While walking down a busy street in Philadelphia the other day after attending the Netroots Nation convention, I rounded a corner and there was Bernie Sanders—giving a speech to a crowd of protestors who were angry because their only accessible hospital was being torn down by a Los Angeles developer in order to make way for said developer’s upscale condominium project.
“Eight-hundred pregnant women are going to have no place to give birth,” said Bernie. And cancer patients who are in the middle of receiving their chemo treatments will be thrown out on the street, death swirling around their poor sweet hairless heads. Yikes!
I also went to a Netroots symposium put on by the LGBTQ community—wherein I learned just how nice, vulnerable, friendly and well-informed that Queers can be. They took me under their wings, opened my eyes, gave me a glimpse into how life in the Gay Lane can be—and even provided free lunch. Philly cheese steaks. Never had it before. Never want to have it again. Shredded beef slathered with Velveeta? No thank you. Even if it is free.
I was also lucky enough to hear Ilhan Omar speak to a small roomful of conference attendees and then take questions after. I, of course, just had to ask a question too. But which one? There are so many questions these days. Death in the Middle East, death in the gulags at our southern border, death in our homeless encampments, death by fire and flood due to climate emergencies…
I got up to the mic, cleared my throat and said, “700 billion dollars a year to the Pentagon. Seven billion people on Earth. Do the math. Let’s give each and every one of us a thousand dollars per year instead of wasting all that money on murder and bombs! Every single year. 1,000 dollars in our pockets. Then and only then will America be safe!” Who would want to harm the goose that is laying all these golden eggs for everyone?
But was that an actual question?
C’mon, Jane. Think of an actual question. Ilhan Omar herself is listening! But I was drawing a blank. Finally, I just blurted out, “The Syrian people love President Assad because he kept their country from becoming another Libya!” Now where did that come from? Then I turned to the room and cried “He-e-e-e-e-l-p!!” Help us, Netroots Nation. Help us, Rep. Omar. Help us, all you moral Americans and moral people of the world who are kind people and have good hearts. Help us from being destroyed by greedy billionaires, condo developers, racists and murderous war mongers who just love to create collateral damage.
But then at least I didn’t totally embarrass myself by screaming “Blue Meanies!”
After my impassioned plea, however, someone came up to me later and started ranting that Assad was a dictator who bombed a million of his own people. No, he didn’t. America, the Zionists and the Saudis did that—with a little help from their “rebel” friends in al Qaeda. “It’s well-documented,” I added. Boy, did that piss this person off. Wrong answer. I finally managed to escape to the restroom to lick my (psychological) wounds.
Later, in downtown Philly, I got to chatting with a young U.S. Marine. “I will be deploying to Syria in August,” he said. What? See? I was right! It is those pesky Americans who are causing trouble in Syria. I rest my case! But at least he doesn’t have to worry about being bombarded with Philly cheese steaks over there. They don’t have cheese steaks in Syria! Yet. But let’s just wait and see what else the Blue Meanies are gonna be up to after August.
Jane Stillwater is a freelance writer who hates injustice and corruption in any form but especially injustice and corruption paid for by American taxpayers. Her latest book is “Road Trip to Damascus.”