Sunday, September 09, 2007

I have an admission that I am not terribly proud of.

Oh, nothing too sensational or titillating. That’s a little too much to expect from me at this point.

No, this is about how I am viewing what is going on in this country. As anyone who has looked at anything I have written in this blog over the last year, I have been quite upset and depressed about the direction that this country has been taking and the attitudes and opinions of many of our citizens that have allowed and even promoted that appalling direction (i.e., “toward a big flippin' cliff”). I just cannot get a handle on the fact that so many people in this country hold their ideals so dear that they start to ignore reality in order to hold on to those ideals. That, to me, is one definition of insanity.

But here’s the admission. Part of me is sitting back as a dispassionate observer, watching all these goings on, somewhat akin to someone sitting and reading a novel or watching a movie, secure in the knowledge that, whatever happens in the novel or movie, it has no ability to affect that observer. Of course, this is not true. Things that are going on right now have the ability in the future to affect me, personally, a great deal. But that part of me is just sitting back, watching all this, taking it in, and wondering just how big of a train wreck we are going to see.

I have been castigated in the past for admitting this. The accusation is, if I really feel that way about how bad things might get, then it is up to me to get off my big duff and actually go do something about it. On one level, I agree with that assessment. Things don’t happen by themselves. Bad things do not tend to fix themselves. Someone has to force the issue. But part of me has always been an observer. I watch things. I watch people. I love books and movies. I suppose my approach to those things are influencing how I actually view reality. I am sitting back and taking it all in, wondering what is going to happen and how it might all end up.

I am fascinated, at one level, about Bush’s approach to dealing with foreign countries. He expects them to support the U.S. fully, in everything that we do, with no questions asked, no matter how insane, convoluted, hypocritical, or potentially damaging to that other country our actions might be. If the don’t take this approach, then they are “against us”. And for those who really get on Bush’s bad side, he either ignores them totally or threatens to bomb them into oblivion. (The other part of me is appalled and extremely worried about this truly frightening spectacle of a man who seems to view reality the same as he would a game of Stratego. But this post is not about that part of me. Tune in later in the week for more of that.)

I admit that I am really wondering what truly terrible things might occur if Bush goes ahead and bombs Iran. That’s what he really wants to do, given all his speeches in the last few weeks indicate. And he is being pushed by some of his advisors, whom he apparently trusts. Could our Army really be defeated and overrun? What would the ramifications of that be? What if he drops an atomic weapon on someone who has not threatened us? What would the world reaction be?

It’s all very fascinating, if you are able to divorce yourself from the notion that you are actually a participant in our current situation, as opposed to the spectator that I sometimes envision myself to be. It’s easy to be that when you have no immediate stake in the outcome. I have no sons or daughters in the military. I have a job that isn’t going to go away if the stock market collapses. I am about 10 years away from retirement; I can probably ride it all out until then.

Of course, it isn’t like that at all. The repercussions of Bush’s insane actions over the last seven years and his potential actions in the coming year before he leaves office could very well affect me in a very personal, very dramatic, very negative way. But sometimes, it’s easier on the psyche to just assume the “observer” status.

Actually, that may be what is wrong with a lot of the citizens of this country. They do not have the imagination to understand how they, themselves and their loved ones, may be very personally affected by Bush’s actions. I call it a “congenital lack of imagination”.

One part of Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 911, that I will not forgot is about the mother who lost her son in Iraq. Moore interviewed her before and after her son was killed. Before, she was very proud of her son and the military, and she was very supportive of the role the U.S. was playing in Iraq. And then her son was killed. She changed from proud and supportive into a grieving mother who could not understand why her son had been taken away from her in those circumstances. It was very heartbreaking to watch. But after that, my second reaction was, “Well, what did you EXPECT might happen? Did you not think about why we were over in Iraq and the insane rationale for the war we had been given BEFORE now?” See, a congenital lack of imagination. Bad things are always going to happen to someone else, not to me. Not to my loved ones. Not to my country.

I suppose I am a living proof to myself that this observer status that I have really been falling into is a sham, a chimera. Things going on right now really do have the ability to affect me and the comfortable little life that I have carved out for myself. I have evidence, right in front of me, that actions should be taken.

I have fallen into the psychological trap that is affecting the thinking of a great percentage of the rest of this country, and I am rather ashamed to admit it.

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