When I'm on the day shift, I wake up in the morning and watch enough television news to find out if I can wear suede shoes to work.
Once they get through throwing the weather at me, I usually get to watch a few seconds of explosions, of rockets screaming out of the sky, of a guy with a scrubby beard leaning around the corner of a building, letting off a few shots from his rifle, then ducking back behind the building while the guys on the other side take their turn. Then, videotape of a woman screaming over the body of her dead child.
And I go off to work where no one ever fires a rocket-propelled grenade into my office, at least not yet. And I've been there for 21 years.
I figure I got about five years of that left.
I know people, in this country, and they were not born in Kenya and they're not Muslims, and they tell me we need a revolution. They tell me that when the cops come for their guns, they're going to shoot the cops. And they tell me you have to water the tree of liberty with blood. They tell me I'm a "sheep."
My great fear is that several thousand of these all-fantasy-all-the-time dumbasses will get together and touch off Iraq right here, right now, before I get to die of natural causes.
People in this country talk easily and proudly of "resisting the government," talk boldly and bravely about the hot lead soup they'll pour on any police officer who tries to get their guns. Then, they go home to safe houses in suburban neighborhoods and they watch baseball on television.
But the Shia/Sunni stuff they got in Iraq is no joke. It's worse than a gun violence weekend in Chicago. I've been a reporter for 31 years, and I've gone into some very dangerous neighborhoods, usually with the cops. I came out, too. With the cops. In Iraq, you go into the wrong neighborhood with the cops, they kill you, they kill all the cops, and they burn the police car. Then, they fire a missile at the police station and it burns to the ground.
And they're doing it for God, for their country, for their one holy, correct political and religious truth that is worth dying for and killing for and dying for and killing for again and again.
You can't compromise in Iraq. You're in or you're out, with us or against us. Compromise is treason; negotiation is a sin.
You say you want a revolution? You wanna fight?
Watch that Iraq stuff on the news. Or watch the Israelis and the Palestinians. You hang around them too long and a missile comes through the wall of your house and turns your 6-month-old child into a pile of salsa with a small, soft arm sticking out of one end.
That's what it looks like. That's what fighting to the death looks like up close.
In America, we're talking ourselves into Iraq.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. A collection of Dion's Pulitzer Prize-nominated columns, "Between Wealth and Welfare: A Liberal Curmudgeon in America," is available for Nook and Kindle.