A Letter to Americans about Afghanistan, from the Margins of Empire

Kenn Orphan gives us a lot to think about in this post. Read it, think on it, and share it.
Larry

Kenn Orphan

Dear Americans,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you on Afghanistan, as it sits amongst the rubble of another indifferent imperial folly with the dread of more fundamentalist authoritarian terror on the horizon. And especially on the American public’s disconnect from its own government’s culpability in spreading misery there and throughout the Global South. I wanted to talk about reflection too.

I wanted to talk about twenty years of drone bombing civilians like a grandmother picking okra in her field, incinerating people, even in hospital, of Marine night raids on terrified civilians, including women and children. kicking in doors, torching villages. Twenty years supporting and propping up a corrupt Afghan proxy government even though the US intelligence were informed countless times of their corruption. Even though the Taliban will likely be worse, let’s not pretend that these last 20 years under American occupation has been a bucolic 4th of…

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The Daily Grind


I grind my teeth a lot these days. It’s a new habit.

About the only times I don’t do it are when I’m eating or sleeping, and I’m not totally sure about the sleeping.

I think it’s rooted in anxiety.

I’m just really at a loss for what to say, anymore, people. That’s why it takes me so long to write anything these days; I’m just stupefied by what I’ve seen these last few months.

In my 62 years of existence on this planet, I have never seen my country in as sorry a shape as it’s in now.

Whether it’s climate change, COVID vaccines, election results or America’s racist history, there are lots of folks who are so deliberately ignorant of facts (and so in your face about it), and so blindly accepting of the most outlandish fiction ever created, it could make my head explode.

And I don’t know what to do about ‘em. They’re dug in. They will not listen.

That’s maddening. Heartbreaking. Even dangerous.

And that last part really scares me. It gives me nightmares.

The only bright side I can see is, they’re in the minority. Reason and common sense, along with compassion for others, can still be found in this country in great supply, fortunately.

But not a day goes by that doesn’t give me a reason to grind my teeth. At the brazenness, at the endless lying, at the defiant middle finger being directed at our democracy.

Folks, America is being tested as it hasn’t in a very long time, and it will be up to us to answer this challenge, in whatever way we can. The stakes are just too high.

What can you do? What can I do? It’s time to decide, and to act.

I just hope my teeth don’t get ground all the way down to the gums.

Exhale

It’s official now.

Joe Biden is President of the United States. Kamala Harris is the Vice President.

And donald trump is outta here.

I’ve been holding my breath since Election Day for this moment. Through all the $#!t trump and the Republicans in Congress have put us through from that day to this, up to and including the violent insurrection orchestrated by trump and carried out by his rabid followers.

Now we’re on the other side of that, and hope is returning to my consciousness.

Somewhat.

I mean, let’s face it, there’s a lot of mess to clean up from the last administration. From the coronavirus response to international relations, to the environment, to racial unrest, to the deep and bitter political divisions among our citizens, it’s still easy for me to be pessimistic about our future.

But running trump out of town is an important first step, definitely. I won’t miss him a bit.

Let’s all breathe out, now. The page has turned, and a new chapter begins today.

I will hold on to what hope I do have, that this country can recover, and learn, and become stronger, and not fall to pieces, instead.

Fingers crossed, America.


Live For Today (Because Tomorrow Will Suck)


It’s probably the depression talking, but I tell you, the future looks just so bleak to me anymore. To wit:

No matter who gets elected in November (please, Joe!), this country is so deeply, bitterly, hopelessly divided, I see no chance for reconciliation. In fact, I think sometimes it might come to war.

The coronavirus keeps on infecting, and killing, lots of people, especially here in the States, in no small part to the selfishness and ignorance of so many people who simply can’t be bothered with it.

Climate change is happening all around us, and time is running out to do something about it, and I’m not optimistic about us Americans doing our part. Again, selfishness and ignorance; also, arrogance.

(And I feel so sorry for the children who will inherit all this $#!t.)

On a more personal level, I’m at the age where more of the people I’ve known and loved all my life will be passing on, and I can’t bear to think of saying goodbye. To say nothing of whatever ailments await me the older I get.

You see why I don’t write so often these days? I’m just Mister Sunshine, right?

I know I shouldn’t be this way. I just have a hard time finding anything to look forward to these days. So I just figure I need to take each day as it comes, and see if I can extract anything good from it.

Sorry to bring you down, folks. Maybe next time, more cheerful. Like I said, the depression probably has a little too much of my mind lately.

What Makes A Nation Great — Part III

My friend Jill has written a brilliant three-part essay on America as it is vs. America as it should be. This is the third part. Do yourself a favor and read Parts I and II first, and see how much you agree with it. I agree with all of it.
Larry

Filosofa's Word

In Parts I & II of this project, I spent a great deal of time pointing out the things that, in my view, keep the United States from being ‘great’.  In truth, the word ‘great’ is a superlative that sets my teeth on edge anyway, but it’s something we should always strive for.  If we strive for greatness, perhaps we can at least achieve ‘goodness’.

Make no mistake … despite its many flaws, some potentially fatal, there are good things happening in this nation, there are things that should give us hope for the future.  I didn’t want to end this project without pointing those out too.

A nation is only as good as the people who inhabit it, and we have, in this nation, millions of good people.  Every Wednesday, I write about some of those good people.  Most all of the people I know in this country are…

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