Monday, May 25, 2009

Riding Along In A Handbasket

Riding Along In A Handbasket

Peace is a way of life, a series of cultural choices which build on each other long before conflict appears on the horizon. It's a life that America does very badly, if at all. We have been colonizers, genocidal artists, and bullies since the onset.

Even so, the Bush Years took this appetite for aggression to its ultimate extreme. We are now seeing, reaping, the results of eight years of no foreign policy aside from threats and belligerence.

You label an isolated, paranoid nation as part of the "Axis of Evil", you have to expect they'll live up to your smear. Male adolescent immaturity makes the roads a dangerous place to be, and is partly compensated for by higher insurance rates. Where was our version of State Farm when it came to dealings with other countries? Yep, I'm scared by North Korea exploding a bomb on Memorial Day weekend (no accident in that symbolism). But I'm just as scared about Pakistan having the capability we handed them. And more scared about the fact that Obama explicitly said he would not remove nuclear options from his playbook. We are the chief danger to the world, especially when we deny that fact.

Any approach at all is better than Rumsfeld/Cheney/Wolfowitz/Rice, et al. However, that's a ludicrous standard to beat. Obama and Clinton are both hawks. As my mother used to say, when it comes to militaristic roles in foreign policy, you could throw 'em both in a gunnysack and there's no tellin' which of 'em would crawl out first.

This is where we're going to need serious leadership of the liberal variety, not middle-of-the-road pragmatism. We have to push as hard as we can here, if we're to have any chance of bringing in future approaches which will not shy away from saying no to the Right in all its permutations.

Fear and distance are not environments where our brain's abilities shine. Start there, with your own visceral response. Clean house and get ready to help us think our way out of this mess. It's time for Something Completely Different.


I woke up this morning remembering this poem I wrote. It's been published somewhere, can't find the journal title right now.


The last two times we’ve slid to war
I was awake and saw it start

I watched alone, with just a cat
And wept in what I think was rage

I would have called on god except
God’s name was already in use

And I was pretty sure the chore
Was ours. Rage was no help at all

I did pray in those blasted dawns
For innocents beneath the drop

But also for the souls of those
Who made the choice to cause a death

My chance to sit at home and watch
Is luck, more than a righteous heart

We buy all honor with a myth
And if I lie down free of ghosts

As I close my eyes and stretch
My long-bone muscles into peace

I name my luck and pray for you
It isn’t much, but it spins forth

A filament from then to here
A rosined thread that god can pluck
A way out of the labyrinth
A bind I need as much as you

©Maggie Jochild, written 11:05 p.m., 8 October 2004