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government | imperialism & war

Go Ahead and Hit Him, Son

After the recent Cruise Missile pyrotechnics in Bagdad, but before Dufur School buses disgorged its young charges for another summer of blissful obliviousness and impulse gratification, my 9 year-old son, not unaware of some of the implications of what he viewed on CNN, asked me rhetorical question.
So far, using the last and current President of the United States as examples for my children, I have advised Keagan, Kerry and Ian that it is OK to have sex with people other than their mates as long as it does not involve penetration and that, if there were any concern whatsoever that someone might want to hurt them at some time in the indefinite future, that they should feel righteous in preemptively hurting that someone first. Ian, my nine year-old, asked if this meant that he could hit an older kid, who has been looking "meanly" at him lately at recess, "..upside his head with a piece of wood?", and I gave him the thumbs up, especially up once he added that this thug had punched other kids. "Our President, George W. Bush, the Leader of the Free World and the Strongest Nation on Earth, who reads from the Good Book daily, who is the Moral Arbiter of what is Right and Just, has shown us that the Ends Justify The Means, son", I said to him proudly, "so go forth and beat the snot out of the dangerous punk and God Be With You!" I'm sure that Dufur School will be a safer place when the deed is done, regardless what the wishy-washy school administration would think about his bold, brave right to defend himself. I told him not to bother going to his teacher or the Principal first with his concerns, that to do so would just create critics, that they would just attempt to thwart him from delivering unto the bully the whoopass he so deserves, that he would be hoisted on to the shoulders of his grateful classmates after the deed was done, which would mute those would-be critics, those spineless cowards and handwringers, many of whom would hop to his side after the fact, anyway, once they witnessed the adulation from his classmates because "EVERYONE LOVES A WINNER, SON!" We laughed heartily and happily together, as only a man and his son bound by our fierce love for each other can. I then helped him select a nice chunk of cured oak from the woodpile, made sure it went into his book bag before his egg salad sandwich, and sent him off, his two sisters in tow, both armed with instant cameras and good eyes for what would resonate emotionally within the immediate family.

Chris Rice, The Dalles, Oregon
I am a 50 year-old single dad with three kids: four year-old girl-imp Keagan (pronounced Kay gun), Kerry, my shy yet theatrical 7 year-old woman-child, and my earnest and pedantic 9 year-old boy Ian. The above is an embellishment of a real conversation with the latter, who is smart enough to know that it was rhetorical, but also smart enough to see my point, which is more than I can say for many of the people with whom I have had conversation about this topic within this reflexively flag-waving, My-Country-Right-Or-Wrong little N Central Oregon town.

Bravo 06.Jul.2003 13:28


As a father of two young sons I applaud your path to enlightening your eldest, or at least urging him toward an understanding of the utter insanity around us. You illustrated your points very nicely. Let's not forget that our kids are everybody's.

Great Satire 06.Jul.2003 18:28

fellow sceptic

That was beautifully written. You are so right on, about how all this looks to kids and what kind of example this country is setting for others.

My son and yours 06.Jul.2003 21:46

esparanza auntiesocial@riseup.net

It's difficult to raise small people in the current flag-waving mode of a small town. I too struggle with it in F.Grove. Big cars, big flags, and not much thought put into either. Maybe getting together to talk about how to talk to the next generation about the insanity and absurdity would prove helpful, or better yet, let them talk to eachother.

Re: trollmeister 07.Jul.2003 19:47

starving writer

Troll, you forgot the part where the son sells the bully the gun and teaches him how to use it.

re: Starving writer 08.Jul.2003 16:11


no...we didn't sell him the gun. We just sold him sticks and knives. Hey, if your Starving I hear a bunch of Green Hairs are going to crash the Clear Channel BBQ over in Beaverton.

comment for Gerry 08.Jul.2003 16:12

flagwaving mom

You write that "our kids are everybody's". Say what????

Get a life, dad! 08.Jul.2003 16:20

flagwaving mom

A guy who describes his children as "pedantic", "girl-imp" and "woman-child" and writes the correct pronunciation of his child's name (on a forum of strangers, no less!!) has surely been reading too many psycho-babble parenting books!

In response to "flag waving mom" 08.Jul.2003 18:49


What I mean is that all of society has a stake in how the today's children turn out. It's the same as saying our educational system affects everyone, whether they have children or not. Remember that measuring even sub-atomic particles changes the very nature of the universe because everything within it is interconnected.

What about the Kurds Son? 14.Feb.2004 18:06

Teaching kids to think simplisticly

I'm just curious why, in your satirical piece, you failed to educate your son on how to handle the "bully" had said bully massacred hundreds and thousands of innocent people? Perhaps you could share with us what you told your children about the gassing of the Kurds. Also, how should society handle such massacres? I'm sure your effective solution would have worked equally well against the Nazi's when they were busy exterminating the Jews (whereupon what should your children have done had the principal and others feigned indifference?).

A better analogy for your story would be what your children should do if they stumbled upon a Columbine type killer at their school. Should they tackle the bad guy, even if going it alone, or should they first seek the opinion of those indifferent to the suffering of others?

Teaching your children to be truly independent and wise means giving them ALL of the facts and explaining to them that there are no easy answers. Often times those who go against the majority or against the grain are the real heroes, not those who stick their head in the sand and ignore grave injustices.

About the "What About The Kurds, Son" comment 18.Jun.2005 14:14

Chris Rice

I did tell my son that the United States has a history of supporting all sorts of bad people, including Saddam, to whom we sold the helicopters he used to gas the Kurds. Further, back then we knew he had used chemicals on them (whom, incidently, were not "his own people", nor would want to be considered as having anything to do with him or his people, but were/are seperatists allied with Iran. My reading reveals that the US gave Saddam's government a several billion dollar loan within 6 weeks of his gassing the Kurds, and Rumsfeld, who was Reagan's envoy to Iran, knew full well of this gassing. No, we grew all aghast (pun intended) with this behavior only when it served the Bush Administration's interest. Indeed, I will educate my children about many other hypocracies of our government. All governments do it, I shall tell them, while all the while blowing smoke up the asses of the gullible.