A friend of mine from Calcutta once said in his thick Bengali accent, "America's a tough town." As hilarious as that is, it's certainly turned out to be.
Just as so many well-loved, well-knowns before me, I prefer sustainable peace. I loathe killing and rampant destruction, though I know war is sometimes said to be necessary. For some reason, that makes me anti-American. The same hands that wave a Bible and a flag will shoot me the finger for adhering to tenets of those very standards! (Before you accuse me of being a bleeding-heart liberal, please know that I am fiercely Independent and have always been. And I hate that the word "liberal" has been turned into a slur. I also hate that we are now so polarized we cannot even have this discussion.)
Of course I love my country! That is precisely why I have the right to find fault. Who would even think of raising their beloved children without loving criticism?
Why is it such a reprehensible thing to long for an Earth with no borders and one people called humanity? Before you call me a sadly naive idealist, take a look at the historical record. All progress has been achieved via our wildest dreams and...yes...heresies. Our own USA included. Just ask the monarchy that birthed us, the high church that condemned us. And besides, there's no law against wishing.
Can truth still save us? It have to believe it could. It should be pursued with a vengeance. We should all be restless, damned curious and have a healthy irreverence for those in high places.
I just shake my head when I see reporters converging on DC for a scheduled press conference...off to pick up news like a party tray already packaged and tied with a bow. Where did we get the idea that truth can be found in a set-up like that? Government officials call them all by their first names, not to mention little perks on the side, free junkets, inside gossip, yadda, yadda. You have to ask: Is a press release out of a power-funded public relations department going to be anything more than an opiate?
Wake up, little lambkins, and smell the foul air. Clear that pie-in-the-sky from your eyes and see for yourselves what the pols have indeed caked all over us. It ain't chocolate pudding.
Sadly, most reporters have lost their motivation to dig for the real nuggets. Their employers cater to whichever party makes it worth their while to skew the tone of their network and would never air the real truth even if a brave employee were to buck the system and dig anyway. We are soooo screwed.
In reality, there's nothing mysterious about ferreting out fact. Visit Government Documents online or in your library and read official accounts of congressional investigations or even documents from the General Accounting Office. Stay up late to watch C-Span and see what your lovely legislators do to you while you're sleeping. Read transcripts of what our ambassadors have said to theirs in foreign countries...like Iraq. That one will clear your sinuses.
Read some of the foreign newspapers; lots of them have English editions. Read the histories of countries and peoples in conflict; find out why people are hurting, why they are frustrated, why they lash out when no one will hear them. We can't just swallow every sound-byte officials toss us on the tube....we need to keep ourselves immune. We shouldn't blindly accept any leader's insistence on making last year's golden boy this year's despot, or vice versa, nor should we assume that everything out of a politician's mouth is gospel as long as he belongs to our own party. Nobody can hump a duck like another duck, dearies.
Bottom line, we should give as much attention to the motives of our leaders as we would to a prospective mate. We'll have to live together for a long time. If the hard evidence says, despite glib assurances to the contrary, that you're being lied to, placated, misrepresented, or used for a pleasure receptacle while you're asleep, scream like a banshee. If you don't, then you mustn't complain when you plunge off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.
--Jo VonBargen 2012