October, 2006, The Redbridge Review, www.redbridgereview.co.uk 

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                     Travis Charbeneau  3421 Hanover Ave., Richmond, VA 23221
                        travischarbeneau@gmail.com    Phone: 804 358 0417



                              New Hope Stirs in Dumpty Tragedy
                                     Travis Charbeneau
                                      slug "dumpty"
                                        702 words

PULL QUOTE: "All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't vote!"

In March, 2003 Humpty Dumpty fell off his wall and into Iraq. (Many suspect he was pushed). But the shattering case may not prove hopeless after all. November, 2006 holds our last chance of putting at least some of him back together again. It all depends on the true value of America's much-celebrated "traditional values."

Consider: You and your family are asleep after a quiet evening at home in the American heartland. Suddenly -- kaBLAM! A Pakistani predator drone, acting on solid (but wrong) intelligence about bad guys at your house, has put three bombs into the neighborhood.

Those knuckleheads, you shake your head and smile, sweeping up the remains of what might be your wife. It's gotta be tough being the world's only remaining Superpower, fighting all that evil.

As this very scene unfolded in Damadola, Pakistan last January 13, I'm guessing such forgiving thoughts didn't occur to any of the victims. In fact, reversing positions, with a strident Superpower Pakistan mistakenly blowing up American neighborhoods, Americans would be outraged. The very idea!

Of course, "the very idea" of reversing positions should be _the_ Traditional Value for such an avowedly Christian nation as the United States. The Golden Rule, the very essence of Christianity, is all about putting ourselves in the other guy's shoes. Unhappily, more than turning the other cheek or caring about the poor, this particular Christian value is proving especially troublesome for America.

To turn the other cheek, you have to be a fool, and your Mama didn't raise any. And caring about the poor requires empathy with actual losers! Though distinctly Christian, these traditional values can be easily ignored in favor of the important stuff, like preventing same-sex marriage. People around the world of differing religions and none at all are used to such common hypocrisy.

But, for such a noisily Christian American administration to flaunt The Golden Rule amounts to wildly _uncommon_ hypocrisy. It makes international television news. Watching "the most religious nation in the world" (all the polls say so) fail the fundamental tenet of its advertised religion blows what moral respect we've not already squandered. And only restored moral respect can save Humpty Dumpty now.

We've tried all the customary, respect-getting techniques, but -- not surprisingly -- bombs don't impress suicide bombers. Or sleeping families. Or their survivors -- who quickly become suicide bombers. With suitcase-sized nuclear bombs due any minute now, America needs renewed respect darned quick. Again, as it happens, our last chance arrives next month. But turning over Congress is only half the mission.

Grounds for the impeachment of Mr. Bush already wildly overwhelm the trivial sexual peccadillo that actually impeached his predecessor. We have a stunning smorgasbord of "high crimes and misdemeanors" from which to choose. And, with a new Democratic Congress, the current leadership could be out by early 2007! 

Think of the egg-restoring impact! A congressional changeover and speedy impeachment would be some indication, however belated, of restored American sanity. We could remind everyone that Mr. Bush wasn't even popularly elected in 2000, but installed by "activist judges," and that ... um, he fooled us again in 2004. We can claim "we were duped," and the world might even believe us. Simple admission of error -- so rare among nations anywhere -- would amount to true "shock and awe." 

Granted, "dupes" is a big fall from 9/11's stricken-but-heroic Superpower, but at this juncture, even a hint of sympathy would do us a literal world of good. 'Remember the post-9/11 worldwide support the Bush administration scorned in its hurry to get into Iraq? Those were the days.

Granted, again, actual removal from office is probably beyond reach. Opponents will object that even a well-deserved Presidential impeachment would be too stressful and messy. But compare the stress and mess in Baghdad now, or Washington after a nuclear attack. All we can reasonably be sure of is that, if Mr. Bush serves out his final term without _some_ formal repudiation from the electorate, history's judgment will be merciless. 

Once broken, stuff as diverse as moral respect and nursery rhyme eggs are indeed very hard to put back together again. OTOH: all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't vote!