Monday, October 23, 2006

Limits Of Denial

More mayhem, chaos and mass murder in Iraq over the weekend, brutality so redundant at this point that even mentioning its redundancy is redundant. Every day we read another headline of 44 killed here, 37 bombed there, 15 US soldiers killed the other day with more dying today and tomorrow. And on and on it goes. Bush, of course, is stubbornly oblivious -- indeed, criminally so, as he pushes his arrogant and stupid policy, to borrow from US State Department official Alberto Fernandez. It appears that Bush is going to grind out this disaster up to the minute when he relinquishes his control, handing his successor a rotting, bloody corpse before he heads out the door and into a lucrative private life.

For us out here, however, there is little it seems we can do, or desire to do, for that matter. I've harped on the general inaction by the majority of Americans in reaction to this daily outrage, as well as the determined effort to remain as oblivious as Bush. Still, I wonder if averted eyes and hands cupped over ears seriously works anymore. A vast number of Americans have no fucking clue about the modern Middle and Near East, much less its recent history, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the endless reports of barbarism and despair aren't seeping into people's unconscious. There seems to me a growing ugliness and unease in Americans, more so than usual, though there are other factors to consider, like the economy, which in my part of the country is in shitty shape. White collar jobs are being eliminated or compressed, and the blue collar world struggles as it usually does. Add a seemingly endless war into this mix and people begin feel the pressure. I see this nearly every day. It breaks your heart when not contributing to a low level of fear and anxiety.

Take the note that the boy brought home from school late last week. I can't go into great detail, but his school and another one nearby have received written threats. Local police are investigating, and the school's administration urges calm, but I'm sorry, this is pretty unsettling. Now, it might well be some young assholes playing "domestic terrorist," like that dipshit kid in Milwaukee who "planned" to detonate dirty bombs in various NFL stadiums. Then again, it might not. The school is essentially locked down during the day, and care is taken when the kids go out for recess. Our son hasn't said anything to us about it, nor we to him, so I don't know how aware he is of any conceivable threat. But after what happened to those Amish girls in Pennsylvania, let's just say that I'm not feeling all that secure at the moment. There are a lot of privately-owned weapons in Michigan, owing to the state's huge deer hunting industry. It wouldn't take much for some lunatic to walk into a local school and start killing kids. Again, I'm probably overreacting, and I hope that's the case. But as I've said before, this is an especially violent, desperate time. And receiving notes about possible threats from the hand of my young boy does little to soothe this old man's nerves.

Unlike Bush, we the average people cannot afford to live in denial, to the extent that denial is even viable anymore. Like so much else in American life, pretending that things are swell is increasingly reserved for those who can buy their way out of the nightmare. The rest of us must experience it with open, bloodshot eyes.