Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's Mourning in America

I was a baby when the Vietnam war was going. I had cousins who fought in that war, uncles who fought in either the Korean War or WWII. Thankfully, none of them died in any of those. But it was a reality of the 20th century that every generation has a war, and every man in that generation has a good chance of being drafted to go fight it. It was difficult for me to register for the draft when I turned 18, but my dad advised that I do it and decide what I do if the draft happens. *

Literally fighting for my country scared the crap out of me, especially if they were going to be non-defensive wars, as the trend clearly indicated. A draft today would probably be a spectacular failure. All the draft dodging that W got lambasted for would probably be SOP for the privileged class. Not just the kids… I can’t imagine a whole lot of PARENTS these days going along with their kid being drafted to fight some war for oil.

I am starting to think that in some way, 9/11 memorials have taken the place of the draft in terms of making people feel connected to wartime as a country. And perhaps that’s why there’s so much vitriol about any resistance to going along with the memorialization and the National Anthem. And I’m realizing that both of those are being used in a much more fascist way than I ever expected. "YOU WILL STAND FOR THE ANTHEM, DAMMIT! YOU WILL SHUT UP ABOUT THE IRAQI VICTIMS WHEN WE ARE MEMORIALIZING AMERICANS, DAMMIT. WHY ARE THESE PLAYERS TELLING US WHAT THEY THINK INSTEAD OF JUST PERFORMING FOR OUR AMUSEMENT?"

When I visited Hiroshima in 1992, it happened to be the anniversary of the bomb. There were so many peaceful memorials, especially in the park right where it went off. I appreciated them, I mourned with them. But by the end of the day, I had noticed that the Japanese were taking no responsibility for, you know, TRYING TO CONQUER ASIA. It was all victim talk. In fact, I believe there wasn’t even an official apology until after that.

I hate to say it, but America is looking as blind about 9/11. Yeah, it was a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened. But America has a definite hand in driving desperate acts by an entire region, and certainly going and killing a million and a half Iraqis in response doesn’t make us look like the best keeper of the biggest armament. I hoped the bonding from 9/11 would lead to greater understanding of how the world is connected and the importance of compassion from both the upper and lower hands. I feel like I’m seeing the opposite. There are way too many Americans who prefer polarization for its simplicity.


* To be fair to Dad, he wasn't saying "Avoid any draft." When I said, "What if we get attacked right here in California?" he said, "Then I'm going down there and fighting myself." That was a great lesson in properly-placed patriotism.