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

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Masters’ Schedule
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Ron Jacobs
Black Literature and the FB Eye Blues
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender” Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”
July 30, 2015
Bill Blunden
The NSA’s 9/11 Cover-Up: General Hayden Told a Lie, and It’s a Whopper
Richard Ward
Sandra Bland, Rebel
Jeffrey St. Clair
How One Safari Nut, the CIA and Neoliberal Environmentalists Plotted to Destroy Mozambique
Martha Rosenberg
Tracking the Lion Killers Back to the Old Oval Office
Binoy Kampmark
Dead Again: the Latest Demise of Mullah Omar
Kathy Kelly – Buddy Bell
No Warlords Need Apply: a Call for Credible Peacemaking in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
Darker Horizons Ahead: Rethinking the War on ‘IS’
Stephen Lendman
The Show Trial of Saif Qaddafi: a Manufactured Death Sentence
John Grant
The United States of Absurdity, Circa 2015
Karl Grossman
The Case of John Peter Zenger and the Fight for a Free Press
Cesar Chelala
Cultural Treasures Are Also Victims of War
Jeff Taylor
Iowa Conference on Presidential Politics
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Stephen Lendman
What Happened to Ralkina Jones? Another Jail Cell Death
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak