I've spent a lot of time shying away from political stuff. I'm not particularly compelled to follow it. Which is not to say that I am not interested in "the world" and "what's going on," but it all just feels so burdensome at times.
I tend to also feel very stupid in political conversations. I never quite know "the issues," but rather rely on pretty intense feelings one way or the other, regardless of how much or how little I actually know. Perhaps I am lazy. Perhaps I just don't prefer the media in which various issues are housed. Perhaps I just get absorbed in the details of everyday life; the little trials and triumphs of miniature interactions, and that experience is what helps me feel as though I already understand everything else that is going on -- enough, enough. There is just a lot of pain. That a very dear person to me had for weeks been fighting for his life in the hospital blighted out much else of my needs and interests, or the worlds' needs and interests...But that was because I think we all have a threshold for what we can endure either intellectually or emotionally at any given time...
I'm getting away from myself.
In any case, I always have opinions, and when I feel as though I am in a situation where they will be nurtured, further informed or respected, I share them. I guess that's why this blog exists, and why it's still semi-secret to most of the world.
I think this post may be counted as some kind of addendum to the one about the Occupy movement, of which I was relatively critical....maybe it's a separate idea. In any case...I clearly haven't fully formulated my opinions and am blabbering on and on attempting to forgive myself in advance for saying something that may sound awfully naive or dull... So -- forgive the recitative, I'll get to it.
I just watched a commercial for Chase Bank, which has recently launched what they're calling a 100,000 jobs mission, to employ veterans of our epic wars. Wars that they probably helped fund in many different ways. Wars that we have been fighting for close to half of my worldly existence. Oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why.
It just felt so utterly insulting -- that a WAR whose real costs we cannot even begin to imagine might be reduced to some marketing ploy for a big bank. The veteran in the commercial ties his shiny black shoes. He smiles. His teeth are white. His shirt is blue. We'll all eventually do the same, clean up, move on. Erect some structure in ten years that will help us all to Never Forget. That's the benefit of having our wars overseas. They can be profitable and compelling, but remain relatively unobtrusive. We can call ourselves civilized, and pity the others.
We have food in our supermarkets. We have our little homes to go to at night.
I was mostly shocked and ashamed that I am a product of this massive dupe. I may call myself liberal or educated or informed. And, yeah, power to the people, sure. But I have allowed myself to think of this whole conflict as headlines to avoid or not avoid. I am completely unable to engage with the reality of this situation and I am so, so ashamed.
On our way to the hospital, I was talking to my Other Dad about war -- how -- for all of our lives pretty much, our country has been in a perpetual state of war. How -- when my roommates play their war video games it takes thirty seconds to "respawn" as a penalty for being "killed." Meanwhile in real wars, real people are dying, and millions are being displaced. MILLIONS.
I talked about this video game habit as though it was distant from my own behavior, distasteful, reprehensible. But I doubt that what I have been doing is any better. Am I to blame, or am I just being massaged into complacency like everybody else...
It's just that this is so big, beyond our country, beyond politics, beyond oil. For me, it seems like this is what humans feel compelled to do. Is war a human need? Where does it come from? How does it get to be like this?
It's something that I've been thinking about -- will continue to think about. Don't know what I think about -- much.
What I do know is this: my heart aches. It aches for this country, it aches for the world and all of the little animals called humans that are clawing their way through it. I guess that aching sensation is all that I'm capable of, at least for now.
I'm critical of these movements, but most of all I'm just critical of the massive abstraction that we're all sort of invested in ... abstractions called freedom and country and will and ... They strike me as little stories that we tell ourselves to make the day day and the night night.
Ugh. I don't know. I just wanted to say that my heart just aches sometimes. As I sort of breathe in, and hold my breath, suddenly overwhelmed by all of it. It'll go away tomorrow. I'll want coffee, I'll have to edit my CV, there will be an email.
LA/San Diego 2017
3 weeks ago