“This is my world, and I am: the world leader pretend. This is my life; and this is my time.” — R.E.M.
I do not understand how my Red State neighbors can’t see that this is our world war. It’s not like post-9/11, with no discoverable, definable enemy. It’s not like Vietnam, with murky-at-best motivations and no sense of costs versus benefits. It’s not like Korea, settling old scores and setting up the pieces for a different kind of geopolitical game.
This is like World War II. There is a clear, immediate threat from a definable enemy. A proven evil. We have been getting our asses kicked across the globe and it’s time to launch D-Day; unify, plan, coordinate, sacrifice together, risk one big push, storm the fucking beaches, right into the teeth of it. Somebody has to go first, and we all have to back them up.
Instead, my neighbors, unseen fellow citizens, co-inheritors of the astonishing legacy from our grandparents, who did all of that, in real time, without knowing the eventual outcome — without knowing if they could even succeed — sacrificed sons, fathers, lives, dreams, families, health, all of it… instead these decendants of a legitimate triumph of order over chaos, of value over meaninglessness, stand on our own shores, milling about, shouting accusations, pointing their weapons at one another. Friendly fire.
Somehow not — irrationally; I want to say “insanely” — somehow not seeing that the enemy is winning. That the enemy cannot be appeased, will never surrender. Don’t see, perhaps because we are legitimately terrible at educating people against their will and baser instincts, despite being the wealthiest and most powerful conglomeration of people in the history of civilization (or, wose, perhaps because of it?) — don’t see that geometric progressions are a thing; that hockey-stick graphs don’t look like a wall, when you’re cruising up them, until it’s too late; that, by definition, there are no signs of a black swan event before it happens, but the consequences of allowing one to play out, once it begins, span generations.
And, worst of all, to me, is that they are not seeing that if they keep at this pace and facing, they’ll eventually start shooting at each other, at Us. That they’ve already started, when they go about with masks at half-mast, noses revealed for a bit more comfort and, probably, silent protest over being asked to join in a fight for our collective good. When they spend precious, fleeting energy conspiracy theorizing about a stolen election. When they ignore science and math and experts with advanced degrees and bleedingly-obvious evidence — hospitals so desperately full that they tell the ambulances to stop bringing the people who need help.
I don’t understand how they can’t see that they are actively killing their friends’ parents; friends of friends whose eulogies they could literally trace through their Facebook feeds, if motivated to know; unseen strangers with imperfect health; and, of course, as always: the unblamable poor and meek and powerless across the whole human spectrum.
I don’t understand; they don’t see. I never will; they probably won’t. And so we wait it out, and fight a worthless, stupid civil war amongst ourselves, when we could do so much and be so strong and good and whole togther.
I’m sorry, kids, that we fucked this one up so badly; going all the way back to when we could and should have learned the hard lessons about unified purpose and the unavoidable need to constantly replentish our sense of shared purpose. I’m sorry, MJ, that I couldn’t have predicted for you that this was coming, so we might have prepared ourselves a little better. I’m sorry we didn’t, somehow, somehow, do better to leave you and all those precious ones a slightly less damaged, better world to inherit.
I will try better, the next time. But first, we need to win this war.
“I have been given, the freedom, to do as I see fit. It’s high time I raze the walls that I’ve constructed.”