Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some observations

Over at Shipwrecked in South Carolina, there was a series of observations. I made some observations of my own, which I think need to be made in response.

I can't speak for anyone else. I can only speak for me.

I stayed up many nights, praying for my dad's safety, praying that he wouldn't have to use the gun I saw him practicing with. I woke up in the middle of the night, knowing something was wrong, but with no chance of finding out what. I crocheted on a blanket for him through sleepless nights until my fingers were numb.

I wake up in the morning and thank God that my dad is here again, in body at least. I write to my representatives, knowing that my parents taught me the responsibility of citizens to be part of the governance of this country.

I go to work with a splitting headache because my leave was exhausted 2 months ago, with constant travel to visit with my mother who has been doing her work plus keeping my dad's business going while he was deployed.

I don't wear a t-shirt, unless I found it secondhand because I have no idea under what conditions that shirt was made - what child was kept at work 18 hours to make it. Besides, my tax refund went to care packages, so I'm not going to spend money on a shirt I can only wear 2 days a week.

I, like most Americans, do not have a maid, nor am I likely to get one any day soon. After I get home, I'll have to find the energy to pick up the living room, make dinner, wash my hair, and suck up and soldier on.

My cell phone is a treasured connection, full of possibility. Perhaps today, I'll hear from him, or maybe he'll answer an email.

I hear that soldiers are being "extended" and rage at the radio until my husband turns it off.

I worry when a friend writes that his ship will be leaving soon, and they expect to be sent later in the year to the sandbox.

I am angry because my dad's loyalty and service are being abused.

I criticize my government when the wounded are housed with rats and other vermin after they've come home. I criticize my government when my dad is given the wrong body armor. I criticize my government when billions disappear with no accounting while soldiers are sent unsafe equipment. Damned right, I criticize my government.

I criticize my government when it ignores the commission it created and puts even more lives at risk. I criticize my government because my dad put his life on the line for me not to live in a tyranny, and because there is more than one way to live bravely. My dad helped to teach me that words tend to solve more than fists.

I criticize my government when I learn that they are employing torture. Guilty? Innocent? The waterboard doesn't know the difference.

I do not and will not joke about the war. I said goodbye to my father, the taste of bile still in my mouth, because there was no time to brush my teeth after I vomited from worry.

I hear his voice from half the world away, and can't feel at peace, even in a bustling farmer's market - right between jars of apple butter and handsewn aprons.

Despite my heartbreak, I smile bravely, knowing he takes strength from his family.

I am on call. No matter what I am doing, it stops if the cell phone rings. And I smile, because he can hear the difference.

I know the world is a better place because of him. I know that when he is here, he treats people, often people who have little money. I have known him to treat people for nothing. I pray that my government will leave enough of him to allow him to continue to improve the world.

And feel free to link, email, or whatever. I don't want the lies to stand unanswered.

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Blogger Don said...

I am with you in spirit and sometimes thought. I too am frustrates as are most of us that our government no matter which party or persuasion fails to act decisively to end this quagmire. We can as citizens refuse to lose hope. We must keep hope alive that we can and we will overcome. Martin Luther King won and so did Mahatma Gandhi and we will too. "When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. --M.K. Gandhi.

7/10/2007 12:19 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

One thing the military has taught me is that they're not going to give me what I want, so I'm going to have to work hard. And they also taught me that I have the strength to keep going. I think I'm going to add We Shall Overcome to my list of songs to learn on the banjo.

I am unwilling, however, to allow the sort of statements I responded to to stand unanswered.

7/10/2007 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your response hit me pretty hard because you must personally face the consequences of what people in power decide. I have the guilty benefit of existential distance from the war. I pray for your continued strength and wish you a safe and expedient return of your father and all of the endangered soldiers who's lives and commitment and honor are being defiled.

7/10/2007 2:21 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

Shipwrecked makes an awful lot of very shallow assumptions about a lot of people s/he doesn't know. Even ignoring the most frivolous ones, such as the maid (maid? Ha ha--I am the maid at my house!), shall we take a moment to remember that the [alleged] right to criticize our government is one of the things that sets us apart from dictatorships such as, um, Iraq? Were these people complaining about criticism of the government when Clinton was in office, or were they throwing rotten eggs at him for something that should have been a personal matter and not a state one, anyway?

Or how about the notion that one can support the troops even while opposing the war because we're not dumb enough to believe that the troops started the war or were responsible for the foreign policies that created the conditions that led to 9/11, nor were they responsible for the misinformation, abuses of power, or outright lies perpetrated by the current administration? I'm not against the troops. I think they're been sacrificed to the Bush administration's ego in a "war" that we cannot "win", whatever exactly that means, and I want them brought home.

7/12/2007 11:02 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Shipwrecked did not write the original piece. Apparantly, it's been going around the email circuit - and I've seen a couple other blogs which have alternate texts of the stupid thing by now.

Shipwrecked is a naval veteran who opposes the administration over the war, as he made clear in a comment there. I think the title is an alternate spelling of whoa!

7/12/2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

Whoops, sorry. Thanks for setting me straight.

7/13/2007 8:48 AM  

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