Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

No Shelter From the Storm

by MISSY BEATTIE

I was running through my sister’s neighborhood in KY and saw that “Support the Troops They Want Victory You Should, Too” sign in a yard. For a long time, after my nephew Chase was killed in Iraq, my sister had a large board, propped against a tree in front of her house, bearing a laminated photograph of Chase along with the number of troop deaths. She’d change the number frequently.

One morning, she went outside and the sign was gone, stolen during the night.

There is something unsettling about this–a particular violation of the unspoken, unwritten rules of bereavement. A sign with a picture of a dead loved one is a memorial, and its removal is a desecration, almost like tampering with a gravesite, trespassing on a family’s grief.

Recently, I mentioned in an article a trip to North Carolina to visit one of my sons. My best friend was with me and on the morning we headed home, I’d awakened earlier than usual, obsessing on war, petroleum oceans, and the lyrics from Shelter From the Storm. I drank my coffee and downed a punchbowl-size serving of yogurt and fruit while I had a conversation with my son about the implications of the oil torrent, after which I hugged and kissed him bye bye, and left Chapel Hill.

Around noonish, my friend wanted to stop at a Subway Sandwich Shop. Subway was one of the sponsors of a pro-war event, the “Freedom Walk,” that occurred on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2005. I refuse to support the business. But, hell yes, I would use their loo. And, so, I pulled into the parking lot, went inside, and headed for the bathroom while my friend ordered her sandwich. First thing I noticed was the chain and lock that held the toilet tissue dispenser to its mooring.

Someone might steal the toilet tissue?

These are the times in which we live.

I’m thinking they will become worse. Actually, they already have.

While running, I observe my physical surroundings and the course that’s racing in my mind. Sometimes, I see trivia. But, usually, I think about our huge military budget, immoral foreign policy, the toll our war crimes exact on the people who live in the countries we invade, and the costs to our military families and on all of us as human beings. Those at the center of power are possessed by big corporations. Every breath they take is calculated to maintain their interests to the dereliction of ours. They rescue the wealthy while abandoning the working poor and middle class.

Since April, my preoccupation has been the gushing oil from the Earth-soaking catastrophe that’s plunging us into uncertainty. This is our planet, our collective body, on which BP performed invasive, major, exploratory surgery. Everything that could go wrong did/has and may doom us to extinction.

Today, when I ran, I found a penny. I’m not religious. Superstitious, yes. Is there a difference? I scooped up the penny and threw it in the air to make a wish. My children’s safety. Selfish. All children’s safety. That would, of course, include my children. Include everyone because we are all someone’s children. I wish for …………. the petroleum hemorrhage to stop. Absurd. Wishing is as effective as praying.

And, then, I conjured up an image of Michelle and Barack. She’s holding onto one of his ears, marching him to her organic garden where she says: “Look, MR. BUSH, my little effort here is less than a piss dribble.” She muscles him to the ground, pushing his face into the soil. Her hand is on the back of his head, rubbing his nose into the dirt as she screams:

Man up. Man up, immediately, for Malia and Sasha, for me, and for the world. You have just sent a message to fathers that there’s no excuse for failing to meet their obligations. Meet yours. Protect the planet. Period. End the wars abroad and at home. Be a leader. Do what is necessary to give us shelter from the storm.

This Michelle mirage is as consequential as penny wishing and praying.

A nightmare becomes a daymare, and with it the question emerges: what if BP’s monster well shatters under its own weight and the gusher continues to blow, bleeding out, until the floor beneath the water collapses?

Maybe, life doesn’t go on. Maybe, unmoored, it is stolen by greed, and there is no shelter from the storm.

MISSY BEATTIE lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She will be in DC in July for Peace of the Action. Contact her at missybeat@aol.com.

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail