I do not share many opinions for or against most political stances in our day. I have before and will again but mostly it seems a waste of breath, a waste of faith, even, to believe in the government or a man to make changes you wish to see come to be- or perhaps to advert from changes you wish not to see come to be. And whilst this is true, I certainly make no assumptions of support, nor lack of support, for the current war/wars…on terror or whatnot.
To say it is obscure to most of us Americans (humans, mayhaps), to consider war as an actual, true event is an understatement. Not many everyday folks can mentally or emotionally comprehend standing in a field of blood or operating machinery that will destroy every living being in it’s path. We can only picture the helmets, the mud, the dust, the heat, the cold, the fear, the pride, the terror, the pain, the honor. We cannot understand it deep in our beings as only those who have stood there in those places can.
often all the time. No, literally, I read and type things in my head as I go about my day. This is considered odd when I have shared it before. But it is as it is. I read S-T-O-P and my mental fingers type it at every stop sign, likewise for every road sign, street name and building identification. I am not sure I could stop it and cannot remember not doing it. And I’ll confess I do it while you talk to me as well. Don’t worry, I am listening.
And also, I read often. Books of all kinds. I sometimes go to the library and choose books by their spines. Or their covers. Sometimes I take suggestions from friends, reader blogs or websites. I certainly download many free Kindle books and try out samples of all sorts of books from all sorts of genres. I am almost always reading something (just check my purse- if it’s good you won’t find me without it, even to run errand in the car- hey, you never know how long the stop light might be). And recently I have been reading several that circle around war, one or another.
In one I finished recently, amist the World Wars, I thought about how war in the past involved every person. It wasn’t just that you might know someone or might know someone who knows someone who is married to a solider. It is that war caused national attention…national support. Patriotism. A regard for heroism, bravery, necessity. Respect. But truly sacrifice. Giving up popular groceries, gas, things we consider our right nowadays. I wonder what that looks like to the ancient veterans we walk amongst today. No wonder they find us disrespectful, irresponsible and selfish, yes? The way we observe soliders and war now are altogether different than 80 years ago. Is that progress or disenchantment? Or does that show our decline as a society? A severe disregard for whatever isn’t directly in front of our faces? An inability to see anything beyond our little bubbles of life? I am certain this a matter of your opinion. Regardless of it, I just cannot help but wonder why. Why do we care so little and in the past so much?
I am reading now a long series of novels surrounding Scotland in the mid-1700’s. It is perhaps my favorite books by far, this series. I’m struck by a renewed love of history of other cultures as I read, knowing much of the bones of the stories are true or based on truth- and actually historical characters. Likewise to my curiosity about America in the 1940’s, I am searching out my thoughts on Scotland in the 1740’s…an entire portion of the nation almost entirely wiped out by a sense of duty to someone they may or may not have agreed with. And they may or may not have been right in the first place. But they stood and they fought and they were loyal and faithful and courageous and strong. And every single person in the country was deeply affected by the loss of the Highland clans of Scotland. Alas, they still are. But why? Why did they care so much for their countryman, in a sense of honor while it can be asked whether we could care any less for our own soldiers? Where are they? What are they eating? Are they alive? Are they ill? Are they afraid? Are they cold? Hot? Missing their babies? Are their families being cared for? I don’t know these answers. Years past, it would be all we thought of, talked of and prayed of for years on end. Why? What has changed us so much?
I fear the answer has nothing to do with politics. But of selfishness.