Monday, June 30, 2014

please don't kill my children

At about 7:30, my younger son passed through the porch where I was sitting in the early-morning sunshine. The promise seemed to be for a warm day with low humidity.

"I'm outta here," my son said by way of farewell on his way to a landscaping job.
"Good day. You got enough water?"
"I'll pick up a gallon on the way."
"There's all that water out in the kitchen."
"It's easier just to get a gallon and use that."
"Good day."
"See you, pop. Love you."
And he was gone.

Last night I watched two segments of "Moyers & Company" on the computer [1, 2]. They were about the manipulation and lies that pervade U.S. governance. Put together, they left me feeling wildly depressed -- a sense of tsunami-like sorrow and raging that expressed itself very simply this morning:

I don't want them to kill my children.
Or their children either.
And there is not fuck-all I can do about it.
Sympathy and explanation are the last thing I want: Pious circle-jerks just won't cut it. The sensation after watching the Moyers segments was miasmic and huge and all the heart-wrenching screams in the world will not resolve anything: There will be a war and I don't want them to kill my children.

In the wake of the demolitions of Sept. 11, 2001, neo-conservatives gained a foothold, not least with the "Bush Doctrine" -- a wide-ranging initiative that included permission to engage in pre-emptive or preventive war: Briefly stated, it allowed for the attacking of people who had not yet attacked us ... but might. The invasion of Afghanistan was premised in this way. Liberals yowled, but when Barack Obama became president, he left the principle in place. We now are free to invade and infringe as the mood takes us.

Simultaneously, the neo-conservative world view gained a further foothold: America was the beacon of democracy and freedom and had a god-given duty to spread that doctrine to others. It didn't much matter if the theory didn't pan out in fact. If it didn't pan out, that just meant that the forcefulness of the effort was not yet forceful enough and more military pressure should be brought to bear. Endless force, endless war and the beacon of democracy and freedom no where giving evidence that it had actually taken hold. The evidence did not support the theory, now or in the past.

But policy wonks are deaf to anguish.

If America was the beacon of democracy and freedom, how was it that this greatest country would not give money to ease the suffering of so many thousands of refugees in Syria and elsewhere -- refugees who might benefit from this grand theory of democracy and freedom. Why was food, medical and sheltering assistance a matter of bickering over every nickel and dime while the application of military force was never subjected to a similar nickel-and-diming? Why, among myriad other examples, were displaced Iraqis scrambling for food on the first day of Ramadan?

Back at home the same grand visions that lack concrete evidence are also in play. In a time of economic contraction, bankers and businessmen still avail themselves of the "trickle-down" theory of economics. There is no concrete evidence that I know of that supports this theory and yet it is trotted out time after time when the suggestion is made that spreading the wealth makes better sense.

I really don't want you or them to kill my children and yet as the noose grows tighter around the victim's neck, I simply cannot see another course. And there is not fuck-all I can do about it. My son or sons or daughters or whoever will probably end up in some non-descript doorway or bedroom, bleeding from wounds while some balaclava'ed soldier or police officer advances to deliver "just one more to make sure." And in the midst of the coming war, the policy wonks may scratch their heads, wondering how in the world these ragamuffins got so angry and desperate. "We offered them freedom and liberty and this is how they repay us?!"

Why is it that those who have a grand vision (Japan invades China in 1937, the "domino theory" underpinning the Vietnam War ... and on and on) cannot simply enjoy and exercise their grand vision without imperiling others? If Christians have the one true God ... isn't that enough and aren't they lucky? Ditto the Jews, the Muslims. Does my child have to die in order to exercise his own sense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? How different is it to have neo-conservatives waving a purified banner and the Sunni extremists who unilaterally announced the formation of an Islamic State -- one governed by sharia law and disregarding all borders and political alignments? Another my-way-or-the-highway-and-it's-for-your-own-good.

I don't see much difference between the neo-conservatives and the ones they choose to call "terrorists" whether at home or abroad. And even if there are differences, the effect is pretty much the same ... the dispossessing of the many, the bloody anguish in some non-descript doorway in Baghdad or Tikrit or Detroit, the reins of power powerfully held by those whose evidence for success seems to be endlessly lacking.

The failures that others can point out better than I simply cannot keep pace with the actions of those who set the course for failure. Post-facto research cannot keep up. When the National Security Agency's overreach wiretapping policies are revealed, there is a dust-storm of concern followed by a tuck here and a tuck there ... but the premise has been established and warrantless wire tapping continues as if, well, it's OK ... just not quite so much, please. Failures may be pointed out by good researchers, there may be gasps from the crowd, but the premise remains in place. Militarized police forces that look so kool and only occasionally break into the wrong house ... we need 'em because the bad guys, like the terrorists, are lurking

Please don't kill my children. Please. I am tired of being terrorized by those who claim to be defending me from terrorists. I am to the point where I would rather be blown to bits by a terrorist than to be lied to by yet another policy-wonk terrorist.

Please don't kill my children with your liberty and freedom and endless wars.

I say please. I like wishing my son well on his landscaping adventures ... like it enough so that, I suspect like a lot of others, I see fewer and fewer ways to escape the coming war.

But it's coming and I am left incoherent with sorrow and anger.

I wish I could vomit it out and put a period on the sentence ... just another rant.

But I can't.

1 comment:

  1. I can offer zen platitudes, historical perspective, concurring bro-hugs. I can't change it or offer an easy way to swallow it. I'm choking on helplessness too.