[A figure of speech, just a matter of time]
"I figure we're doomed, we Americans: A simple people with sophisticated weapons versus terrorists with simple weapons and complicated grievances."
That is an excerpt from Dream Whip #13, in which Bill recounts his wandering around Europe. He doesn't reveal this revelation until he steps back on American soil, which I think is what made me agree with him, wholeheartedly, in an instant.
It seems so surreal, in the context of what's going on in the world today. But what is even more odd for me is applying it to American history as a whole. It's not hard to see trends in our history; the nation is still just a baby compared with the rest of the world. And that's what bothers me, I think. A New Yorker story alleging that this administration might be seriously thinking of nuclear weapons on Iran is just one piece in a square peg/round whole puzzle that makes me cringe. We're like a bull in a china shop, turning every which way against an imagined threat just as we've done our entire history.
There's never been any need to do some of the things we've done, and not just when we're playing war. My brother always points out that, while our foreign policy is schizophrenic at best, turning for everything from elections to moods, our domestic policy is nothing to brag about. The way the country dealt with Native Americans, for example. When I told him that driving west the one thing I kept thinking about was the expanse of space, and how, with 80 percent of our population living in and around cities now, there really was plenty of room for everyone. More simply: It was land we didn't end up wanting anyway. My brother's response was to note the remarkable lack of foresight, memory and planning our country uses. If there had been any true debate between the two sides of the Native American argument for example - that is, removalist versus absorbtion - we might be living in a very different world today.
Take Chicago's history, for example: For a significant amount of time, the swampy onion field that happened to be the connection to three of the major bodies of water on the continent was a frontier town and stopping point where Native Americans (mainly the Potowatami), French fur trappers and even the first British settlers lived in harmony. What was wrong with that? Later, instead of reaching back to those common roots we chose the most rash and impossible route we could find. They would send out liasons bearing the white flag of truce and we would slaughter them because they didn't speak English.
It isn't that much different today - without any awareness of the customs and culture of the people we've invaded this time, it will and arguably is ending just as poorly.
Well, there's my soapbox speech, I guess, a few rambling thoughts from a meandering mind. Now, if only I was done with work. It's an icy tundra in here.
[Straying, falling by the wayside, I guess we never knew]
p.s. I am reading the long mag piece John Kass wrote about Mayor Richard M. Daley a few years ago and I absolutely love it. Isn't it odd that no one has written a full biography about him yet?