Thursday, November 18, 2004

Déjà vu All Over Again

My friends keep telling me not to take it so personally, to move on, to get over it, to heal.

I don’t want to heal, I don’t think I can or should. Too much has gone wrong. I have a nagging feeling we have lost our way in this country, and I don’t know how we can find our way back. I could see the handwriting on the wall months and months ago. I still feel like I can see things others can’t, that things are happening that are larger than all of us, that they are evil and destructive, and that by the time this is recognized it will be too late.

There is a cloud of dread hanging over me. I have indeed lived through this before. I remember watching the evening news as a child and seeing the bodies being blown up, young children dying, kids losing their dads, wives losing their husbands.

Why is it happening again? What have we learned from the past? Are we doomed to repeat it endlessly like some Sisyphean nightmare?

There is just so much free-floating pain and heartache in the country. It is like an open, gaping, oozing wound that will not be healed. People keep telling me to let go. I can’t and I won’t. People won’t see what’s right in front of them. Without exaggerating, I can truly say that the great monster fascism has reared its ugly head and is busy entrenching itself into the American consciousness. “I didn’t speak …until they came for me” goes the caveat. It is so late. Don’t people realize how much has been lost already? That in the name of fear we have given up some of our most cherished freedoms?

People admonish me, tell me I should be quiet, that for my own sanity and well-being I should let things go. But I feel such strong physical pain because I love my country so much. Watching this happen, and feeling powerless to stop it, is like watching a loved one descend into drug addiction and death. For we are addicted—addicted to our own wealth and power. We don’t realize that it is all a façade…that all our wealth and influence can bring resentment and hatred as well as respect and admiration, that Wilson’s long-ago vision of a brotherhood of nations was not the delusion of a madman, but prophecy of a necessary truth that he saw years ahead of its time. That we live on a shrinking planet in which we must be part of a community-that we cannot exist in isolation.

Our strength as a nation has always come from being a force for good in the world, a moral beacon to which those less fortunate could look for inspiration. Now they gaze upon us with contempt as our sons and daughters come back maimed or dead, while the unknown sons daughters, fathers and mothers die needlessly as the result of a pack of lies with no end in sight. How can we fight a war against a tactic—terrorism—that will always be with us? We are truly engaged Orwell’s endless conflict : “War is Peace.”

How far away we are from the peaceful visions of John Lennon’s imagination, from Martin Luther King’s beloved community...

John Fogerty’s eerie words and melody—the song that he says came to him in a vision-- haunt me. I awake every day hoping it is all a dream, but instead I am confronted daily by a nightmare that has no end.

1 comment:

  1. Grim, but true. Heartfelt! Bob Herbert's column in today's NYT had some great commentary about the administration: click here