Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Column the Paper Doesn't Want You to See

Well, I finally hit the wall, it seems, with my hometown paper. I've been writing a weekly column for them since 1998, and they've been pretty tolerant. They passed this column up, however. They say they didn't print it because they were afraid of the "slings and arrows" the conservatives might send them.


Here it is, in all its glory:

It seems that, after I turned my column in last week, televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson decided to apologize for his remarks saying that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez needed to be killed. "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement," Robertson said. "I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

Of course, a couple of days before, Robertson had denied saying the very words he has now apologized for. "I didn't say 'assassination,” Robertson sputtered. “I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time."

Apparently, however, someone pointed out to Robertson that, since he made his pronouncement on TV, he was, you know, on videotape. And that videotape showed him actually using the word ‘assassinate.’ Thus, the apology. Nice to know that this man of God will actually confess to his wrongdoing, once he’s cornered like a rat in a trap.

Anyway, Pat’s apologized, so it’s over, right? I mean, folks are saying, hey, let’s move on, let it go.

Wow. If I’d only known it was that easy, I wouldn’t have been so restrained in these columns in the past. But now that I know better, I feel strangely liberated. I can now say things like:

Pat Robertson is a raving fascist nutjob who ought to be chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged to death.

Wait, I was misquoted out of context by the paper. I never used the words “fascist” or “death.”

Okay, I did use those words, but I apologize. I spoke in frustration that a nationally known Republican was calling for the assassination of another country’s President.

Boy, this is fun. Let’s try another one:

Donald Rumsfeld is a bloody-handed war criminal. His policies have led to the torture of people in American custody and have brought disgrace on our military. Rumsfeld ought to be hauled before an international tribunal, tried, and hanged at dawn.

Darn. Misquoted again. I never said Rumsfeld had blood on his hands. I didn’t say “war criminal” or “hanged.” I never accused Rummy of being responsible for torture.

Okay, I did us those exact words, but I apologize. It was wrong to say those things. I didn’t mean them. I was just frustrated. So let’s move on:

George Dubbya Bush is a congenitally dishonest, bungling hack who stole his first and probably his second election, lied about WMD’s to get us into the wrong war with the wrong enemy, then criminally mismanaged that war, resulting in the needless deaths of over 1800 Americans and God knows how many innocent Iraqi civilians, all of whom seem to have died so that we could have an Islamic Republic with close ties to Iran could be established, assuming the whole thing doesn’t tear itself apart in a bloody civil war that further destabilizes the Middle East. He’s easily the most incompetent President this country has ever had. He ought to be dragged out of the White House by his heels, tied to a tree and horsewhipped till he cries for his Mommy.

Doggone that newspaper! They can’t get it right, can they? I never said Bush lied or stole an election. I never called him incompetent or a hack and I certainly never advocated any kind of violence against him.

Well, okay, I did. I was wrong to say those things. I apologize. I didn’t really mean any of it. I was just frustrated with the way the war is going and the fact that the President and his supporters keep saying “stay the course,” when there doesn’t seem to be any course or any clear destination.

So, now that I’ve made my apologies, let’s move on, shall we? Anyone who writes a letter to the paper now, rebuking me for saying those things above is just dwelling on the past and being mean-spirited. We should all stop with the name-calling and hateful statements, even though we never actually did any name-calling or made hateful statements and if we did, we all apologize. Right?

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. At least that’s what he’s saying now.


lucylocket said...

Terrific column, but I'm not surprised that the gutless publishers declined to print it.
Did I say "gutless?" I apologize!

Bill said...

Great stuff, Dusty.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Terrific. I hope others pick up this column. I would if I had that kind of blog, but I don't. Make sure Ed G. sees it.

JD Rhoades said...

Ed who?

JD Rhoades said...

And thanks, all.

Ali said...

Great column, but I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the paper declined it. Bastards...