I read a Facebook post that moved me almost to tears. “Almost” is a slight exaggeration. The post was made by a woman whose seventy-year-old father had served in Vietnam. Her father and another soldier broke a host of rules and left their base for several days of unapproved rest and recuperation after a period of horrific, intense experiences in battle. Her father never saw the other soldier again and has wondered, all these years, whether he made it out of the hell-hole of the Vietnam war. The woman who posted the note was looking for her father’s savior, the guy who joined him in an unapproved time of peace in a monstrous time of war. I shared the post, in the hope that the two men will be able to reunite and share their experiences. Maybe they can bring closure to a time of their lives that was unimaginably ugly.
I wonder why it seems so hard for the average American to come to grips with the fact that the Vietnam war was an embarrassing stain on our nation and its history, yet simultaneously appreciate and honor the men and women who fought that unjust war? The people who went to war did not go because they wanted to fight. They were ordered. And many of them did not have any idea of the genesis of the war; they did what their country asked of them. They knew what they were told. They responded to the draft or to urgings to join up to “serve your country,” without fully understanding what they were being asked to do. And it wasn’t just them. The rest of the country, save a loud and ultimately victorious group of anti-war activists, blithely accepted the “need” for the war.Why do Americans feel compelled to be so black and white about everything? It’s either “love this country or leave it,” or “my country, right or wrong.” What utter bullshit. People who love their country fight injustices that would sully the name of the country. People who love their country do not blindly accept that its every action is right and just. People for whom rabid, unchecked patriotism is an absolute requisite for citizenship are horribly, insanely misguided. Disagreement with a policy does not equate to dismissal of the people who are required to implement the policy.
I am biased. I am biased against willfully stupid people. Willfully stupid people belong in cages, where they are watered, fed, and treated like livestock. Incidentally, I am in favor of humane treatment of livestock. I’ll happily feed and water them, but I won’t ask them to make public policy or contribute to society.
That having been said, it’s on to other, more positive things. In just a few hours (after I sleep and then wake), I will pick up a group of fellow writers and will drive to Little Rock to participate in the Arkansas Writers’ Conference. I’m looking forward to hearing the speakers, talking to other writers, and learning whether any of my several writing contest submissions are recognized with prizes. Frankly, I think my odds are low, but I would love to be surprised. After the conference, a group of us are going to dinner at Macaroni Grill; I haven’t been to a Macaroni Grill since I was a mere child (or close). One of our contingent is a fan, so we’ll happily visit the restaurant; it will be an opportunity to be together in a social setting. I’ve said for a long while that one aspect that’s missing from our local writers’ club is the opportunity for frequent socializing. Writers can’t be writers without the company of other writers and a little wine. Or beer. Or hard liquor. Or…well, you know.
Just so I won’t forget to document my day, dear diary, I want to go on record as saying a guy came by today to look at the deck. He says I’ll hear from him Monday with separate bids on the following: 1) replace all deck boards; 2) replace deck ballustrade with new railing, using metal spindles in place of wood; 3) power wash, replace expansion boards, and seal driveway; 4)repair woodpecker damage on rear of house; 5) power wash, paint, and finish entire house. All I need, I’m sure, is a cool one hundred thousand dollars to pay for all this. We’ll see. At least I will have a bid. (Though I’m still waiting for a bid from a guy who came out last week and said I’d have a bit in “a day or two.”)
Have they legalized preemptive euthanasia yet? I know of some candidates. (This slipped out without my knowledge or consent.)
Some friends will visit a week from Friday (just passed). They will bring beer, brisket (as in home-prepared corned beef), homemade rye bread, and an unquenchable desire for pastrami. The idea is that I will smoke the homemade corned beef brisket, which will result in pastrami. I trust my friend to know what to tell me to do. I am delighted to have the opportunity to do this! And, in anticipation of this fabulous taste-fest, I’ll head over to a local brew-pub later this week to buy a few growlers of ale and beer and such. Next weekend promises to be a wonderful experience of (as the female component of the friend pair says) “Men, meat, smoke and booze! What a weekend!!”
For those of you for whom this is appropriate, I wish you an absolutely orgasmic weekend!
Oh, yes, indeed!