Basically, I'm a happy guy. I love to laugh. I'm married to beautiful, thoughtful, supportive wife. I'm living my childhood dream.
I'm a doctor. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail that touched a nerve. It was about happiness. The first paragraph reported that polls show that vast majority of Americans are unhappy with the direction of our country and our President's leadership.
The e-mail went on to berate Americans for being unhappy. We have a great economy, it said. We have jobs and a roof over our heads. It went on and on then ended with the question - what is there to be unhappy about? I thought about this e-mail for a little while then I wrote the following - Our unhappiness is clear.
We should be unhappy. When we are lied to by you're your parents you're unhappy. When people you trusted, people you poured your heart, soul and dreams into turn out to be con-men, you're unhappy. Vice President Cheney stated, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors -- confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.
" None of this was true. When a Black man who is running for president of the United States in the 2007 is called a "Halfican" by several leading right wing commentators and there is no action taken against them, I'm unhappy. When those same commentators play a song called, "Puff the Magic Negro" sung in Al Sharpton's voice and it's about Barack Obama and these commentators are still on the air, I'm unhappy. When politicians stand up and say that we need to end this war like John Warner (Republican Senator from Virginia) and then vote against timetables, troop withdrawal and giving troops some time away from the front, yep, I'm unhappy. When the average family has 2 incomes and still can't make ends meet, I'm unhappy. The average income for the top 20 Hedge Fund managers was $654 million last year.
Average! WE have a system in place where if you are born rich you can't lose. If you are born poor, good luck! Remember Mark Foley United States Representative from Florida? Remember the e-mails he sent to teenage pages? Initially the Republican House leaders and now the Democratic House leaders have refused to turn over documents to investigators based on a separation of powers argument. Because of this, the statute of limitations is about to run out on Mark Foley. He probably will not be charged with anything. Somebody should turn over something to Florida prosecutors because it is the right thing to do. Yes, I'm unhappy.
Back in January President Bush said, "To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution." None of this has happened.
There has been no oil sharing revenue law. The Iraqi government isn't close to being able to take over its security responsibility. Promises were made. None of the promises were kept but yet we were supposed to believe that the surge is working. A major Sunni sheik, that met with the president when he came to Iraq earlier, was blown up near his house but yet we're supposed to believe Anbar province is a model of security and tranquility.
General Petraeus used the exact phrases that White House officials including President Bush used to describe the success of the surge. His data did not agree with anybody else's including the GAO report, General Jones's report or the national intelligence estimate. When you look at his methodology, it was clearly flawed.
No major network has said that the General Petraeus report was seriously inaccurate. I'm unhappy and anyone who watched any of those hearings should be unhappy also. When six teens in Jena, Louisiana got arrested on second degree attempted murder charges and conspiracy charges I became more than unhappy. I was depressed.
When three nooses got hung in a tree and the principal suspended the students at this school but superintendent overturned the suspension, I started taking Prozac. When black students staged a protest by standing under the tree and the town's district attorney told them that he could end their lives with the stroke of a pen, I increased my dose of Prozac. When a white man at a gas station pulled a shotgun and several black teenagers took the shotgun away from the man, the black teenagers were charged with stealing a firearm and no charges were filed against the man who originally pulled the shotgun. By this time, I'm thinking the Zoloft (another antidepressant) may be a better drug for me. Several white students beat up a black student.
No charges were filed. Two to three days later one of the white students that was involved in the beating began to hurl racial epithets at the Black student who was beaten up. The student and several of his friends beat up the white student. The six black teenagers were charged with second-degree attempted murder.
Yes the beat up white student went to the ER but was treated and released and even went to a party later on that night. This is not justice in a country that was founded on the rule of law. I just want fair treatment. If you are going to charge the blacks with attempted murder then give the whites the same charge. If you are going to let the whites off because "kids will be kids" then let the blacks off with the same reasoning.
The problem here is not the students but the adults who allowed this situation to go out of hand and become so racial charged. Inequality, lies and racial bias can make even the happiest person sad. The greatest thing about America is the promise in our constitution that we can and will do better.
Now, that makes me happy.
Errington C. Thompson, MD, is a surgeon, scholar, fulltime sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats. Through this book, he hopes to share his thoughts and reflections on the current political landscape. For more such articles, blogs, expert views about politics and current affairs, please visit: www.whereistheoutrage.net