FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Greedy and the Needy

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

Usually, my neighbors here in the condo complex are friendly and cooperative. During last year’s harsh winter, we worked outside, removing snow, chatting, and helping each other. During association meetings, we discuss community issues. Occasionally, there’s discord—recyclables, pet policy, etc. At one of the meetings, a woman, with an able-bodied husband, said, “You mean I’m going to have to take recyclables across the street?” I commented that this is about our environment, one of the most urgent problems we face.

I suppose that if you asked 15 people to choose the country’s most important dilemma, you’d hear 15 different answers.

Recently, a friend and I were having a conversation about immigration.

He said, “I know a woman who couldn’t get a job at a fast food restaurant because she doesn’t speak Spanish.”

I said: “Well, NAFTA and CAFTA have made it impossible for people in certain countries to make a living, so they come here.”

We agreed that capital is able to cross borders freely in search of the highest rate of return.

Yet, so many Americans have no problem with the building of sky-high fences to block “aliens” and “illegals” from seeking to eke out a better living in this land of increasingly questionable opportunity.

Usually, I write about peace and its opposite, conquest-oriented carnage. Sometimes, I present a piñata, a tumbling forth of all about which I angst. This week, I’ve moved from the bulging fridge to the countertop to the sink to the stove, many times. As the turkey shares a chill with dishes I’ve prepared for a visit from my children, I think of families, here and thousands of miles away.

I ran earlier today, down the hill past Williams-Sonoma’s open door. I could smell spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in, perhaps, mulled cider. The aroma of Thanksgiving. I, too, mulled: over the unemployment rate and the underemployed and all who have lost their jobs, homes, their health insurance, and hope. Quantitative easing bailed out banksters but not the people.

Our military budget is a trillion a year. We spend 12 billion a month on two wars of occupation. Those who aren’t related to a soldier who’s died or been severely injured really don’t think that much about war, or about the people our troops are brainwashed to destroy.

I wonder about civilians in the countries we’ve invaded. After reading that in some areas of Afghanistan nobody even knows about 9/11, I can’t help but juxtapose this information with the nationalism of people, here, and the Islamophobia that leads people to oppose the building of mosques with shouts of, “Never forget.”

Interlude: I knew a married woman who fell madly in love with another man. She remarked to her husband that he and the children would really like the new, significant other. Couldn’t wait for them to meet. I’ve seen men behave this way, as well. Seems they’re so intoxicated by their own selfish happiness, they are unable to see the pain they inflict, the psychic violence of their actions. They’re residing in a magical realm where their truth becomes: if it feels so good, it can’t be wrong. They don’t just expect understanding; they, also, demand support and, well, gratitude. It’s as if their exhilaration translates to something like, “Everybody will be so happy, they’ll bestow flowers.” Like those flowers the grateful Iraqis were going to present to our troops.

This is an illustration of hubris, a microcosm of Ameri-thought, like manifest destiny, the gift of democracy, Christianity, and even ruggedly ugly individualism. American exceptionalism.

Thanksgiving is beyond strange. I can’t help but feel guilty. I have so much. And I have a greedy need to be with my family. Need? The needy. There are millions; the number grows daily.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her email address is missybeat@gmail.com.

 

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

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Tony Christini
Death by Texes (A Satire of Trump and Clinton)
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail