Wednesday, August 22, 2012

For This Relief

I would like to claim that I have not been posting much because it's been too fucking hot to sit over a whirring hard-disk fan.

Or because I've been up before dawn and often home after dark.

I've had a month of those, yes.

But that isn't why I haven't been posting.

It's because every so often I look outside my little world; my home, my work, my immediate friends and family, and see what my country has become and I'm just dog-sick and tired.

I just don't have anything decent to say, I don't have anything at all to say other than a long string of expletives, and even though I'm proud of my gift for bad language I'm not sure you really come here for that.

For example, just this week I happened across a couple of news items - one local, the other national - that made me want to throw something heavy and breakable, like a coffee cup, against the wall.

One was the ridiculous tizzy over the whole "legitimate rape" statement of the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.
And my furor was probably not about what you'd think.

Of COURSE Todd Akin doesn't really think that there's a magical "off" switch in your uterus that locks out rapist sperm but lets in sweet-lovin'-baby-makin'-daddy sperm.

Todd Akin thinks that every damn sperm is sacred.

Which makes him no different that forty zillion other Republican douchenozzles that have nothing better to do than blabber on to everyone within earshot about what happens north of women's labia minora as if it's their own personal safety deposit box and Christmas present.

Todd Akin is a Christopathic bag of wind.

That's NOT the problem.

No. The problem is - what the FUCK are we doing talking about rape and pregnancy in the first place?

Or abortion?

Or anything ELSE having to do with "who puts what where" during an election for the U.S. Senate?

Is rape, pregnancy, or abortion now a Federal crime?

Did someone make Senators obstetrician/gynecologists by fiat when I wasn't looking?

Is the World's Supposedly Greatest Deliberative Body now also running a 24-hour-rape-crisis-hotline-and-VD-clinic?

I don't think so.

So...what in the thrice-damned name of Sumner Brooks are we talking about this crap for?

Why would any sane American, let alone a sane American who aspired to membership in the nation's senior legislative body, want to have anyfuckingthing to do with legislating what happens inside a woman's womb?

Are we fucking mad?

Until fetal viability what happens there, frankly, in my opinion, is between the woman and her conscience. Or the woman and her partner. Or her family. Or whoever else she chooses to involve.

The rest of us - as people, as her neighbors, as her fellow citizens, can drink a nice hot cup of shut the fuck up and let her get on with what she needs to do. If she's a competent adult, that's both her privilege and her right.

But...this isn't about private citizenry.

This is about a goddamn election for the U.S. Senate, at a time when that body is confronted with a five-year Depression, a runaway financial industry, rising long-term joblessness, a declining manufacturing base, multiple undeclared foreign wars, secret prisons, who-the-hell-knows-what-covert-nonsense-all-over-the-globe, along with a grab-bag of other assorted idiocies like corkscrewing over "Second Amendment Rights", immigration nuts, Kenyan socialism, death panels, Medicare-vouchers, deficit tomfoolery, and the popularity of pseudo-science or flat-out weapons-grade moron-"science" like anti-vaccination hysteria and young-Earth creationism.

Jesus fucking wept, people! And you have time to natter on about "legitimate rape" and this idiot's ideas of magical contraception?

And - worse - you STILL want to vote for this fucking idiot?

So that was the national story.

And then there was the local story: "...the 34th local family to have a son die in Afghanistan since the war began."

I could barely hold onto the World's Worst Newspaper as I read this, a public keening for the young trooper from Tigard, Oregon, killed on some sort of what-the-fuck mission ("a 48-hour mission to secure an observation post") in Charkh, a part of Logar Province that is described in its Wiki entry as the "Bab al-Jihad" or "Gates of Holy War" dfor the ferocity of the region's religious nuts during the Soviet years.
And let me note that - as a purely personal military observation - what the fuck does "securing an observation post" mean?

An OP is an outpost for a larger defensive position; it helps provide security for that position and, as such, is not generally intended to be secure, defensible or defended, much less fought to establish. If you're fighting to set out a fucking OP, what the hell does that tell you about the security of your main perimeter?

It surprises me not a bit that later in the article the author admits that "...Andrew's unit was pulled off that hill in Charkh after his death because it was deemed too risky for anyone to be there."

But what really got to me was the writer's conclusion:

"I stood in his family's home watching as they wrestled with their son's brave desire to serve his country and their gut-twisting grief. I kept coming back to that flight before boot camp. I hope the passenger sitting beside Andrew in Row 17 turned and thanked him.

I hope someone thanked him for us all."

And it made me want to vomit bile and flame.

It made me want to find my oldest pair of field boots (the ones with all the black worn off to the point where they look almost like the ones the young men like this young man wear walking the barbarous land down to their graves) and find this writer who thinks that the casually meaningless thanks of strangers will return the heart ripped out by grief to the chests of the fathers and mothers, the sisters, and the lovers, and stomp the living shit out of him so he can feel a tiny particle of the pain of those thus bereft by another mite added to the heap of death that is central Asia.

I don't hope someone had thanked this poor bastard.

I wish the hell that someone had grabbed him by the arm and pulled him off of that damn 80-pax on the way down to the departure airfield.

I wish like a sunofabitch that all the precious political savants and military geniuses that thought that it was a good idea to send young men from the suburbs of Portland to fight a goddamn war of imperial pacification in one of the most turbulent and unruly parts of the world were airdropped naked into the hills of Logar Province with a charred Koran shackled around their necks and the words "Fuck You Allah!" pained in Pashto on their asses.

I wish that there was some way to take the round that tore apart the universe that lived inside this young guy's skull and hammer it point-first, misshapen and clotted with the blood and brains of his last moments of life, into the goddamn forehead of every parlor patriot and bumper-sticker Rambo and gung-ho Congresscritter that every talked about "sacrifice" and "heroism".

I wish young Andy was home right now in Tigard, fooling his young life away texting bullshit to his bros, fishing all day, and screwing his pretty fiancee' giddy all night.
I wish a lot of things. I wish my country was smarter, braver, more decent, less greedy and stupid. I wish that I didn't look ten and twenty years into the future and see a harder, meaner, bleaker, stupider United States and feel comforted by the fact that I will likely be too dead to loathe it.

But right now I really wish that I didn't have to think about those things.

So for the next three days I am going away with my family. To a little cottage in an old coastal fort, whose warring days are long past. We will listen to the wind in the shore pines, and the sound of the seabirds crying, and the boom and rush of the surf at night. We will play silly games, and comb the beach for shells.

My daughter is obsessed with going to "Agate Beach", and so - since there are no agates on the beaches of southwestern Washington - I have slunk away to the rock shop and purchased a small bag of "genuine Oregon beach agates" to salt the sands for her to find some treasures.

I will read, and sleep, and laze about. I will make love to my bride, and cook and eat whatever I please and not worry about my diet. I will, I hope, find a still, silent place within to armor myself against my next rude encounter with the rough beastliness of my nation and the large number of its people who seem to want to make it a place I would not choose to inhabit were it my choice to make.
And for this relief, much thanks, for it is bitter cold, and I am sick at heart.


Ael said...

Bread and circuses.

Of *course* you want to talk about "who puts what where" during an election. It is part of the circus.

Alas, the bread pile is in jeopardy. The harvest is a big fail this year and the drought has even caused the *Mississippi* to close.

Much better to talk about sex and fashionable hair cuts.

FDChief said...

It's ridiculous, Ael, and I usually try to ignore it, figuring that prior to the 24/7 cable news era most Americans talked and thought about this stuff but it didn't make the papers so we could pretend it didn't happen.

Now it's inescapable, and a grating reminder that there's a hell of a lot of people who don't seem either interested or capable of the sort of thinking-about-the-same-thing-cogently-for-five-minutes commonsense that makes self-government practical.

Colliding with this foolishness just reminds me of 1) the incredible success the elites have had in ensuring that bread and circuses are all the general public cares about and 2) how vast this reservoir of public stupid is, and how difficult it would be to drag the nation out of it.

Labrys said...

Yes, it's been that kind of week for me, too. My blog has only not been utterly filled with bile on the same two topics because a third one overwhelmed me...the selling of Sioux sacred ground coming up this weekend. The Sioux have been trying to raise enough money to buy back their personal 'garden of Eden'...

But yes, I do think large parts of the population ARE literally mad. I believe in Jungian psychology and I do think derangement has become some kind of collective viral. I also think there are possible solutions to this...but that is too esoteric and a bit crazy to fight crazy to discuss in a comment!

Ael said...

Big picture thinking is in the domain of people who have education and enough leisure time to think about where things are going.

Those who can only spend a little bit of time thinking outside their immediate circle can usually be easily distracted.

However, once the external world crashes into theirs, watch out. People go for immediate solutions. This typically happens when the bread runs out.

Hungry people are unreasonable towards those who still have food.

Leon said...

Enjoy your time off and get recharged Chief, you've got a lot of weeks until all this election silliness is over.

You know, I do feel sorry for you Americans. "Legitimate rape"... Canada should start preparing special immigration forms specifically for you yanks, the 'Escaping Budding Theocracy of Idiots Immigration form' (Form 462/2a).

Rank Bajin said...

Don't worry Chief - the same pricks exist in many other countries too - unfortunately the whole system is set up to preserve them here without much criticism.
Nil Illigitum Carborundum!

FDChief said...

Well, the getaway was pleasant. Mind you, I'm not sure that "relaxing" would be a good description - vacationing with small kids is usually as much work as play. But the play was fun, too, and I enjoyed not having to think about anything outside which beach to go to and where to have dinner.

I've got a busy Monday but I'll be back mid-week with some thoughts, and the decisive battle for August.

Lisa said...

Yes -- why ARE we even discussing these matters on the national stage? It is so easy to get swept along into a stream of thought.

As an aside, reading USAToday's sport's page and their declaration of this momentous moment in tennis (Nadal/Djokovic/Federer), I began agreeing, until I caught my senses. Yes, these are great and powerful players, but there have been intersections of greatness in the past, too. Mustn't just get sucked into the hype.

I do hope the cottage was a wholesome respite. I would love such a place myself.