Wednesday, May 28

To continue a previous thought, and answer a comment from Modi, below:

Really, [the following poster] Robert has the right of it here. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding.

As for my seeing the world from an American perspective . . . well, that's unavoidable. I'm American, and though I'm rarely (these days) proud of what my country does, I am a passionate believer in the ideals upon which this country was founded. It is the gap between those ideals and our current reality that I find so saddening. I don't think America is "better" than your country, whatever that might be. America is America, which is sometimes a good thing, but more often not.

On the 4th of July (America's Independence Day) a few years back -- not long after the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq -- I found myself watching one of the few surviving Cagney song & dance flicks, Yankee Doodle Dandy, a biography of the unabashed patriotic super-booster, George M. Cohan.

It had me in tears. Because I just can't imagine any more what it must be like to have that kind of uncritical faith in the fundamental rightness of this nation.

When I was in Washington D.C. on tour for Revenge of the Sith, I took an afternoon to walk around the Mall and visit the memorials to by two favorite presidents, Lincoln and Jefferson. I won't go into detail here . . . but I couldn't even look their statues in the eye. Out of shame for what we've let the Bush Administration do to our country.

However: we love who and what we love, despite their flaws. Sometimes because of them. Because we're still a work in progress.

Monday, May 26

I'm not entirely sure what I want to say today.

This, as anyone who knows me will attest, is an unusual state. But I feel I should say something, because today is Memorial Day.

It's common, on Memorial Day, to honor Our Brave Soldiers' Sacrifice for Liberty--usually in the Big One, known in classrooms as Word War II. I'm all into that; my father and mother both served in the Army in the Big One, though neither saw combat (my mother served in the WAC, and my father was invalided out with the initial attack of the rheumatoid arthritis that plagued him for the rest of his life.) Oh, y'know, a couple of my uncles flew bombers, and one even trained guerrillas behind Japanese lines in the Philippines, so the family story goes--these uncles having passed on some years ago, I can neither confirm nor deny these tales, but that's not the issue.

A few weeks ago, the Fabulous Robyn and I passed through San Diego on our way to my sister's wedding on Mount Palomar. Since TFR and I never get a chance for actual vacations, we took a day in SD to do some vacation-y things, including visiting Sea World. So we went to the Shamu Show (the orca performance, which is pretty damned cool, but not germane to the story I'm telling). San Diego, for those of you who don't know, is also home to one of the largest US Navy bases in the world. So as one might suspect, Sea World gets a lot of business from sailors on liberty, and they try very hard to cultivate that business, in a very respectful way. One actually gets the impression that the Sea World management means it--that it's not a cheap-ass marketing ploy. At the Shamu Show, the presenter (who is also the head trainer) came out before the show and asked that all the current soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the crowd stand up to take a round of applause.

They looked a little embarrassed, but they did it.

Then he asked the families of these service members--and the families of all current servicemen and women overseas--to stand up and take their own round of applause. Some of them were crying. I was close to it myself.

Then they asked for all the veterans, and families of veterans, to stand. And damn near everybody was on their feet.

And I still don't know what I want to say about this.

I guess I just think that the best way to honor the sacrifices of our veterans, and the service of our soldiers, and sailors, and marines and airmen, is to not ask them to be killed or maimed in a war we should never have started in the first place. To end the Russian Roulette of tour after tour after tour in a combat zone we should never have created. To outlaw the stop-loss process, so that our All-Volunteer Military can actually be all volunteer. To give these valiant men and women the chance to defend us from the real enemies of America, in Afghanistan and on the Pakistan border and beyond. To give them a real G.I Bill, because a college-educated veteran is the best investment we can make in the future strength and prosperity of our nation. To fully fund and staff the Veteran's Administration, so that our returning veterans can get the medical care so many of them sadly need.

To never, ever, ever again allow a rogue administration to use them to invade a nation who never attacked us. To hold accountable the criminals who wrap themselves in the flag while wiping their asses with the Constitution.

That's all. I guess.