Brr. I’ve got the polar vortex blues. We, the Sisterhood, denounce this Siberian Express and talk about moving to a warmer zip code.
Avoiding the ice around my building, I stayed in and sifted through boxes I’ve neglected to open. One, labeled “Old Papers”, contained tax documents and bank statements, STUFF that should’ve been discarded years ago. Beneath the papers were photographs.
Suddenly, I was swimming in a river of memories. There were pictures of Chase, my nephew, killed in Iraq in 2005. I stared at one. Christmas in Kentucky. Chase was a toddler and I was holding him in my arms. In another, Charles and Chase, sitting on the floor. Charles and Chase, both dead.
I spent a couple of hours looking at the photos and then began shredding the tax documents and bank statements, emptying the bits and pieces into paper bags for recycling, wondering if I could create something with the confetti—perhaps a tree.
Midway through my shredding and shedding, I took a break to check Google News. Read an article about Ben Carson. In an interview, Carson criticized Obama. He said he wouldn’t hesitate to put boots on the ground to fight ISIS. I wondered if Carson would want his three sons to have their feet in those boots. He also said that the military should be unconstrained, not subject to any war crimes law.
I didn’t know the military had constraints—except for the expendable, like Lynndie England. She was convicted for Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse.
The Grand Poobahs that lie humanity to death are unaccountable.
Dick Cheney and George Bush have no regrets about war. No regrets about torture. They defend waterboarding, mock execution, and rectal feeding. Bush referred to the men and women who conducted this savagery as “patriots”. Commander-in-Chief Obama, with his Kill List, drones, incinerating civilians, inspiring even more hatred of the USA.
(Eric Holder says, “We’re not at a time of war.)
Okay, back to that move: A few days ago, I emailed my son H and his wife V, telling them Albuquerque’s a possible destination. “New Mexico has a right-to-die law,” I wrote.
H responded quickly with, “Albuquerque also has a you’d-be-bored-out-of-your-fucking-mind-like-you-were-in-Nashville law.”
Nashville, where Charles and I moved after we’d lived in Baltimore. Baltimore, where we moved when he retired from NYU School of Medicine. Baltimore, where years ago, I met Dr. Ben Carson, one of my husband’s colleagues at Johns Hopkins.
Carson’s impressive, a retired neurosurgeon—the first neurosurgeon to separate twins conjoined at the head, He also was a professor of oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics. Now, Carson has political aspirations, and not a mere mayor-ship but something waaaaayyy powerful, US president. Jeb Bush also covets the position—with a desire so fervent he’s distancing himself from his father and brother’s foreign policy disasters, saying he’s his own man.
But ISIS—I’ve read so much about the group, yet I have no clear understanding, except that it originated in Iraq, after WE destroyed the country. Now it’s metastasizing.
If we know that torture serves as a terrorist recruitment tool, why haven’t we also learned the truth of war—that an invasion, whether it’s boots on the ground or missile attacks, provokes and guarantees blowback? Still, this isn’t the reason to end war. War must end because it’s immoral.
Meanwhile, here at home, our government and its multi-billionaire owners have fine-tuned the psychology of manipulating fear and patriotism. They require our submission. A sufficient number of Americans are frightened enough that they’re armed against anyone whose customs and culture can be endowed with the sinister. Others follow distractions. And some of us speak up, to denounce the violence committed in our names and call for peace, worried sick about the children, the world’s children, and what we’re leaving them. Our melting pot is a pressure cooker.
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 Baltimore. Email: email@example.com