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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail