Opinion: Enough is enough

Tim Eggerding

Tim Eggerding

By Eric Naing

It’s that time of year when the leaves change colors and Vice President Dick Cheney comes out of his undisclosed location (if he sees his Halliburton profits, there’ll be six more weeks of bulls***). Yes, it’s election season once again. Candidates are lobbing charges back and forth, and the media are lapping it all up like mindless dogs. While I normally would revel in all this political fodder, there are a few things that annoy the hell out of me.

So as a service to the four people that actually read my column, I present a list of things I hate most about this election season:

n 99-cent patriotism – To all the journalists and politicians out there, both liberal and conservative, please stop it with the U.S. flag pins. I get it; you all love the United States. Now stop trying to convince me of this by brandishing a tacky piece of metal on your lapels.

Fashion is not going to win the war on terrorism, especially not tasteless and cheap fashion. You don’t see al-

Qaida agents wearing “I hate America” fanny packs or Tony Blair sporting his Union Jack sombrero (that one’s saved for special occasions only). Wearing a tacky pin is not patriotic. If anything, it shows how shallow the idea of patriotism in this country has become. Statesmen don’t wear U.S. flag pins – 80-year-old ladies named Gertrude do.

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    n 9/11 Changed EverythingTM – Stop using the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as an excuse for doing something stupid. President Bush and the Republicans are mainly the ones to blame for this offense. Skyrocketing deficits? 9/11 Changed EverythingTM. Lost civil liberties? 9/11 Changed EverythingTM. Wartime tax cuts for the rich? You guessed it, 9/11 Changed EverythingTM.

    Look, 9/11 was a terrible day and hopefully we all learned something from it, but you can’t use the worst attack on U.S. soil as a shield for incompetence. I can’t just kidnap Bob Saget, force him to re-enact episodes of Full House, get arrested, go to trial and get off by blaming it on 9/11 (believe me, I know). Sept. 11 was a tragedy, not an excuse, and it’s about time politicians took responsibility for their actions.

    n Saddam Hussein – Stop saying the world is better off with Saddam Hussein out of power. I know President Bush has to say this to justify his war, but Sen. Kerry, you know better. The Duelfer report reveals that containment and U.N. sanctions worked. Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction or a nuclear program. The former Iraqi leader might have been a madman, but he was a contained madman.

    If we had never invaded Iraq, where would the United States be today? We would still have our international dignity intact. We would have thousands more living coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians. We would have fewer looted weapons used against our troops. Most importantly, we would not be in a quagmire that is distracting us from the real war on terrorism.

    n The thumb-point – You know what I’m talking about. Instead of pointing with the index finger, politicians choose to make a fist and point with their index finger wrapped around their thumb. Popularized by President Clinton, this hand gesture has since been adopted by many politicians. Incidentally, Clinton perfected this technique while pulling down the shades in the Oval Office whenever Monica Lewinsky stopped by (sigh, don’t you miss the good old days when jokes about the president dealt with blow jobs instead of monumental incompetence leading to the deaths of more than 1,000 soldiers?).

    John Kerry also has unfortunately picked up the thumb-point, as seen in the presidential debates. Face it John, you’re no Bill Clinton. Maybe you should come up with your own hand gesture. I’d recommend you retract your middle finger, ring finger and your thumb, while leaving both your index and pinky fingers out. At least to me, nothing says “I’m a strong leader” like flashing the metal horns.

    Eric Naing is a junior in LAS. His column runs Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected].