Do you think that as a nineteen year old I wanted to join the military? Do you think that I wanted to see the world, especially Viet Nam? To watch men blown to bits? To have shrapnel and bullets whiz by my head, never with an understanding of why not me? Why them?
Truthfully, I don't know what I did want in those days. What I do know is that I did not want to return from Viet Nam jaded, and forever alienated from others. But if you look real close at the picture above, that is just what is beginning to happen. All those people facing me, wanting the return of their son, their brother, grandson, nephew. And I can only guess what was in my mind. Some of those guesses might be: "I can't.", "You never can go back.", "I'm just not the same, just not who you remember," and I never was.
You would think that one who had just returned from war might be the one with the best understanding of why we were fighting it. A better understanding than those who stayed behind. Surprisingly the only one in the picture who might would have been my father, the man in the checked shirt, a WWII hero who maybe had a vague sort of memory of what it was like. If he did he never said that he did. I was left to sort all of this out for myself.
Had I changed? Of course, and significantly. But what had truly changed was the dawning awareness that this world is not working. This is what alienated me from most everyone in this picture. This thought was a minority view, and it has not even yet begun to dawn on some of you.
So what about this world is not working? It is the way we are raised, the way we then raise our children, and the way we live out the "quiet desperation" of the rest of our lives.
You really don't have to look far for evidence. The opioid problem, the human trafficking, child abuse, sexual abuse, our addictions, our health, and on and on. If we were raised in an affirming, loving way, we would not all be so dysfunctional. Instead we are not acknowledged, and are instead shaped by trauma if not outright violence. The result is a brain chemistry based on negative experiences, energy systems clogged by lower chakra survival concerns and fears, and at heart hopelessness. And maybe some of us have done a better job with our kids, you will recognize them by your karma. And if by some miracle you have succeeded in raising a really good kid, just look at the world you are walking them into.
We could not have prepared our children for the world as it is. A world of division, greed, deception, and rage. What does our future hold? If you have doubts about this google the problems in Germany, or Sweden with immigration, or the recent statistics related to crime in Arizona. Do your homework. So many bitch about Trump, or who's at fault for shutting down the government. All of your elected officials are to blame. We are all to blame. We all live in the past, in negative emotion, in illness both physical and psychological. This manifests as our reality, and the future of our children. Would you rather be right or make the kind of change that would insure the well-being of your children and grandchildren?
I've been angry all day. This is the day the politicians played games and let the government shut down, again. And no, I don't think that shutting down is a big problem. I just think it is hugely demoralizing for our military to know that on a day when they potentially could die defending our system that they are not being paid.
I remember vividly when I was about six years old, my grandfather telling the barber who was cutting his hair that "Nixon is a crook." I have told people this before. And we all now would have to admit that it is true. But what I haven't told is that he added something to that statement. He added: "All politicians are crooks." Sure, he exagerrated some. It is also pretty damn nearly true. Today was a stellar example. They didn't do their job. And we won't do ours, which would be to call them on it, and then vote them out of office. Today they lied, they manipulated, they threatened; basically they did everything devious, and dastardly and not for the benefit of "We The People."
And I suppose that you could have some empathy for these men and women, those crooks of my grandfather's barber shop statement. They are all compromised by their lusts, their perversions. Someone, or some thing with infinitely more power holds them in the palm of their or it's hand. Surely there is no way out for them, but hell.
And it is not just this. It is also those I would call friend, or sister, those who in their naive, cowardly ways would rather prove Republicans wrong, and themselves right, see Trump exposed as an evil being, than talk about where we have strayed. Just answer the damn question, will you?
For surely, none of us are perfect. And we may have strayed so far afield as to never find our way back. Yet, none of us can seem to admit that we are unwilling to have a genuine conversation about where we are at. "We're lost," I say. "No the road is right here." "No it's not." "Sure it is." "It's not we're standing in a shithole."
We have entrusted our lives to thieves, and rather than be found out, will challenge anyone who states the obvious.
How are you doing? I mean really. Are you afraid? Afraid that you health time bomb is ticking away? Afraid that one of your kids might be handed a little pill, and become an addict quicker than you can find out? Afraid that you might lose that job that you hate so much? Or that wife who you stopped loving so many years ago? Or that you might find out that your partner prefers the same sex, or that maybe you do? Yes, the circus came to town, and I guess it decided to stay.
So you ask: Would you get off that train if you had it to do all over again? Probably not. I am disappointed. Disappointed in our leaders, and in each other. I am also an optimist. I have fought the good fight, not just as a soldier, but as a man. I have achieved. Many little things that add up to so much more. And I am, at seventy a grandpa, who loves that little guy so much, and sees the wonder in that laugh, the curiosity, the fascination with this spirit given journey. And he makes me see that I , and all of us were once just the same, unconcerned about our rightness, and just knee deep in life. In love with life, until someone took the time to systematically, in their ignorance pull it all down.
Fall back in love with life. Don't let these demons pull it all down.