The Rant 

The highlight of almost every weekday for me comes when I get off work. It's not because I'm finished working for the day, but because every day when I drive through the gate of the parking lot at work to leave, I see a little boy who tickles me to death (yeah, getting soft in my old age). His mother is there with him and his sister to pick up her other child from school. She is usually the first one parked there on the street and the little boy is usually playing on the sidewalk. And he always watches for me. And I always watch for him. When he sees me, his eyes open so wide and his smile gets so huge it looks like it could hurt his face. He looks like a very young Barack Obama (let's hope he looks as devastatingly cute as Obama in those college freshman photos wearing the Panama hat, when he gets to be that age). During this past Christmastime, he got some sticks and held them to his head and acted like he was a reindeer. He always makes my day, and I hope in some little way I brighten his a little bit.

Yes, there's a point to this. I have grown so tired of hearing about Hamas, Iranian nuclear threats, North Korean missile tests, Israeli tanks, bombs in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden, the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq, torture, secret prisons, crummy veterans' hospitals, African rape squads, racism here in the United States and elsewhere, homophobia, guns in bars, and every other kind of low-life, idiotic, usually male-generated, fear-based, power-hungry, egomaniacal CRAP that keeps people from realizing the fact that we are all on one little planet together in a great big universe that sometimes I'm not sure if it's not one big joke. How much land, oil, money, and control does it take to make some people happy? I guess you'd have to throw in that some people are just downright mean and evil and it's been that way since the beginning of time, but the majority of the people in the world are not. Why is it that the good, generous, open-minded, tolerant majority can't prevail and stop all this nonsense? I know that's about as sophomoric a question as it can be, but when you think about it, it really shouldn't be that difficult.

That's where my little buddy comes in. I would love to take him all over the world and show him off. Yep, I'd like to have him in a meeting with all of the war-mongers and racists and other haters and just ask them one thing: Do you want to see this little boy hurt or killed? Do you think this little boy deserves to live a safe, peaceful, happy life or not? Would you like to do something to this little boy so that he doesn't flash his huge smile all the time? Would you like to blow him up? Would you like to deny him any right that you would afford your own children?

To the banks who take taxpayer money for ridiculously lavish "retreats" and multimillion-dollar bonuses for the head honchos: Would you like to foreclose on this little boy's family's house so that he has no home? To the credit card companies that hike up interest rates in order to keep people in debt for the rest of their lives and make more money off of them: Would you like to put this little boy on your list of people to target with unrealistic credit card offers when he gets a little older and milk him of every single penny you can get out of him even if he pays his bill on time every month? To the idiots who painted racist slurs on the all-black Memphis church the other day and signed it "KKK": Would you like to beat this sweet little boy to a pulp and knock out his beautiful smile because he happens to have skin that is a color different from yours? Would you really like to harm this child? If he is old enough to read or understand the news, the sad fact is you already have.

Like I said, I'm getting soft in my old age. But think about it. That little boy is going to be a man before we know it, and if people in this world don't come to grips with the fact that everyone can't be rich and have control over other people all of the time for whatever weird, greedy, stupid reason, he's not going to have as much to smile about as he does now as an innocent kid. And that would be a shame.


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