Thursday, September 22, 2011
I oppose the death penalty because I oppose killing. But I also understand that killing is human. We kill accidentally. We kill in self defense. I have always known that my desire to be a pacifist would be challenged by someone hurting another person, especially someone I love. And I have always known if I were being attacked I might fight back. I understand that life is complicated and we are complicated.
So yesterday there was a moment when we weren't sure what was happening they announced that another man had just been executed. I had my usual reaction of sadness and frustration and then they announced that it was one of the men who dragged James Byrd behind a truck until he was dead. And just for a minute I didn't care that he was dead. And I became aware that I didn't care. And I knew it was duplicity. And I didn't care.
There are lot of good reasons to oppose the death penalty. We know it's not a deterrent. We know things go wrong in the justice system and people are wrongly convicted. We know that it does psychological damage to the people who have to preform the execution. We kill because it's our job. And there have been people who said that they didn't really get the much promised closure.
I read about a woman who had been in the towers and survived. She had a rough time at first but was doing better. She said the death of Bin Laden had helped. I might not trust that intellectually but I would never argue about the emotion.
He was dead. I didn't care.
I'll never be the pacifist I want to be. I'm too angry. But I will keep trying.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Woke up in a bad mood. Went back to sleep even though I wasn't really tired. Had a bad dream. Got on line and got caught up in the kerfuffle.
It's seems all the more silly in light of the news I am also hearing. One family so happy to have two young men out of prison. Another grieving what may be the last day of a life in prison. The world full of stories and ironies and meanings.
My dream spurred a litany of my personal life failures. Distraction is welcome. I'd rather spend time playing with the web. I should probably take a shower and wash some dishes and maybe even mop the kitchen floor.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Then I tried to straighten up a billing issue. Good news was that I'd over paid by seventy dollars, which will come in handy when (if) I ever get it back. The bank says it's paid. The payee says it's not. They're working on getting together. I'm waiting.
After all of that I did hit some Facebook games to try and relax. I could write for hours about how stupid the games are. I burn out on them regularly and quit playing. I get sucked back in by friends who need help. I play until I hit the wall. Today was a bad day in the games. I'm waiting for friends to help me. Can't move on until they do. I'm waiting.
It's the middle of the afternoon and I'm worn out. I did write the post this morning. It felt weak. Days late and dollars short. But I pushed myself. I'm having to push myself every day. Push to finish the vacuuming. Push to do my knee exercises. Push to get to the pool. It's a push. And I don't always succeed.
I had this idea that I should make myself write something every day (even if it's terrible) until I build back some muscle tone. Today was not encouraging. But it started off so well.
Really.This never works for me. Even if I agree with the status I'm not going to repost it as mine to prove anything.
I kept thinking about what happened next. I was comforted to read Krugman in the Times, who articulated what I was feeling.
The fact is that the two years or so after 9/11 were a terrible time in America – a time of political exploitation and intimidation, culminating in the deliberate misleading of the nation into the invasion of Iraq. It’s probably worth pointing out that I’m not saying anything now that I wasn’t saying in real time back then, when Bush had a sky-high approval rating and any criticism was denounced as treason. And there’s nothing I’ve done in my life of which I’m more proud.
It was a time when tough talk was confused with real heroism, when people who made speeches, then feathered their own political or financial nests, were exalted along with – and sometimes above – those who put their lives on the line, both on the evil day and after.
So it was a shameful episode in our nation’s history – and it’s one that I can’t help thinking about whenever we talk about 9/11 itself.
The day of the memorial was more real. I listened to the names being read. I felt tears well up again and again. Memorials are important. Real people lost real family members.
I remember waking up, turning on the radio, getting the news and feeling more dread about what would happen because of the attack than I did about another attack. Dean was here doing his internship with Debbie. I knew he needed to be informed but I didn't want him to be overwhelmed. When he left in the morning I turned on the radio, the television and the computer overwhelming myself. When he came home we watched old game shows. When I took him to the airport to go home the security lines had begun. Everything had changed.
Last year I watched while my 85 year old mother was searched at the airport. She took it all in good humor. Our reaction continues to seem so disproportionate.
I tried to find a link to the special show Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel did but I couldn't find it. I guess it's old news now. It was very good. One of them said something about the attack causing us to flail about scattering our resources.
The flags are all down now. Post book status threats are about other causes. It's not the flags in and of themselves that bother me. It's the demand for agreement. It's the demand that I prove my loyalty to an idea of country. It still makes me tense.