Whine, Thank You, and You?

It is time to indulge in one of our favorite pastimes, “Let’s Make Fun of People Who Whine Too Much.” Up first: a couple of New Mexicans.

I know what you’re thinking: What happened to the OLD Mexicans? (Nothing; they’re fine.) But we’re talking about people from New Mexico. The city of Las Cruces, specifically. Las Cruces is Spanish for “The Crosses,” and so you can imagine what might be on the city’s official seal: some crosses. The city is named The Crosses, after all. What would you expect to find on the official seal? Chickens?

But guess what a lawsuit filed Sept. 16 in Albuquerque’s U.S. District Court is demanding? That the crosses be removed. Yes, the plaintiffs want the crosses removed from the official emblem of the city of The Crosses.

I bet you know where I’m going with this. The city is called The Crosses; why should anyone be surprised, much less offended, that there are crosses on its seal? Now, if the city were called Los Calcetines, then you wouldn’t find crosses on the seal. You’d find socks. In Los Calcetines, a cross on the city’s emblem would indeed be a questionable move, church-and-state-wise. Ditto a cross on all the letterhead and stationery coming out of city hall in the city of Los Pantalones.

Los Pantalones shouldn’t have a cross on its logo! It should have pants!

But Las Cruces has every right, I should think, to have a picture indicative of its name on its logo. Los Gatos, N.M., could have cats, Los Angeles could have angels, Boca Raton could have a rat’s mouth, Baton Rouge could have a red stick (dynamite, maybe?), and Butte, Mont., could have a big, stinky butte.

To get rid of the crosses from Las Cruces, you’d have to change the name of the city. Yes, crosses obviously have religious significance. I suspect that’s why the town was named Las Cruces in the first place. So the beef should be with whoever named the city, not the current administration that is simply living up to the name.

But oh! To hear the plaintiffs whine. According to the Associated Press story of Sept. 24, the lawsuit alleges that “the crosses serve no governmental purpose other than to disenfranchise and discredit non-Christian citizens.” (That’s right: The city officials did it JUST to annoy people.)

“(The plaintiffs) accuse the city of invading the privacy of their homes with government-sponsored proselytizing,” the article says. Things like city newsletters have the logo and are mailed to residents, after all, thereby “invading the privacy” of the citizens’ homes.

The plaintiffs also say “they have been made to feel excluded from public participation in government activities,” AP reports.

Said one plaintiff: “We want our First Amendment rights back, our full rights as citizens.”

Now, I’ve read the First Amendment, and it says nothing about the right to avoid all religious iconography, so I’m not sure which rights the plaintiff feels he does not have access to. The First Amendment does say the government cannot sponsor a particular religion — but putting crosses on the logo for the city of The Crosses does not constitute sponsoring a religion. The logo doesn’t mean you have to be Christian to live there, or even to “belong” there. All it means is that the people who founded the city were Christians. And sorry! There’s nothing we can do about that!

One place the non-Christian plaintiffs definitely should not move if they want to feel more included is Corpus Christi (“Body of Christ”), Texas. I don’t even want to know what’s on their logo.

But we have frittered away enough time on the people of The Crosses. It is time to move on to the subject of Shmindy Shmeehan, the woman whose son died in Iraq and who hasn’t given President Bush a moment’s peace ever since. I’m not using her real name because her whole reason for existing nowadays is to get attention for herself, and I don’t want to fuel that. I use her name, and there’s one more hit when you Google her.

Is it possible to whine TOO MUCH about the possibly unjustified death of your son? I wouldn’t have thought so either, but here we are. Shmeehan has everyone’s sympathy for being a grieving mother, of course. Where she loses us is in the way she has become single-minded and bizarre over it, stalking President Bush for most of August, trying to pester him into meeting with her (which he had already done once) so she could berate him in person. (And how could he pass up such a tempting invitation, anyway?)

Then, as Hurricane Rita was striking Texas on Sept. 24, she posted a message on the liberal Web site Daily Kos saying, “i am watching cnn and it is 100 percent rita…even though it is a little wind and a little rain…it is bad, but there are other things going on in this country today…and in the world!!!!” Other things like the big anti-war demonstration planned for that day in Washington, D.C., maybe? Afraid ol’ Mother Nature was stealing your thunder, as it were?

Since that stupid hurricane that hardly even killed anyone distracted some of the media from the protest, Shmindy Shmeehan had to get herself arrested in front of the White House two days later, all for the “cause.”

The problem is that her “cause,” which used to be, at least ostensibly, the anti-war effort, has now transparently become herself. She has gone from being anti-war to being pro-Shmindy Shmeehan. In her attempt to put a face on the casualties of war, she has made it TOO personal, becoming a grandstanding, irrational nutjob in the process. Shmindy has become nothing but a shmattention shmwhore.

The thing is, most of the country actually agrees with her on some points. Anywhere from 59 percent to 67 percent of us disapprove of the way Bush is handling the Iraq situation, depending on which poll you read. And we’re about evenly split on whether we ought to bring all the troops home now, or stay there until Iraq becomes stable. If I’m Shmindy Shmeehan, I have to wonder: How can I be despised when so many people agree with me? Of course, I have to wonder the same thing if I’m Shmichael Schmoore.

The last part fits Ann Coulter too, but I wasn't sure people would know who "Shmann Shmoulter" was. Besides, the whole column had been pretty conservative up to that point, so why throw in something a liberal would say at the end?

I wasn't going to write about Shmindy Shmeehan at all, but then I found the Las Cruces thing and decided the two subjects would go together nicely. I was also going to include a segment on the guy who wants "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, but I ultimately decided the column was long enough as it was and could not sustain additional weight.