Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You Can't Get There From Here

It's late.
My mind wanders when it's late, and tonight, there is much ground to cover, a lot of it inspiring, some of it poison to the core. Where to begin...

My father was seventeen years old when he squinted to pass his eye exam, lied about his age, and went off to fight in the second world war, as did many young American men.
He joined the Navy, in hopes of regular showers, and was told he had an aptitude for Morse Code, and stuck at a radio on a communications ship in the Pacific. He was surprised that communications ships carried few arms, and worried about "getting his ass blown off." 

Still, he made it home in one piece, went to college on the GI Bill, married my mom (his college sweetheart, a poet) and went to work, forming a partnership with her that he would work & she would run the household. They raised four children and stayed faithful and married until they died, one right after the other, about three years ago.

They lived, for a time, the American Dream.

Before he retired, however, the corporation my dad worked for was sold to a larger one, who dismantled it, including the pension plan he, and others, had counted on.
My father, being the man he was, sued them, all the way to the higher courts of Washington DC, citing labor laws & precedents galore, and finally got back his pension.

This was not the America he fought for, he told me.
Not by a long shot, he pointed out.
He believed, not in fighting, or in war, but in Doing The Right Thing.
We argued a lot, my father & I, about what that was.
When I, too , became an adult, we still argued about it.
But we agreed wholeheartedly on what was not.

Stripping a man of his pension, just to make rich people richer, was among the Nots.

My father, regardless of his beliefs, was killed by a woman who drove through a red light at about sixty miles an hour, even though she should have seen him from a quarter mile away. She just wasn't looking, and killed my father on the spot. He died in the arms of my brother, Doug, who I don't believe has ever fully recovered, emotionally, from this experience.
I can't blame him.
Not one bit.
I can't imagine how anyone could.

When the woman driver came to court, her husband, a New York State Trooper, the state where this occurred, 'knew people'. He went to court with his wife, so the judge would see him there.
She was acquitted of any wrong doing.

This was also not what either of us believed in.

I can't imagine anyone who would, but there it is.
It happens.
A lot.

So tonight, as I think of him, of my mom, of the years they spent believing in the American Dream, my mind turns to the young men and women in uniform today.
Instead of fighting Nazis, who were committing genocide on a large scale, or the Japanese, who had just bombed Pearl Harbor, unprovoked, their experience is very different.

We had a half bright frat boy, a failed businessman, the bobble head puppet of an Oil Empire, as president, and his second in command, a mean spirited ex-jock and former CEO of Haliburton (an oil drilling conglomerate the size of God's ego), invade another sovereign nation, in an attack based on lies. We all know this now. That war spread to Afghanistan, and beyond. It battles on as I write this, over a decade later.
Troops are just beginning to come home.

But besides the realization that they fought, many to the death, in an illegal war for oil, they may well wonder what they are coming home to.

There are not enough jobs for them. 

The Veterans Administration is horribly inept, and these soldiers are barely able to make ends meet.
They suffer from mental, emotional and physical trauma the likes of which you & I can only fathom in our worst nightmares.
Still, there is little, or nothing for them here, nothing to accommodate those very people who risked their lives, put their lives and families on hold, and went off to the Big Lie, because they believed.

They believed in America.

But the America they believed in, the same one my father went off, as a mere boy, to protect, the same one that millions of citizens invested their lives, their families, their childrens' welfare in; it just isn't there any more.

While they were gone, while you & were watching TV, while Honey Boo Boo was wretching on the screen, and Lindsey Lohan was front page news on the check out line, and the Latest iPhone Lines went around the block, it vanished.

It went up in a cloud of lies and deliberate malfeasance.
It disappeared in groups of Senators and Congressman signing a pledge to some asshole who won a civics contest when he was 12, by writing up a pledge not to raise taxes, and has clung to it ever since, because without it, he is a worthless piglet of a man, and with it, he is the most powerful lobbyist in the country, even if it is by an act of treason.
And yes, make no mistake, demanding that Elected Officials who have sworn to uphold the constitution violate that trust by signing allegiance to him is an act of treason. More certainly than a soldier leaking film footage of other soldiers killing civilians is. Why is that man in prison and Grover Norquist on National Television?

Because it's not America any more.

It disappeared when corporations were given the same rights as you & I, regardless of whether they are even solely American Corporations. Regardless of whether the members of those corporations get to vote, again, as individuals.

It vanished when bankers were told they were 'too important' to be jailed, and celebrities were given hand slaps for the same crimes that cost the rest of us huge portions of our lives behind bars.

It dwindled when prison became a profit business, and a harmless herb remained vilified as a 'dangerous narcotic', a stigma once used by a powerful newspaper man to save his wood pulp industry from hemp, and is still so, if only to appease God Botherers and fill the bank accounts of Prison Owners.

It slipped away when hate became acceptable, and the name of God was used to persecute anyone too 'different', to subjugate women, minorities and the poor.

It is falling through our fingers now, as a small group of a few, highly paid officials place their own greed above the health of a dying nation.

The Koch Brother & Rupert Murdoch don't care if it dies.
They will simply buy up the remains, call up their own armies, and drive us into the ground.
That, in fact, is The Plan. 

We are being systematically controlled, diminished and our rights are being taken away at an alarming rate. Even as we cry foul in numbers as high as 75% of Americans, we are ignored.

So, in the name of my father, of your father, whether he was born here or not; in the name of your own mother, in the name your children and mine, I have a pledge of my own for you.

Get involved.
Get mad.
Get fucking ANGRY.

After you read this, share it with your friends.
Find out who your congress person is, your senators, your city council members, your mayor, your governor.
Put their numbers on your speed dial.
Save their email addresses to your desktop.
Do the research to find out which lobbyists they associate with, and what those people ask of them. I guarantee you, little of it will be in your best interest.

Tell them what you think.
Talk about this with your friends.
Make a collective effort.
Take your fucking country back.

Because if you don't...

The seas are rising.
Super storms are ripping our cities apart.
Yet Oil Lobbyists are fighting against solar development as they shit in our oceans. They tells us Global Warming will 'make it more comfortable'.
If it even exists.
They are collecting about eight billion dollars a YEAR of your tax money as corporate welfare. Isn't it enough that their owners live tax free, and immune from prosecution?

Churches are influencing law, based on their own belief system, trying to force those of other faiths to abide by their insane edict, yet operate tax free, under protection of law. Why is that? Why should a group of people you've never met decide how you should live, and what you can do with your body, based upon their belief of an invisible force, or being, so far as to have the laws of our country changed to accommodate them, yet are excluded from the same rigors we endure, while our voices go unheard?

Because America is slipping away.

I don't like that.
I don't want that.
And I don't believe it is The Right Thing To Do.

My dad used to tell me these things.
Sometimes, we would laugh in frustration, and I would tell him,
"You can't get there from here."

He would laugh out loud.
And when he was done, he would tell me,
"Yes you can, David. Just don't give up."

So that's what I'm asking you.
Don't give up.
And that means not giving in.

Stand up, make those calls, send those emails, talk about the hard shit, and work through it, in your head, in your conversations, in your life.

We have all been complacent long enough.
Now it's time to pay the piper or call another tune.

I'm not really feeling the current theme too much.
How about you?

It's time for a change.
Let's get there.
We can do it.
Even from here.

(thanks dad. i miss you)

1 comment:

Christina said...

Well said and beautifully written.