Friday, December 30, 2011

So Many Issues, 
So Little of  My Patience Left

 You ever wish there really was a time machine ? No ? Wait til you hit middle age. Your fantasies take abrupt changes in theme and this is the sort of thing you might really lust after. I know for myself , physics, archeology, and cosmology would have been definitely on the "to do" list in high school and college.

  Ever since I saw that annoying article by Popular Science in an urgent care waiting room about universe theory, I have felt under-educated in things that really interest me.  Several years, and many frustrating hours of trying to learn on my own later, that regret stays with me. I am still almost as baffled as I was that day my 14 year old son had an ear infection. He calmly tried to explain string theory to me while we waited for the doctor on the paper- lined bed. I got a copy of that article and read it a zillion times. I discovered Stephen Hawking and added his writings onto my personal inventory of things that fascinate and confuse me. Things, I may never fully understand. It would almost be kinder to have that time machine and be able to go back and never have read that article.

 The same goes for my sudden political awareness. It can be quite disconcerting. As a young adult I did a lot of the searching and decided my values. Then I found the Democratic Party. They were the most closely aligned with my own opinions so it was a great match. The years flew by, I was busy raising children, marrying, and discovering I was allergic  to marriage. I faithfully voted my party in elections, watched some news now and then, and I even helped out on caucuses in 2008.

The truth though, is I have been incredibly lazy. This is becoming more evident each day. I had no idea how little I knew. Like my adventures into astro physics, it has been really trying to get up to speed. I thought I had a pretty good handle on things and I was  wrong. I never liked the idea of invading Afghanistan, it brought down the Soviet Union and history has a way of repeating such things. I knew Bush had dragged us into Iraq on faulty intelligence and I was pissed about it. I believe that we did a horrible wrong by invading a sovereign nation. But, to be honest, I really did not give it enough thought. Other than to be really angry that I had actually shook disgraced Senator Larry Craig's hand and believed him when he looked me in the eye and personally told me that we really had no choice, the security of our nation was at stake. That of course, was a flat out lie. Heaven knows where his hand had been before it shook mine.

 I grew up in a family with a tradition of service to our country. My dad was in the Navy. He was a flight engineer. He only stayed in 4 years as I was born and he did not wish to be away from his family. Now he is legally blind and the V/A is taking care of him. He worked 40 years in the mines only to have his medical retirement benefits stripped by some really underhanded company machinations. He never fired a gun at a single soul.

 My oldest son is now in the US navy. He is finishing a tour in Japan where he has been searching for dangerous mines in the waters. It has been ever so trying to not be able to call him.  I have only seen him twice since he got out of boot camp. Again, he has never fired a weapon at a single soul. He will be moving back to the US for his next tour and I am told he will possibly be a funeral director or working on a tug boat.

 My youngest son tried to run away to the army at 18. His dad and I almost threatened to disown him if he did. He wanted to join the FFO program and put a nice fat target on his lovely head. Now as parents, we never allowed our kids to play with guns or even GI Joes when they were little, so naturally we raised two boys who's idea of rebellion would be to go into the service. Well, what do you do? With  the younger one, we finally got him to see reason and he is in college. He still threatens to join the service when he gets frustrated with math and homework.

 My attitude about the military was always shaped by the idea of the US being a force for good. We helped liberate Europe and put an end to concentration camps. We put an end to many conflicts that rightfully needed to be ended. I assumed that is how things were still being done.

 See how naive one can be, even at my age? Imagine my shock when I started reading what we are really doing these days. Drones are killing children. We are policing, not for human rights but because our Oil Companies would like better access to certain parts of the world. It sickens me. I don't blame the enlisted people in the military. I blame those that are responsible for ordering them to do these things. I am FURIOUS with my government. I joined Amnesty International at age 18. I always thought that my country was the one working for the betterment of humanity around the world. I am now learning that we are problem in many cases and not the solution. The more I learn, the sicker I feel. That time machine would really come in handy about now.

 So like my lost youthful education, my lost innocence and my misplaced faith in my government are all things I must come to terms with. I must educate myself further. Every time I think I finally understand, a whole new pile of crazy lands in my lap.  The time for me to be blissfully ignorant is past. Now is the time where I scramble to atone for my own self involvement and laziness.

And then.......... I am gonna make a hell of a lot of noise.

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