Where do you hitch hope when the heaviness in your chest is even more crushing because youre witnessing the further freefall of your nations moral standards? Where do you look for optimism when you read enough to learn that your countrys leaders have been bullies for more than two centuries? What do you do when youre wondering if there will be anything salvageable for your children and grandchildren?
These are the questions that make me reside in a place called Anxious most of the time.
That our policies of occupation and exploitation have pushed so many people in the world into squalor is an outrage to my conscience. That weve strong-armed other countries to join a campaign of empire that puts us at risk abroad as well as at home is terrifying. That my children, who long to travel and have adventures exploring the world, are told to say theyre Canadian instead of American is heartbreaking. That our leaders lack empathy for the collaterally damaged is as shameful as a compassion-reduced electorate. That our oil consumption and love affair with larger and larger vehicles is more important than the human beings in oil rich countries is immoral.
We know its a global society. Trade, travel, and the internet have taken us to the far reaches of the world. News enters our homes with mind-boggling speed when we click the remote. The victims of the earthquake in Pakistan and India, those devastated by the tsunamithese are catastrophes that slam our living spaces, brains and hearts too often. All of this, including Katrinas wreckage, leaves us digging in our pockets or reaching for our checkbooks and credit cards to offer aid.
We Americans are a generous people.
Cover completely the story of an airplane thats skidded off a runway. Show hour after hour of a plane whose landing gear wont cooperate. And advertise endlessly that more than 50,000,000 people are expected to view the crowning of reality televisions Survivor champion.
Meanwhile, the war rages on with deaths almost daily. There are increasingly frequent suicide bombings of troops and Iraqis by Insurgents but little attention is given to the horrors of war by our mainstream media. What does it tell us about ourselves if were more interested in who prevails on Survivor than on who dies or survives in Iraq?
Sadly, theres been more television debate and outrage over John Kerrys use of the word terrorizing to describe troops entering Iraqi homes in the night than there is about the dead, the maimed, the psychologically damaged, and the number of soldiers who have committed suicide.
Still, the President of the United States, at every fund-raising event and speech, acts like the Energizer Bunny, saying we wont stop short of anything less than complete victory when persons much smarter than he, many of whom have actually participated in combat, are telling us this war is not winnablethat we, in fact, have already lost. And hes just stated so forcefully that withdrawing our troops sends the wrong message to our young men and women in uniform. My familys soldier received the undeniably wrong messagedeath, and George Bush delivered it.
No, we never should have invaded Iraq. But we did and Bush has mishandled the war just like he is mishandling our trust. Just like he is mishandling our poor and the middle class. Just like he is mishandling our future. He is fondling us in areas where no president has gone before. And we are sitting by, letting him get away with it because he is managed by the greatest team of public relations manipulators the world has ever seen. Hollywood productions receive less staging. Less special effects.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are scattering in different directions like roaches when a light switch is flipped. Their failure to come together against weak White House leadership highlights their incompetence. In fact, their language brings to mind the Biblical Tower of Babel story.
Bush has recovered a few poll points and hes emboldened. But even when pinned to the mat, the man has never publicly lost faith in his ability to convince Americans that he has any doubts about his vision. He goes down for the count and then after a Karl Rove sermon of never waver you are always right, Bush comes up swinging, KOing the sniveling Democrats.