Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

04 September 2005

Ride the tiger down the river Euphrates.

This is not right.

So much is right in my life now. I have a job that teaches me and feeds my spirit and my family. I have a family I love that loves me back. I live in a beautiful town, in a beautiful house, letting the days go by, same as it ever was. The Asian pear tree is in fruit. The lawn is green.

All of this is real and a good way to be. And then there is this other truth, simultaneously real and in the world with my own blessed life, and it is terrible; horrifying; Not Right.

Outside the doors of my life a storm is howling. It seems far away, but it's just on the other side of the door. The storm is real. It's a hurricane that has left thousands of American people dead. It's a genocide in Darfur that has left 300,000 people, mostly Africans, dead. It's a war in Iraq that has left between 24,495 and 27,705 civilians dead.

And there are so many elaborate reasons why all that death happens the way it does. Some of the reasons are beyond our control. Most aren't. There is no real need to make other people die.

There is no real need to make people die.

Not when such possibilities as my experience exist. I am not perfectly sanguine in my personal life, but I live in relative peace and health. If I can have this, what in the world are so many people doing causing each other to die? What is this sickness?

I try to come at this empty and I still don't understand it. It's not that the many elaborate reasons aren't comprehensible; most of the time they even follow their own logic. But I still don't understand it. Why do we let this happen?

This is not right.

I know I am obvious here. There are many people who understand these things better than I do. I rely on some of them the way I rely on a mechanic to fix my car or a grocery store to carry the food I need, though I try always to be conscious about my choice of which to patronize. My philosophy is not self-created; I reflect my experience through my worldview, which is unavoidably interdependent. I seek out humility, not wanting to be right already so much as wanting to constantly learn how to keep being right. I have no answers; I only have what I feel.

This is not right.

The men in charge of my country are causing so much real, palpable, unethereal suffering because of their malice and their negligence that I can only barely begin to understand the enormity of it. Enormity is a word that is often misused to mean incalculably large in dimension, but which actually means "wickedness". Both meanings apply in this case.

George W. Bush is so consistently and so disingenuously wrong in word and action that he is difficult for me to see as an actual human being. The most generous part of me recognizes that some of that has to do with the fact that I interact with George W. Bush through photographs and quotes, but I am only naive, not stupid. The real person at the core of the media-filtered images and words is making choices, and they are such unacceptable choices.

He has no right.

They have no right.


Blogger Wesley said...

It may be obvious, but it's still worth asking. It's always worth asking. It's like a spell you've got to keep repeating so you can remember it's true -- repeat after me... This shit is fucked up.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Frederika said...

I quote you: "I know I am obvious here. There are many people who understand these things better than I do."

Really? Who? No one really understands this great evil.

I believe that lots of words and justifications and thoughts muddle the solid truth of what is good and right. All we need is the truth, to hang on to, and not forget. Some things just aren't right. That's the truth. Don't forget. Children are wiser than adults in these matters, sometimes.

-Frederika (Scandinavian for "Rich in Peace," incidentally)

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

The contrast between the rightness in my own life and the horrible wrong in so many others is the thing that's really been painful for me this past week.

George and I just bought a house. Literally "just bought," closing a week ago. We're now spending what feels like all our money on paint and plumbing and electrical work in order to get the place comfortably livable while we trickle our belongings across the street (once again, literally; at least we don't have to feel guilty about polluting the atmosphere with a moving van). George wanted this so much--he's wanted his own place to work on and his own land to grow vegetables in for such a long time. He's finally getting it, and we even beat our goal of getting into a house by the time he turns 40, since that won't happen until April. He's being a total workhorse now, putting so much heart into it, and I'm doing the best I can.

But doing this, RIGHT at the time when thousands and thousands of people have completely lost their homes and possessions and pets and often lives--there's something really painful about it, and a question of what IS right and acceptable in the face of all this ugly.

We both work in "helping professions" and try to be ecologically and economically sound in our consumer choices. I don't think that anything we've done personally causes harm to others (that we KNOW of--and there's something scary about that not-knowing for sure). But where is it written that we deserve this and other people don't? How can we allow ourselves to feel comfortable? How can we spend our money on ourselves when there are so many out there who need it more?

But we still do. And we still bitch at the higher-ups for not doing enough.

I do not deny that I believe that the entire administration of the U.S. at this point is viciously greedy and corrupt. I don't think I could say the same about myself and my family.

But how much is enough? WHO is "not right"?

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Frederika said...

Laura: You can't wait for everyone in the world to have everything they need before giving yourself what you need. It's better to have what you need, first, and then you are in better shape for changing the world. You sound like you feel guilty for having a house, but don't! You deserve a house, just like all of those suffering people deserve houses. It's okay. Take care of yourself first, and you will have lots of energy and love to give everyone else. At least, that is my philosophy. I hope you don't mind my giving advice. I don't believe a house is too much for you and George.

11:50 AM  

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