Yesterday was Memorial Day and there were eight more American deaths in Iraq. The public reaction is kind of like a line from the musical “Annie”, where there is some kind of problem and she merely reacts with an, “Oh my goodness!” It is not an outcry by any means, it is simply “and your point is...?”
The White House is now talking about cutting the number of troops in half by the middle of 2008. It seems so far away that I am reminded of a friend who used to discipline his kids by threatening that if they didn’t behave they would not be able to watch video’s two weeks from Wednesday. It had nothing to do with a child’s reality—if it doesn’t happen today, right now, it doesn’t exist, so why should I make changes today when nothing is going to happen in the reality I know—which would be today and at best tomorrow. Woe is us. We are still allowing the political policy know nothings to play “Simon Say’s” with our children’s lives.
David went to the Viet Nam memorial yesterday, as he always does when he is home for the holiday. He noticed something that was inevitable; the Viet Nam vets are starting to look like World War 2 vets—that means we are an aging generation. It shouldn’t be a surprise but, just like when you look in the mirror and expect to see a twenty year old---it is. I also noticed something. Costco was closed. While it is true that our Costco is located right next to the Pentagon, most are not. My guess is that it was probably the only supermarket/discounter that felt they should shut their doors out of respect to the holiday—Target and K-Mart were open for holiday sales. Isn’t it awful that I was surprised a store was actually closed for a Monday holiday? Truthfully, I didn’t think about it until Jordan and I went to the Giant Supermarket and the woman checking us out remarked about how she hated the fact that all the stores were open because it showed a serious lack of respect.
Here we are again, back with that word and concept—respect. Think about all the days marked as Monday holidays. Is there one which has not become a day to shop and party rather than relax and reflect. Probably not. And, although I don’t think Monday holidays should be like Yom Kippur, where you don’t do anything but reflect and pray that God writes you into the book of life for another year, I do think the designation of a day should be more than an excuse for commercialism. I also think that a trip to participate or watch a parade is a far better way to think about a special occasion than a trip to Loehmanns – but while David went to pay respects, we went to Loehmann’s and I’m not proud of it.
Part of the problem is that we don’t think about any war, especially this one. We mouth words that claim we support the troops but we don’t have to act on that sentiment, in any way. Sure gas prices are out of control, but we don’t think about that as a reflection of the war. We think it’s just more gouging by the oil companies (which is also true). We are feeling little or no pain about this conflict unless we happen to have lost someone and then we have to find a way to live with the loss—and we certainly don’t want these young people to have died in vain, so we rationalize their deaths by saying they were fighting for our rights. What was it the President said “we are fighting there so we didn’t have to fight here.” What a bunch of crap. We are fighting there because a few old white guys decided they needed to finish a fight that even the President who started the first one, knew couldn’t be won. We are fighting because it is making a few of the corporate friends of these old white guys very rich. (This includes the oil executives). We are not fighting for any reasons this government pretends are good reasons. I have said this before, they start the sentence in the middle, ... “and now thanks to our intrusion in their lives, they have Democracy”.... no water, electricity, rights, feeling of safety, sense of US loyalty, or real leaders, but they have Democracy. I don’t know what that means. But I do know that everyday we lose a few more lives. The President says “it is the sacrifice we have to make”. I would like just one press person just ask, “why do we have to make the sacrifice”—I want specifics. And when he answers with, because we’re fighting for Democracy, I would like to have the same press person ask the President if he ever took and passed a course in civics, or government, or international affairs, because if he did then I guess he must have copied his answers from someone who had respect for what those terms actually mean. And on this day after Memorial Day, we can only say about the last four years, thanks for the Memories. We’re just sayin...Iris