"Ya got me there.
Guess we cain't always escape the real world.
No matter how much we wanna.
No matter how hard we try."
"Tell ya one thing...
We sure were lucky we didn' end up in Vietnam."
"You can say tha' again.
Ya know... Bill's older brother, Pete... he were in Vietnam.
'N he's really been relivin' some shit lately
on account a Iraq 'n all..."
"Knew he were in Vietnam.
Didn' know tha' though."
"Yeah. Bill told me last spring.
He's havin' a real hard time watchin' wha's going on now.
'Specially when folks try 'n use it ta justify wha' they're doin' now.
He gets awful depressed 'bout the whole mess...
'n 'bout jus' how quick we seem ta
be able ta ferget..."
"'N Pete weren't drafted...
He were one a them tha' joined up...
All gung ho... Gonna go 'n save the world from communism.
Then he found out there weren't nothin' ta be gung ho over.
Weren't any kinda war tha' could be won...
Took him a awful long time ta put
his life back ta gether."
"Must be a lot harder ta face the truth
when you were a true believer ta begin with..."
Ya know tha' fella I were talkin' to a few nights ago...?
The night you turned in early...?"
"Cain't say as I can keep up with
all yer gentlemen callers..."
"Thought I told ya 'bout him...?"
"Don' think so...
but I'll stop ya if'n I've heard it 'fore."
Anyways... this fella...
he got sent back from Iraq a while ago
on accounta he were wounded by one a them IEDs...
Said he were lucky ta get hit in the shoulder...
lotta guys get hit in the neck
'n in the head."
'N he were in one a them vehicles
tha' only had wha' he called 'farmer armor'... Had ta armor it themselves...
with scrap metal 'n stuff they jus' scrounged... "
'N tha' hospital he got sent to...
Said it were as bad as we've heard. Worse maybe.
He said it's kinda a runnin' bad joke fer all them soldiers...
'Til they end up laid up in one a 'em a course...
He felt lucky ta get outta there alive."
"Treat them guys like dirt, don' they?"
"Yeah... they sure do.
'N he's had a real hard time a it.
He were one a them real gung-ho types too...
'N ya can tell tha' he still wants ta be...
He jus' don wanna believe it were
lies tha' started it all.
"Guess tha' would be a hard pill
"Now he's out here campin'...
tryin' ta get 'way from his family fer a while.
Jus' tryin' ta sort everythin' out... make some sense a it.
One a his real close buddies were killed.
'N he's still purty torn up 'bout it..."
... Tha's rough..."
"Then his wife left him... 'n now he cain't find no job...
Think he's feelin' awful lost..."
"How the hell did you find all tha' out
over a couple a beers?"
"Guess he jus' needed someone ta talk to.
Someone who'd jus listen ta him
withou' 'xpectin him ta
play the hero."
"Hey... I can listen... sometimes.
'N sometimes I think it's easier ta talk ta someone...
easier ta open up ta someone 'n all...
if'n they're a stranger to ya."
"Guess yer righ' 'bout tha'."
"He said a lotta soldiers...
a lotta his friends... ain't doin' so good...
They're jus' plain wore out... beyond exhausted.
But worst a all... They mostly joined up believin' in somethin'...
'N he said some of 'em still do... but a lot of 'em he knows...
they ain't at all sure wha' they're doin' there anymore.
Ain't sure who they're s'posed ta be fightin'.
Ain't sure wha' it is they're s'posed
ta be dyin' fer."
"Same old story... Jus' diff'rent ones dyin'...
Kinda makes ya wonder how they can get anyone
ta enlist anymore..." "Think it's gettin' a lot harder fer 'em. But...
A lotta folks believe patriotism means supportin' any war
we're fightin'... 'n whether it's right or wrong
don' matter none..."
"Ya really think them are
the ones enlistin'?"
'N a whole lotta young folks
still see it as a way outta where they are.
Them recruiters dangle big ol' enlistment bonuses in front a them
'n make 'em a whole lot promises they don' hafta keep.
End up thinkin' it's gonna be a real excitin' life.
Think they're gonna get ta travel
'n see the world."
'N they do a whole lotta recruitin' in
all them high schools too..."
"Yep... 'S one part a tha' 'No Child Left Behind' law...
If'n a school gets any money from the federal gover'ment
they gotta allow them military recruiters in
same as they would college 'n
Tha' way they can
get their hands on 'em
righ' when they turn eighteen."
"Think them kids'd be better off if'n maybe
they did leave 'em behind."
'N they jus' keep usin'
'n abusin' tha' there National Guard...
'n everybody else... Keep uppin' how long they gotta stay
by misusin' tha' 'stop loss' clause in their contracts...
Or they offer 'em re-enlistment bonuses while
oh-so-politely remindin' 'em tha' they
won' find no jobs when they
get back home."
"Yeah... They know damn well the key
ta keepin' a lotta folks uninterested in this here war
is by not startin' up no draft."
"'N draft or no draft... I think...
if'n yer a politician 'n ya go startin' a war...
or f'n ya cast yer vote fer war... you should hafta send
a few a yer own family members overseas...
'N not ta none a them behind-a-desk
bullshit jobs neither."
"Be a real good way ta find out if'n
they're true believers
Bet them chickenhawks
wouldn' be so quick ta sacrifice
their own kinfolk."
"Not like it'd ever happen though..."
"Tell ya Ed...
Things have got me awful down too.
'N awful angry."
"I know, Hank. I live with ya... remember?
'N 'm real angry 'bout it all too."
"This country ain't never been perfect... Far from it...
But it sure as hell ain't s'posed ta be 'bout torture 'n secret prisons...
'n us havin' ta watch them bastards shred our Constitution...
Buncha fear-mongerin' sons a bitches."
"They know damn well tha' fear's a real good way
ta get folks ta do wha' they wan' 'em ta do."
"Yeah. Fear-mongerin' 'n flag wavin'."
"'N don' ferget bald-faced lyin' 'n bumper stickerin'."
"Seems like all them things been workin' real good fer 'em so far...
so's I doubt they'll be givin' any of 'em up
"Worry it migh' get a whole lot worse
'fore it gets any better."
"Me too, Ed...
Seems like a whole lotta folks
jus' cain't see the fascism fer all the flags wavin'.
They go on 'n on 'bout how we're fightin' fer our freedom over there...
'n meanwhile they're flushin' it 'way over here... outta fear.
Don' make no kinda sense.
No part a it."
"Tell ya... I hate ta think wha' folks in this country'll do if...
make tha' when... we're attacked again.
'S bound ta happen someday..."
"Tha' scares me too. 'N I know...
We gotta do our best ta keep this country safe...
But if'n we keep givin' up our rights 'cause we think it'll make us safer
Don' tha' mean the terrorists managed ta do
wha' them folks say they wanna do...
Take 'way our freedom?"
"Think them politicians mean tha'
we're jus' s'posed ta give up our freedom temporary-like.
'n then the goverment's gonna give it back ta us...
all spit-shined up 'n good as new...
as soon as tha' there
"So's we get all our freedom back...
ev'ry single bit a it... once we get outta Iraq...
tha's the deal, huh?"
"'S justa li'l more
complicated than tha'... Ya see...
technically... we ain't gonna be 100% safe
'til we're done fightin' tha' there 'War on Terror'...
'N we been so busy in Iraq 'n all tha'
we ain't even started fightin'
tha' war yet."
"'N 'bout how long do they figure it'll take
ta win tha' there 'War on Terror' 'n make us 100% safe?"
"Don' know fer sure...
But we shouldn' be talkin' 'bout
no more 'n five or six..."
"Years...? Five or six years?
Tha' don' seem too bad."
"Maybe a l'il longer than tha'..."
"Five or six decades...
Tha' don' sound so good..."
"Maybe jus' slightly longer 'n tha'...
But them centuries fly by a lot quicker than ya migh' think.
'N once we get the whole world under control...
'N once we free all them other
"Then they promise ta give it back?
Ev'ry bit of our freedom tha' they done took away...?"
"Yep. Cross their hearts 'n hope ta die...
Well... not them specific'lly...
"Ya sure they got hearts?"
"Uh... I don' recall."
"'N by then we'll be 100% safe?
"Guaranteed. But not 'til then.
Up 'til then they cain't guarantee nothin'...
Ya gotta read the fine print."
"But... ya sure we're gonna win 'n all?"
"'Course we are.
We got God on our side."
"Thought they had God on their side?"
"'S an entirely diff'rent God.
But our God is much better than their God."
"Then maybe we should jus' let them Gods duke it out.
They can let us know who won
'n that'll be tha'... "
"Don' work tha' way."
"I dunno... Them Gods work in mysterious ways."
"They do, huh?"
"Yep. Gen'rally involves a lotta pain 'n sufferin' 'n folks dyin'
'n nobody really knows why."
"Sounds like them Gods take after
"Know yer tryin' ta kid me outta this mood 'n all, Ed...
But I jus' cain' help thinkin' 'bout Iraq 'n all them folks bein' wounded 'n killed...
More civilians than we'll ever know... 'N all them soldiers...
So many folks still sufferin' 'n dyin'...
...Know damn well it didn' have nothin' ta do with 9-11 or WMDs.
'N it's real hard ta believe they give a crap 'bout buildin' a democracy
over there when they're workin' so hard on tearin' it down here.
'Sides... It ain't 'our place ta go 'round invadin'
other countries 'n startin' other folks'
revolutions withou' 'em."
"Think tha' 'spreadin' democracy bullshit
was jus' their last ditch effort ta try 'n justify tha' there war
when all their other 'xcuses were
shot down as lies."
"Yep. Purty smart of 'em though...
Tha' way if'n yer 'gainst this war yer 'gainst democracy
'n all fer supportin' a evil dictator 'n terrorists."
"'Course... ya gotta admit...
we did liberate the hell outta them Iraqis...
Brought 'em a whole heap a death 'n destruction 'n despair...
but we sure as hell got rid a Saddam fer 'em alrigh'...
then we put out the welcome mat fer al Qaeda...
'n kicked off a big ol' civil war..."
"Yep. Now they're liberatin' the hell outta each other.
'N our soldiers too whenever they
get the chance."
"But... maybe things'll get better, Hank...
Lotta folks are sayin' tha' there
troop surge is workin'..."
Who wouldn' wanna believe tha'?
Tha' we could win and Iraq could live happily ever after.
Tha' we could really put an end ta this awful thing we started.
But wha' the hell happens when we stop surgin'?
How the hell do you win an occupation?
How the hell do you win sombody
else's religious civil war?"
"Damned if I know..."
"Damned if I know either... But...
Wha' the hell was it all fer... ? Fer oil...? Fer Halliburton...?
Or jus' 'cause they could... Play at war so's they'd feel like big men?
Or so's a insecure son could try 'n show up his daddy?
Or maybe they're religious nuts 'n they wanted
ta start a holy war 'n bring 'bout
the second comin'
"Think if'n Jesus is smart he'll go ta some other planet.
Reappear ta more deservin' folks."
"Cain't decide which a them reasons
would be the most horrifyin'..."
"'S horrifyin' all righ... But...
'm 'fraid it were mostly 'bout oil and Halliburton.
After tha' Gulf War some a them jus' been waitin' ta go back.
Guess they musta thought Iraq would be real easy-like ta invade...
'N after 9-11 they got their big chance... tailor-made fer 'em as a matter a fact.
Knew damn well it didn' really matter ta folks if'n Iraq had nothin' ta do with 9-11...
seein' as how folks 'cross this country were cravin' any kinda revenge.
'N then they'd all get ta plunder 'n rebuild tha' country...
'n make their friends a whole
heap a money."
"Usually 's jus' me rantin' 'n ravin' 'n carryin' on...
You been thinkin' on this some, Ed?"
"Yeah.. Guess I have...
It bothers me... bothers me a whole lot...
how easy it were fer them politicians ta get 'way with all this...
'S like all's they gotta do is say 'boo' 'n lotta folks
jus' roll over 'n show 'em
"But... wouldn' ya think...
anyone with half a brain woulda seen this comin'?
After all, tha's the whole reason Bush' daddy gave fer pullin'
them troops outta Iraq withou' headin' inta
Baghdad ta liberate them Iraqis
durin' tha' Gulf War."
"Hell... I dunno, Hank...
Maybe they were actually dumb 'nough
ta believe this time folks'd jus' throw down their weapons 'n cheer...
'n then declare Bush King of the World or somethin' like tha'
'fore they kissed his feet 'n handed over all tha' oil.
They sure as hell didn' seem ta have
no plan beyond tha'."
"Still... wha' with everythin' else
they've done... 'n gotten 'way with... 's hard ta believe
they coulda really been tha' dumb
Maybe they weren't...
Maybe they really jus' didn' give a shit.
If'n ya think 'bout it... no matter how it woulda played out...
whole lotta folks still stood ta make
truckloads a money."
"Sometimes I wonder...
them folks tha' still support this gover'ment...
xactly wha' would it take fer them
ta stop believin' their lies?"
"Wouldn' hold yer breath, Hank.
Think most of 'em believe in them politicians
same way they believe in their religions... 'S all 'bout faith...
'N when it's all 'bout faith you can make up yer own truth
'n yer own righ' 'n wrong as ya go along.
'S powerful stuff."
"Guess yer righ...
If'n ya got faith ya don' really
gotta worry 'bout no potentially disturbin' facts.
'N you can believe it absolves ya a any responsibility fer wha's goin' on.
Kinda like tha' Mormon motto or whatever they wanna call it,
'When our leaders speak, the thinkin' has been done.'
Bet life's a heckuva lot easier when folks
don't go 'round thinkin' 'bout stuff...
'Specially fer them
"Tell ya one thing, Hank...
My life would sure be a heckuva lot easier
if'n you never thought 'bout stuff."
"Yep. Sure do... But... Least-wise...
the majority a folks seem ta be fin'lly wakin' up here
'n tha's a real good thing."
"Yeah... l'il late...
'N it ain't done no good so's far...
After this country fin'lly starts ta grow a pair
'n votes them Republicans outta power in Congress...
'xpectin' them Democrats ta start rightin' some a them wrongs...
Start holdin' Bush 'n Cheney accountable fer everythin'...
start restorin' our rights... 'n findin' some way
ta bring all them troops home...
"Worse than nothin'.
Not only do they not do wha' they should be doin'...
Fourteen of 'em cave in 'n give this gover'ment even more spyin' power
based on more lies they've been told."
Tha' were a real low point...
'Specially after them sayin' they weren't gonna impeach
them bastards 'cause it wouldn' help the
country heal or some kinda
crap like tha."
"Tell ya... the only way
this country's ever gonna start ta heal
is ta see them sons a bitches tried 'n convicted
'n locked 'way fer a good long time."
"Wouldn' hold yer breath
on tha' neither."
"Yeah. Think yer righ'...
Ain't heard a peep 'bout no blowjobs...
'N tha' seems ta be the only impeachable offense
in this here country these days."
a whole lotta folks out there
'tha' would do prit near anythin' ta impeach 'em...
But... I cain't really sees anyone
bein' patriotic 'nough
ta try tha'."
"Doin' it again... ain't ya?
Tryin' ta make me laugh...?"
"Yep. Workin' yet?
Coulda sworn I saw the ghost
of a grin there..."
"Nope. 'N now...
Now we gotta watch them damn Democrats...
twiddlin' their dumbass thumbs fer more 'n a year yet...
Makin' 'xcuses 'bout why they ain't doin' wha' they should be doin'.
Jus'waitin' it out 'til the next election..."
"Makes ya think...
Tha' they jus' migh' wanna taste a some
a tha' there power fer themselves.
Maybe spy on a few folks
a their choosin'."
"Yeah... 'N they seem ta be 'xpectin'
them Republicans ta roll over real easy-like
'n jus' hand 'em the keys
ta the castle."
"Like tha's gonna happen'."
"'Bout all this country's
got left now is the illusion a democracy.
Beginin' ta think we should put it outta it's misery...
We could put it in a coffin, drape a big ol' flag 'cross it 'n bury it.
Maybe folks a lot wiser 'n us can dig it up again someday...
dust it off 'n start all over again."
Gotta least-wise give it ta the next 'lection...
'n some beyond tha' even...
fore ya give up."
'N 'm really tryin'. It's jus' so frustratin'...
I been writin' 'n phonin' 'n sendin' money ta them groups fightin' all this...
'N votin' a course. But our votes don' never count...
'cause a the damn state we live in.
'M real sick 'n tired a it"
"Some a it must make a diff'rence, Hank..."
"Jus' gets ta a fella after a while...
Most folks in this country don' want wha's happenin'...
but it jus' don' seem ta matter none."
"Hey... maybe you should run fer president, Hank?
Migh' take yer mind offa things."
"Ya know damn well
hardly no one in this here country would vote
fer a gay president. 'N anyways... the last thing on this earth
I'd wanna hafta do is ta start tryin' ta sort out the mess these folks
have made a everythin'. 'Sides... ya also know damn well
tha' ya gotta be a bazillionaire ta run
"Well... 'm real disappointed...
I were really lookin' forward ta bein' yer first lady."
"Yeah? Well I think ya woulda made
a damn fine first lady."
"Bet yer ass, I woulda.
I coulda got me one a them gowns...
maybe borrowed tha' one from tha' Jake fella... ya know...
the one he wore on tha' 'Saturday Night Live' show...
'N I coulda worn it ta tha' 'naugural ball...
Wouldna wanted ta wear no
"I dunno 'bout tha'...
Think the wig were kinda essential
ta the whole outfit."
"Hey... almos' made ya laugh...
Sure as hell made ya grin anyways. Ya wan' me ta keep goin'...?
Maybe work on gettin' a full-fledged
laugh outta ya?"
"Okay. Maybe later it is then."
'N I do think ya woulda looked real nice
in tha' there dress."
"Damn right I woulda."
"Mighta preferred ya in somethin'
tha' showed a l'il leg though. Ya got real nice legs."
"Damn right I do."
"What're ya doin', Ed?"
"Jus' tryin' ta add a more upbeat endin'
ta wha' ya wrote."
"I jus' leave fer a minute ta take a piss 'n the next thing ya know
'm bein' censored. Yer as bad as
the damn gover'ment."
"Yeah... but when I screw ya,
least-wise ya enjoy it."
"Jus' thought maybe ya should use this picture at the end
the one tha' seems a l'il more...
hopeful... I guess."
"So's ya think I should have some faith, huh?"
"Not faith... hope.
Don' gotta believe in none a them Gods
ta have some kinda hope tha' folks'll still be able ta
change the world fer the better. In fact... prob'bly be a whole
lot better if'n the world could keep them Gods
outta things fer a while."
"Don' got much hope neither, Ed."
"Maybe justa l'il?"
"Okay... maybe justa l'il.
Only on accounta you wan' me to though...
Still wish we could go ta tha' big ol' protest 'n Washington, D.C.
on the 15th a next month... Migh' help some bein' 'round
a lotta other folks tha' feel the same way."
"Ya know we cain't, Hank... We already talked 'bout it...
Wha' with Bill's nephews goin' back ta school...
Ain't no way we can be travelin' then."
"I know, I know..."
"Hey... How do I move this here picture?"
"Ya click on it like this 'n then ya hold down the control key 'n hit 'X'.
Then ya click where ya wan' it ta be...
'n ya hold down the control key again 'n hit 'V'.
"Tha' seems kinda stupid... Now how do I make a word...
don' know the word fer it...
"Which word ya wan' slanted-like?"
"This one... 'we'."
"Ya highlight it like this...
'n then ya click on this I up here."
should I add them dots ya always add...
so's it'll look like you wrote it...?"
"Go right ahead..."
"Why d'ya use them dots so much anyways?
'S kinda annoyin'..."
Jus' how we seem ta talk...
Lotta times it jus' don' look righ' ta me with a period at the end.
Use 'em instead a commas a lot too.
Never liked commas."
"Wha'd a comma ever do ta you?"
"'S a long story."
you can change tha' back... what I did...
if'n ya wanna, Hank..."
"Nah... I'll jus' move the picture I were gonna use ta the top.
'N I'll leave the one you like at the end there...
The one with some a tha' there hope."
"Think there is, Hank."
"Sure hope so, Ed..."
And I wonder... Still I wonder...
If maybe we can stop the rain...
"ButI wouldn' go makin' any
serious bets on it."
"Cut it out, Hank."
"'N who's this 'we' yer referrin' to...?"
"I dunno... I guess...
you 'n me 'n everybody else who wants
ta put a stop ta all this."
"Don' recall you writin' no letters
or makin' no phone calls."
but I were with ya in spirit.
'N I voted."
"'S gonna take more 'n tha'."
"Guess yer righ'.
Okay... Where do I sign up?"
"Righ' here, dumbass..."
"Okay... 'fore I do though...
I jus' got a few more questions..."
"Ain't ya gonna offer me
one a them there enlistment bonuses?
Sure would like ta have tha' big ol' bonus a yers
dangled in front of me."
"Ya need a napkin, Hank...?
"Sounds like a real good incentive fer joinin' up 'n all...
'Course only want wha' 'm entitled to."
"Think yer entitled ta ev'rythin' I got."
"Do you think I should take tha' bonus all at once...
or in smaller increments?"
"Both ways have their benefits.
Be happy ta give it to ya whichever way ya prefer.
'S really up ta you."
"'N ya promise me... after I join up with ya 'n all...
it's gonna be real excitin'...?"
"Yep. Guarantee it."
"Yep. Maybe more..."
"So's... how 'bout we ferget 'bout savin' the country...
jus' fer a l'il while anyways... 'n head back ta the tent 'n see 'bout
comin' up with some real creative ways
ta use tha' big ol' bonus."
sounds like a plan."
and the next day...
"Whaddya think, Ed...?
Think I should provide rebuttal time fer
them war-mongerin', fear-mongerin', flag-wavin',
freedom-stealin', bald-faced lyin', bumper-stickerin'
sons a bitches?"
"Up ta you, Hank."
"Guess I'd better... 'S only fair...
'N ya know they're all 'bout fairness..."
"'N don' ferget compassion..."
"Beginnin' ta think maybe there migh' be somethin' serious-like
wrong with them Republican-issue
"Me too, Ed."
The rebuttal is here,
provided by our current first lady:
(Give it a minute 'til the