It's curious, but I've hit a big blog blank. For a while there stuff just kept on coming at me so thick and fast I was jumping around like a Mexican jumping bean, reading, processing, writing several blogs at a time, and making myself more than slightly crazy. It was like being on a hotline to something. Now that we know for sure NOTHING anybody says or does will affect Bush's thinking about this war, and the rest of us (citizens, Democrats, bloggers, reporters) have been rendered helpless and irrelevant in the face of this monolith of refusal, it seems pointless to continue to get one's knickers in a twist on a daily basis. Is this a cop-out? Battle-fatigue? Or just surrender to the inevitable? I'm not sure. According to the most recent Pew Research polls, it seems like nothing significant has changed in the public's mind since the Petraeus report, except that the country is more polarized than ever. This, I have decided, is a result of the toxicity of Bush's polarizing consciousness, which, like a radioactive isotope, contaminates whatever it touches. As Richard Pine stated on the HuffPost this week:
"What's most disturbing about George Bush as a wartime president is that he's such an optimist when it comes to the way things are going in Iraq. In fact, he's taken optimism -- a modest degree of which is desirable in a president -- to a toxic level. And, although it might be working for him personally, it's definitely poisoning the rest of us."
So is pessimism the only antidote? Beyond a certain point, the continuous expulsion of impotent and helpless rage leaves you in a barren place where the self can find no joy, and something like a flat, colorless torpor invades the soul. Why is this? I think it's because we now live in a country that has lost its luster, a country where unhappiness and frustration have settled in and taken root. It used to be that the U.S. was the symbol of a thriving society of egalitarianism, but this is no longer the case. Instead we have become the focus of other countries' hatred, fear, and animosity, largely because of our stunt-pilot president, whose unpalatable optimism seems to emanate (as one blog commentator so aptly put it) from the IQ of a noodle.
I had to use that quote because it made me laugh, and I'd rather be laughing than fondling the idea of humanity's forthcoming (to a theater near you) extinction. But speaking of extinction, let me also quote, while I'm at it, that great chief of the Crow Indians, Plenty Coups, who said in his autobiography: "But when the Buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground, and they could not lift them up again." And so, too, the hearts of "we the people" in the U.S. have been falling to the ground, and it becomes harder and harder to lift them up again.
In Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," the mariner kills an albatross and brings bad luck upon himself and his crew. He becomes an afflicting force because he has shot down a bird of good omen that led ships through icy waters. Because the mariner finds no way to atone for his misdeeds, he is condemned to wear the dead albatross around his neck.
Iraq has become America's albatross, its unatoned mistake.
Maya Angelou once said you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I think I want to add something else to her list: mistakes. Then, when you put these pieces together--the IQ of a noodle, serious mistakes, and no attempt at atonement--what you get are rainy days, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Or, as my mother used to say, if the first button on your coat is buttoned incorrectly, all the others will be buttoned incorrectly too.