If at first you don't succeed...
 or "Begin again at your beginnings"
        by Julie Hiatt Steele

Installment One: The Next Chapter of our post-Starr Lives

November brought ghastly memories of OIC torture, news of the final assault (report),
and 163 pages of horror rushed through Congress and passed into law. The Patriot Act
is the most outrageous piece of legislation I have ever seen.  The good news, I suppose,
is that it legalizes much of what was already happening. The bad news is that it legalizes
much of what was already happening.

I am left breathless, enraged, and grieving.  I also realize that it did
not just happen, nor did it happen in a vacuum. Partisan politics and an
out-of-control OIC led to a failed coup that was about more than hatred of
the last elected American president. It was about power.

Their failure to remove our President from office, no doubt preferably in
orange jumpsuit and shackles, may have sent Starr packing but it did not
end their plans to seize power.  As Starr went about rewriting history and
giving speeches about his "winning" record, his allies continued wreaking
havoc and waiting for the next opportunity.

It came with election 2000 and the appointment of George W. Bush as
President by the Supreme Court.  And, as usual, they kept us as distracted as
possible. By the time they got to allegations that the Clintons had torn up the
Oval Office, ripped Air Force One apart for souvenirs, stolen silver, and
pardoned the unpardonable, I could only laugh at the desperation these tales
demonstrated.  It seemed to me that any Democrat who would entertain this
fiction as fact must be as ignorant as I had been when I believed I would have
my day in court.

I thought Court was about truth and found instead that the judicial system
had been replaced by a political process where the end was meant to justify
the means.  Lies replaced truth. Winning was all the Government cared about.

And they did not go through all of that with no plan for the future.
They lost my case and it cost them the opportunity to overthrow
the previous two elections, but it did not cost them the next election.

And the Patriot Act didn't just pop up. It was carefully timed.

It was timed to be a "knee jerk" reaction to the horror that was 9/11.
It was also presented at a time when the media reminded us daily that we
had never been such a cohesive and patriotic group.  Flags were flying,
tacked to everything from cars to clothing, while red, white and blue wreaths
were beginning to appear for Christmas.

In an atmosphere where patriotism and Bush were at all time highs in the
ratings game, to challenge an unread bill must have seemed unpatriotic if not
grounds for treason by some who allowed it to be rushed into law.  Congress
acted in haste, we will all repent at our leisure for a long time to come.

And, the rush was what?

The only justification for rushing was to get it passed.  If Congress had
been given, or DEMANDED, time to read the Patriot Act, we would not be
having this discussion today. It was a "knee jerk" reaction in a time of
crisis, the kind of reaction we have probably all had at one time or another.
The difference is that as ordinary citizens, our over-reactions generally
do not impact the entire country or future generations.

I can still recall a phone call that I received from the cemetery in the
first days following my child's death and funeral.  Hollywood Cemetery
wanted to let me know that if I acted quickly, I could purchase enough
adjacent burial plots so that the entire family (including extended and
future family, no doubt) could be buried with Ben. They were even
willing to "hold" the section while I tallied our needs.

Now, I remind you, my background is sales, sales management and marketing.
I know better. But I am also a mother, and that is what they were counting on.
I was not only a mother, I was a grieving mother who had just buried her child.
I couldn't get going on calls to my family fast enough.
Money, in those days, was no problem.  I was more than happy to pay.
I just needed a "body" count.

Lynn was my first call and she had no interest in making burial plans.
Worse, she wasn't certain she wanted Hollywood Cemetery anyway.  Liza
said she thought I was being reactionary and premature.  Neither daughter
thought this was the appropriate time to make burial decisions.  I was
livid, furious and hurt.  I was convinced they were ungrateful,
uncaring and spoiled.

On that cheerful note, I called the nice cemetery lady and bought one more
burial plot, mine.  The fact is that I was the one who was out of control and on
my way to being taken advantage of.   The girls were one step removed and
right in their assessment of the situation.  For that matter, I didn't need another
burial plot, we have a family mausoleum in Kentucky and there is room there.
I simply chose not to take Ben to Kentucky because I wasn't well enough
to travel and because I wanted him nearby.

I am just lucky that I don't have a fortune tied up in burial plots and that I was
saved from myself and my own "knee jerk," emotional reaction to a personal
tragedy. I am just fine with owning the adjacent burial plot today, and I am
also fine with not owning the whole hill. The impact was minimal and at its
worst could not have impacted individuals outside my family.

Well, maybe one individual. That "nice lady" didn't quite score the
commission she undoubtedly had in mind.

The point is that as individuals we can be less forward thinking and can
afford to allow emotions to dictate our responses once in a while.

The same can't be said of our elected representatives.  Congress is  paid
to think clearly about matters that involve all of us, to READ legislation
put before them.  "When in doubt, do nothing" works pretty well.

As you may have imagined, I have LOTS more to say on the subject of the
Patriot Act.  I will come back to it when I have brought you up to speed
on the happenings here on the home front: from sliding (almost off the wall)
kitchen cabinets, to a re-injured knee, to a kidney stone, to termites, to an
as-yet not dealt with ovarian cyst and no insurance, to Adam's broken arm
absent insurance, to the maverick movers who seem to have broken
whatever they didn't steal, to hit a few highlights.

Ah, the good life.

Details to follow...

 Note: Julie has been writing for months, but she's reluctant to publish anything substantive until
           that prick Robert Ray issues his final report and closes down his penis-hunting office, (my words)
           which should be any time now.

Write to this true American hero at  JulieHiattSteele@bartcop.com

If she had had less courage, Starr might've broken her, might've gotten her to go along with
his frame-up of Bill Clinton and almost certainly would've succeeded in removing him from office.

Because she stood up to Starr and his goons,
America got to enjoy its last elected leader for a couple of more years.

...and the minute he left office, look what happened to our once-great country.

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