political junkie who watched C-SPAN and all the news networks and followed legislation, judicial appointments and Bush’s mindless march toward the oil fields of Iraq.

But now America’s voters have spoken and have given the Republicans control of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. And I realize that I just don’t care anymore.

I don’t have children or grandchildren who will die young because corporate polluters are now free to ruin our water and air. With no kids, I don’t have to worry that loved ones will be sent to war so that Bush’s oil-industry cronies can get control of Iraq’s oil reserves. Why should I care?

I don’t go to Yellowstone National Park, so why should I be bothered that snowmobiles will be tearing across that pristine wilderness and spewing oily smoke?

If middle-class Americans want to pay 100 percent of the taxes that provide for our nation’s defense and infrastructure, and have corporations and the wealthiest individuals pay nothing, what does it matter to me? With luck, I’ll be dead before they can bankrupt Social Security.

If the Republicans want to investigate Cheney’s energy task force and discover which oil company and Enron officials were present and whether Iraq’s oil fields or California’s energy vulnerability were discussed, I’m sure they will look into it. Why should I concern myself?

I am not a woman, so why should I care that Bush will quickly pack the Supreme Court with more of the likes of Scalia and Thomas, judges whose first order of business will be to overturn Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion? If I see a sign on a health-clinic wall saying, “All pregnant women shall remain pregnant by order of the state,” what difference is it to me?

Should I be worried that the 1960s peace demonstrations advocating civil rights or protesting the war in Vietnam could be considered “domestic terrorism” under the new Patriot Act? That an American citizen can be carted off to a secret prison and denied the right to counsel or due process? That an American citizen abroad can be blown to bits, executed by the CIA without a trial? Yes, perhaps I really should be concerned.

But America has spoken, and I give up.