Monday, November 30, 2009
Business as Usual - War, Obama, Disappointment
For the second Monday morning in a row,I met a friend at 7 a.m. to go walking. Everything is virgin then, the daylight, the streets, uncluttered by cars and bodies, the air, quiet. I began the day, the week in energetic motion, noticing the wonders of nearby water, a flock of seagulls, trees nearly emptied of leaves, and a balding man jogging in shorts, his dog running leisurely behind him. I brushed my hand over shrubs still green as I passed by, feeling their coarse and smooth textures alive on my skin. I keep a pace but with no pressure of time, and when I return home the day remains new, yet more vital than when I left. This is not business as usual for me, early morning walks, and I am grateful.
In contrast, sadness and disappointment have been creeping up about Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. This is business as usual. I can't pretend to know all the arguments for his decision, though I did read the compelling resignation letter of a special envoy to the region, giving his reasons for not being able to support the war. I am not a pacifist, having supported some of the liberation movements in Africa. But I am aware of enough history and current signposts that bode poorly on what can and will be accomplished in Afghanistan except for more horrific deaths and maiming of young people, who along with their families have unjustly borne the burden of this and the Iraq war. And yet, because I have a son in his 20's, I would fight a draft with every muscle in my body. Side by side the injustice and my unwillingness to participate in a fairer sacrifice deeply saddens me. I read Michael Moore's letter to President Obama today http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/an-open-letter-to-preside_b_373457.html on Afghanistan, and I share in his disappointment. I am sad for Obama too, that he should find himself authoring such an old script, like scenes from earlier day movies of a guy stepping into quick sand, sinking deeply up to his neck and then gone. In this version, one body is replaced by hordes. Perhaps there will be more finesse to the lines tomorrow night. But what is at issue here goes beyond art or intellect. This is soul territory, and I pray for us all.
Photo courtesy of FANPIX.net.