Our Manifesto/Plea

(Special Note: Our Republican/conservative/otherwise incorrect readers are invited to read this separate manifesto/plea that has been specially designed to extract money from them!)

"Correction: I stated that I thought that [George W.] Bush 'may' go down in history as the worst president we've ever had. I meant to say, 'absolutely, without a doubt.'"        -David Cross, Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!

Well, Bush got his war. Despite the active protest of millions of people worldwide, despite the opposition of the United Nations, and despite a total and utter lack of credible evidence that Saddam Hussein possesses or is developing any weapons of mass destruction, Bush has finally just barged his way into a region that he has no business barging into. Especially not alone- and he is effectively alone, apart from his puppets (Tony Blair, Jose Maria Aznar) and puppet-masters (Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, et al)- and not under these circumstances.

We don't know about you, but we are terrified and sickened by the way the US/UK alliance has handled the Iraq situation. The Bush administration is effectively flipping off the entire world, pushing ahead in pursuit of a war they've been planning since before Bush's sort-of election in 2000, with no better rationale than "Saddam might have the ability to make noo-kyoo-lurr weapons, and I sure wouldn't wanna find out the hard way!"

Of course, you've heard all this before. There's no shortage of reasons why a military incursion into Iraq at this point is unnecessary, immoral, disrespectful of human life, and bordering on bloodthirsty- and you can find many of those reasons elsewhere on this site- but we're not going to go into that right now. What would be the point, really? Any further confirmation that our government is doing the wrong thing doesn't matter, because they're doing it all the same. We're all helpless. That's what this website is about.

"I want to pledge allegiance to the country where I live. I don't want to be ashamed to be American."                 -Desaparecidos, "The Happiest Place on Earth"

We're certainly not comparing life in the United States to life under a dictatorial regime like that of Argentina- or Saddam himself, for that matter. That'd be overstating things considerably. But for a nation that constantly trumpets its founding principles of freedom and the average citizen's voice in the workings of its government, neither of us can remember a situation where there was such a mood of impotent trepidation about the United States acting in a way that seemed not just unconcerned about, but practically hostile to the opinions of its inhabitants. (Neither of us was alive during the Vietnam era, we should point out.)

Very little has been said about the effect this war- and the unstoppable snowball of events preceding it- has been having on the American populace. Obviously, those who have loved ones in the military or loved ones living in Iraq are going to be hit the hardest by Bush's stubborn insistence that violence is the only solution, but the two of us (Jessi 'n' Chris, remember?) don't fit into either category, and we've nevertheless been basically rocking back and forth in the fetal position since mid-February because of all this.

We've been told, ever since September 11, 2001, that good Americans just get on with their lives in times of trouble. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with a little resilience in the face of tragedy, it's impossible- or at least irresponsible- to remain stoic and unaffected by a tragedy that is both ongoing and willful on the part of one's own "elected" representatives. The military can insist all they want that the Iraqi civilians are going to be so far out of harm's way that the average citizen of Baghdad will be able to safely ride a bike down main roads while whistling "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" during the war, but how can that jibe with their boasts that we're going to be deploying ten times as many strikes as we did during the Gulf War, in a campaign of "Shock and Awe"? How can that jibe with the Air Force testing its new, unpredecentedly destructive non-nuclear weapon only days ago, and whimsically nicknaming it "The Mother of All Bombs"? Innumerable people are going to die, all because a handful of warmongers have judged it imperative to send in troops to go after a guy who, while unquestionably a heartless and evil man, has been slowly but surely acceding to the requests of UN weapons inspectors. (Granted, Hans Blix has said numerous times that he'd like more cooperation on Hussein's part. However, anyone who can look at an event like Iraq's destruction of their Al-Samoud missiles, and see it as a sign of diplomacy's hopelessness as opposed to something more encouraging is either horribly imperceptive or is not being honest with himself. And either way, should people like that be sending troops into battle?)

"Perky 'Canada' Has Own Government, Laws"                       -Headline in The Onion

So now the moment you've been waiting for: let's talk about us. Both of us have become addicted to the news lately, out of a feeling of duty to stay informed about unfolding events. But as these events have become unpleasant and unjust to almost cartoonish proportions, we recently came to the realization that this ridiculous conflict has robbed our day-to-day lives of any feeling. Not just a feeling of significance- though it's certainly become harder to see our bookstore jobs, homework, or stupid music reviews as "worthwhile" in any respect- but feeling altogether, save for a pervasive sense of doom. Our usual comforts are not comforting. Fun isn't fun. Because we, along with millions and millions of other peace-loving people worldwide, have somehow been overruled by a malapropism-spouting trust-fund baby and his entourage of supporting characters from the Dr. Strangelove war room. Our mood is one of unwavering guilt and defeat, as if monotony and drudgery were the only compass points on our dark walk through life.

Alright, so that got a little melodramatic. You get the point, though, we assume; being confronted every day with our government's injustices through this conflict- both at home and abroad- has left us both craving a break from this fog of corruption that's incapacitating our brains as thoroughly as the alcoholic beverages we've come to increasingly rely upon to get through the day. And the other night, while discussing our respective descents into paralyzing despair, the solution to our problems hit us: TORONTO!!!

For those who have never had the pleasure of visiting "Hogtown" (the city's actual nickname, apparently, though it's certainly populated with more attractive people than the moniker implies), Toronto is perhaps the world's perfect city. Jessi and Chris have each been there multiple times, as we live conveniently close to the US/Canadian border, and in addition to being a cultural hotbed and home to some really pretty parks whose names we can't recall, the city itself just gives off this awesome, inimitable vibe. Whether it's the overriding aura of cheeky friendliness among its residents, the city's overriding efficiency, or just some uniquely Canadian attribute that we can't put our finger on, we've agreed that the city is the ideal place to clear one's head and just enjoy life. And that a lengthy jaunt there would probably do us each some good.

"Do I have to come right flat out and tell you everything? Gimme some money!"                  -Spinal Tap, "Gimme Some Money"

Now, Jessi and Chris can't make their way to Toronto on their own, unfortunately. That's where you guys come in. The way we see it, many of you live in unfortunate geographical locations that wouldn't allow easy access to Toronto even if you did have the money. And if you are a right-thinking individual (right in this context meaning "correct," of course- not "right-wing," which is quite the opposite) who also feels trampled and super-powerless because your anti-war sentiments and protests and pleas were roundly ignored by the handful of rich guys who run things, now's your chance to do a small amount of good. And maybe- just maybe- clear your own conscience at being "lumped in with Bush and Cheney now," as Chris's friend Mark put it.

Granted, by donating to the Jessi 'n' Chris Anti-War Toronto Fund, you are not exactly contributing to any high-minded humanitarian effort. However, what you are doing is playing an important role in reclaiming the sanity of two young Americans, and therefore, the future of our nation. Toronto in springtime is magical, and once we've raised enough money to venture there, we promise to bring you back all sorts of vicarious thrills in the form of essays and perhaps pictures (depending on whether Chris manages to emerge victorious in his ongoing battle with the operation of FunSaver disposable cameras). We shall also act as ambassadors of love in Canada, reclaiming the good name of "American" to any Canadians we might encounter, assuring them that we are not all warmongering lummoxes, as well as being our naturally charming, witty selves.

We're living in uncertain times; or "interesting" times, as the old Chinese curse goes. Shy of fervently praying for peace- a proposition that is by no means certain, no matter what your religious beliefs- there's basically nothing that we as individuals can do to affect things on a global scale. So why not look for small, generous things you can do to improve the lives of other individuals? And we know that it's bad form to go 'round asking complete strangers for money- but at least, unlike the crazy guy at the bus stop who'll spit on you if you don't give him a quarter, we're easily ignored! If you feel entertained by the site or learn something you didn't know before, then we're content. If the site makes you feel indignant on any level, we're also content, because being irritating is also fun. If you feel like kicking a couple bucks our way, however, we're ecstatic and shall dance far into the night.

We're glad we got that settled. What would you like to do now? (Select one:)