Monday, April 26, 2004

I'm still trying to reach someone who can tell me what will be happening with my son. If they close down the facility where he is, where will they place him? How will they place him? Why would they shut down Lake Katrine? I get to leave phone messages, tell my story to secretaries and get increasingly aggravated. IN the mean time my oldest sister is sending me forwarded emails with glowing pictures of strong chinned American soldiers in Iraq with pithy political slogans......Go Army! The Iraqis are thawing out frozen blood in toilets because the Army has blocked the roads to a hospital. The same Army, or Marines shooting up ambulances because the "bad guys" sometimes use them for cover. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just that anybody not wearing a green USA uniform is fair game. In the mean time, as I said, no one can tell me where my son might be tomorrow.

I read about an Iraqi mother whose son was shot up by our boys in green. They took the bleeding boy away on a jeep but would not allow the family to come along. They saw the boy had died and dumped him on the sidewalk a few blocks away. It took several hours of searching for the family to find the body. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not, but I recall during the Viet nam War hearing these terrible stories of massacres by the Americans and being told by my father and his friends that A) it couldn't be true, we don't do that sort of thing and B) that sort of thing happens in every war, everybody does it. Hard to reconcile the two.

My sister has a husband who served during the Viet Nam War so she is all pro-military, as is he. They are also pro-administration...except where it touches on them. For instance he used to tell me how screwed up the military was, how incompetent the officers were.... now he acts as if they could make no mistakes. I know a lot of folks who are really loud about the things that touch them...high taxes, bad roads, poor schools. Then you ask them about other countries, how they handle these problems and you get the line that we are the Best, we are the only true democracy, our people know how to do it right, etc etc...We are the best country in the world. Of course when the speaker is a fat, middle aged man who drinks too much and has never read any other section of the paper but the sports section...well, they lose credibility. Would our government lie to us? Our government is, by definition, OF the people, right? Which means the fat, middle aged drunken slob smoking ciggies and coughing up his guts is the same kind of person who is now sitting in the White House making choices. The same kind of person who won't return my phone calls and tell me what is happening to my son.

Angry at the world? No, just tired of not knowing. Tired of not knowing how many people this government is willing to see dead before they stop the killing. Tired of hearing about hospitals closing, VA hospitals closing, soldiers remains sneaking into the country by night, tired of hearing about children with no arms, no feet or legs.....drinking filthy water because the sewer plant was blown up. It seems like it's a war on all of us with no money, no power, no hope.

And then I read a mail from some gal whose husband is worse than my son. He is able to move and respond and such, but screams all day and seems so disconnected. Why is that worse? Because it's her husband! Because her love, her sweetheart, is screaming at her over the breakfast table, at lunch, at dinner and before going to bed. She sleeps when she can, still loving him, still trying to cope. Where's the therapy for him, where are the helpers? Well, there's only so much money to go around. Maybe in some countries there is universal health care, those OTHER socialist, unAmerican, nasty cowardly countries where they don't send their children off to war for oil and control of the Middle east. Countries where the high taxes pays for health, education and housing. Bad countries where the elected leaders are elected by the people, where the leaders listen to the majority of the people instead of the terribly important and wealthy.

Yep, it could be worse. I could be dipping water out of the stream, walking back to my blown up shack of a house, caring for my son myself. But then, I know of Americans right here in this country who do that same exact thing. People whose water was cut off because they had the choice of water or electricity and they need the electricity for their loved one's needs. The nutrient they pour into the tube that feeds into the stomach has to be kept cold.

So things are okay here.

When we were attacked by our allies the Pakistanis and the Saudis and the twin towers came down everybody on the street put out American flags. Some were actually made in America, but the little ones were made in China. I know, I looked. I asked my neighbor why he had a flag out. He said he was afraid not to. He didn't want his government taking him away in the night for being unpatriotic. He was serious. Would it have happened? We don't know, but I find it significant that he was actually afraid of his own government, in much the same way the Germans were afraid of their government. Nobody tried to stop the little painter from Austria and his bully boys in the brown shirts. They hunkered down, went to the theatre, worked in their offices and factories and sent their children off to school in their little brown shirts.

Every day I call down to see how my son is doing..."How's Jon today?" and every day I wait for the dial tone, thinking, "Maybe I'll get a recording....I'm sorry, but the number you have dialed in out of service at this time" And where will Jon be today? At therapy, or on a gurney in a park somewhere? Sitting in his wheelchair in down town Kingston with a sign in his lap, "Will do nothing for food" Couldn't happen here....this is America. America where we don't expose soldiers to chemical, nuclear and biological weapons without knowledge or permission. America where we don't lie to the people before launching a pre-emptive war against a defenseless nation. America where elections are free and people make the choices. That America where a helpless young man waits in a bed not knowing that his father waits, feeling helpless, for a call to be returned. "Where's Jon?" Where's my son going to be next week?

Other American fathers with sons in the National Guard or the Reserves are thinking the same thing for much the same reasons. No information, lies, switching stories, misinformation....doubts....fears.....

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