Excuse me, but Fuck! Or as my eighteen year old is fond of these days, Fucking shit! Not the most elegant of expletives, but they will do to convey my dismay. This evening my husband and I had a most unpleasant conversation, one we have, unfortunately, had before. Several times. It had to do with my supposed extreme unwillingness to open my eyes and see the truth of the most evil empire the world has ever known, the biggest, baddest, ugliest, most inhumane group of thugs, devil’s handmaidens, and downright nasty human beings ever, who are at this very moment committing the most fiendish acts of torture, killing and atrocities anyone could ever imagine. Who are these evildoers, exactly? Well, it is something like a combination of the CIA, the highest leaders of the United States, and some very clever, evildoing folk who come up with one horrific scenario after the next, in the name of destroying freedom and democracy the world over. All this, over brown rice, sautéed veggies and a nice raw redbeet salad. Who wouldn’t love it?
Me, for one. It is a complicated affair, this political talk between the two of us. I wonder how many couples in their mid 40s and up have such heated political debates during dinner? And in which countries are they most popular? Never mind, back to the ugliness. Apparently, the gist of it seems to be that he somehow wants me to admit (over and over, and quite earnestly) that the atrocities committed by my homeland’s government and rouge organizations of terror are at least equal to, if not far worse, than anything which occurred to certain populations during the Nazi Germany regime. And not only that, but that it is simply weak and paltry of me to be concerned with the health and wellbeing of my family, friends and even the general population of the Unites States, when there is untold suffering and unfathomable horrors happening in faraway lands as we speak, all perpetrated by those on Uncle Sam’s payroll. To which I answer, most genuinely perplexed, ‘What on earth are you talking about? What do you want me to say? To do? My God.’
Okay, we were duped. OKAY!! I admit it, I admitted it the last ten times you brought it up too! All of us hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens who got behind Obama 4 years ago and believed what he stood up and told us, were lied to and cheated. It is a very sad and tragic fact that all that politico talk about hope and change was simply that. If anything, things have only gotten worse. We get it, Americans can see that, do see that. All of these Occupy Wall Street and Occupy xyz city protests are speaking right to the heart of our collective discontent and disgust. And no, it is not a new story. In fact, it is a very, very old story, probably as old as civilization itself. Those who gain power and wealth only want more, and find ever more sneaky and horrible ways to take it. The main difference in the 20th and 21st centuries is in scale. In the days of ancient Greece, Alexander was the guy who rallied the armies and wielded enough power through force to conquer the ‘world’ of that time. Now, the entire planet and basically everyone in it are fair game. Okay, I get it. I see that. I understand why people in foreign countries despise Americans and burn their flag. But. As I told him for the hundredth time, in my only real defense of yet another attack on my country and everything about it, there are many good and decent and loving and kind human beings living in that big land across the ocean. Who also despise what their government and its rogue entities are doing and have done in the name of democracy and freedom throughout the world. In fact I could easily say that I know no one in that country who likes things the way they are, neither domestically nor their foreign policy. I have told him stories of friends and acquaintances who carried signs and protested everything from nuclear weapon policy to entering Iraq to ending food stamp benefits to fighting for the rights of indigenous people in lands south of the US border. I am not sympathetic to the evildoers cause! I say emphatically, barely able to swallow the remainder of the redbeet salad. I am not your enemy, what do you want from me?
As we all well know, it is not easy to be in relationship. Things come up, buttons get pushed. One minute you are smiling and acting lovingly, the next it seems, you are having a most unpleasant argument about something you never even wanted to discuss in the first place. I am at a place in life where the differences between men and women simply make themselves apparent often. This is one of those moments. I would never have this conversation with any of the women I know. This is a simple fact. Okay, I admit I am not friends with any political journalists or freedom fighters. And yet. The women I know, myself included, do care about freedom and democracy. They passionately want people to have good lives, to be able to grow up and love each other and live decently, creatively, harmoniously. We are, as a whole, maybe not so politically savvy as to be able to name places and dates and names of the atrocities, at least, not unless we or those we know personally were involved. But we care. I, and all the women in my life, really do care. Passionately. Heartbreakingly. Gutwrenchingly. But, in the words of Kate Bush in one of her songs, who sums it up, ‘what am I supposed to do about it? We don’t know. But you can’t run away from it. Maybe you’d better face it. I can’t do that. Come on, face it. I can’t do that.’ I wonder what Clarissa would say?
Is there an end or a moral to this little story? Yeah, good question. I wish I could say that we made up, we forgave each other, we moved on. But somehow I don’t think that is the true ending. For there is something much deeper at work here, something deeply disturbed and needing to disturb. I haven’t yet been able to get to the heart of it, to understand what it is in this man’s psyche, and in mine, that needs care, acknowledgement, healing. Any depth psychologists out there willing to give it a shot, please do so in the Comments box. In the meantime, as my dear father used to love to say with a tongue-in-cheek sort of smile, ‘Chin up. Tomorrow is another day.’
- 21st Century Peace Message: Ringing True, Number Seven (ringingtrue.net)