Thursday, August 25, 2005

An American Wants To Know: What Is "Our Way Of Life?"

I think Americans are getting very accustomed to hearing the worn-out talking points the Republican party throws out like so much chickenfeed. Mr. Bush, we get it: You're saying that Iraq is the "central front in the war on terror." Ken Mehlman, we hear you, too, when you say "cut and run" repeatedly as code for any philosophy against the prevailing quagmire strategy in Iraq.

But I'm totally confused by this constant carping about how the terrorists – or, excuse me, the "enemies of freedom" – want to destroy "our way of life."

There was President Bush, just yesterday in Idaho, giving a speech about terror and declaring that "in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world, we face dangerous enemies who want to harm our people, folks who want to destroy our way of life."

Dick Cheney has talked ad nauseam about how we are " a fight to preserve our freedom and our way of life." But what exactly is our way of life? And why does Osama bin Laden hate it so much?

Let's take me, for example. I like to golf and yet I don't recall any videos coming out of spooky-looking rooms in the Middle East in which hooded terrorists rail against "seven-iron-wielding Yankee jackals."

I've gotten a little chubby as I've moved toward middle age – it's certainly become part of my way of life – but I'm not sure Osama bin Laden is out to force-feed me Jenny Craig food and I've never heard him calling for the deaths of "American milkshake-swilling devils."

I like to see a movie now and then and maybe go out for dinner. But I have to be honest: I'm not sure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has it in for me and my family because we took in "Madagascar" -- though I understand he has issued a fatwa against Bruce Willis.

So what else could it be? I try to be a good husband and father. I go to work every day. But I've never seen news footage of swarthy men firing rifles into the air and chanting hatefully about our despicable work ethic or our repulsive devotion to family.

I drive a Toyota Prius so that could be it. Maybe they hold a grudge against hybrid-driving infidels. It certainly makes sense that they would favor the crippling dependency on foreign oil that most Americans are so committed to maintaining.

The booze! It's got to be the beer. I know Muslims aren't real crazy about alcohol consumption, so maybe my beer drinking while golfing or at barbecues is why they hate my freedom so much.

But I don't think that's it, either.

See, I've always thought that the American way of life had a lot to do with civil liberties, separation of church and state, freedom of speech – that kind of stuff. But under the Bush administration, all of those things have been steadily eroding.

Even though dissent has always been an important part of our most basic rights, disagreeing with any U.S. government policy now puts you on a one-way train to Smearsville. These days, if Americans exercise their freedoms in a way that differs from Bush administration policy, they risk being regarded as un-American or unpatriotic.

But I would think the clear decline in our true Americans values over the last five years would make the enemies of our country happy.

As you can see, I'm totally confused about why the terrorists don't like me and my way of life. So I guess I'll toss this out to any conservatives and Iraq-war fans who happen to stop by the Yellow Dog Blog. What is "our way of life" that the terrorists hate so much?

Send your ideas to and please be as specific as you can. I'll let you all know later what I'm missing.

Wait! It's my khaki Dockers, isn't it?