Monday, November 27, 2006


You can't handle the truth

Two almost identical stories in the news these days about signs that people want taken down. In Colorado, a homeowner's association has demanded that a woman remove a "peace wreath" from her door, claiming (although the woman denies it) that it was a "divisive" anti-Iraq war "sign." And here in California, a display of hundreds of crosses on a privately-owned hillside has become controversial, thanks to a sign-ordinance violating sign reading "In memory of 28xx U.S. troops killed in Iraq." In this case the erectors of the crosses and the sign are antiwar activists, but, as with the "sign" in Colorado, the message is completely neutral; the only opposition to the war in Iraq contained in the signs is in the mind of the beholder.

Which is precisely why there is such a controversy. Supporters of the war simply can't handle the truth of what their support has wrought. 2800+ soldiers dead? Please, don't remind us. Out of sight, out of mind. In a similar, though not identical, way, to the other controversy circulating in today's news - the decision of some media (including the Los Angles Times and NBC News) to call what is happening in Iraq a "civil war." Of course it doesn't matter what name anyone wants to give to what is happening in Iraq, but the effort to give it some kind of "bad name" is today's version of yesterday's "no one is reporting the good news of all those 'rebuilt' schools" controversy.

In A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson famously says to Tom Cruise, ""You can't handle the truth." But at least Tom Cruise's character was asking for the truth. Here in the U.S., the truth is the last thing that supporters of the war are interested in.

How badly do they want avoid being reminded of the war they support? Just consider this aspect of the story from Colorado, remember, that's the one involving the almost completely innocuous peace wreath (emphasis added):

The subdivision's rules say no signs, billboards or advertising are permitted without the consent of the architectural control committee.

[Homeowners Association President] Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members.
That badly.

Why stop here? There's more...

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