Archive for the ‘Beatles’ Category
I went shopping for a Christmas card the other day. I found only one card on the rack that mentioned Peace. Not much of a sample, I know. One display in one store. But I remember, at least I think that I remember, a different sort of Christmas. When I was younger there was more talk of peace. More signs of peace. More wishes for peace. Peace and Christmas, they went together, even for Jewish kids like myself.
“Peace, Peace– but there is no peace.” The words were Patrick Henry’s. They were a call to arms. We are a country born in the arms of war. I too was born in a time of war, the Korean War. My adolescence was filled with images of another war, the Vietnam War. I have lived through the Cold War, Grenada, Panama, a surrogate war in Nicaragua, Iraq I, Iraq II, the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on cancer, on heart disease, on organized crime, on illegal immigrants. Now Afghanistan.
“Wait,” you say, “all of the wars that you have mentioned are not alike.” Some needed to be fought. Some were barely wars. Some were not even real wars. But these distinctions matter little here. Something has happened to us. Too many years of real wars and counterfeit ones, of war language and war games, have reshaped us. We are no longer a country that once fought a war to free ourselves from domination. We are a country that must now struggle to free ourselves from the banality of war.
Every child born at the turn of the 21st century has no memory of a time without war, and with the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, our country’s children will enter their teen years knowing only a nation at war.
Yes, Mr. President, agreed. There are wars that we must fight. Yet your elegant words in Oslo failed to address the toll that war has taken on the American people. They failed to acknowledge the extent to which war has become “the new normal,” as opposed to its travesty. Evil can kill us and so can a poison that we ingest daily, in however small and camouflaged dosages.
So forgive me if I indulge in an “idealistic” response on this Christmas Day 2009.
I am prepared to admit that my sense of humor can be as sick and dark as the next guy. But I was not prepared for the front page of Sunday’s New York Times.
Splashed across most of the top of the front page was this photo, with this headline:
A Place Where Cancer Is the Norm
The article was about about M.D. Anderson hospital in Houston.
As I recall, there was recently much press over the fortieth anniversary of the Beatles’ iconic Abby Road photo:
So, here is my conclusion: there are people at the New York Times with a pretty sick sense of humor (no pun intended) or this is one of the most brilliant pieces of political commentary that we have seen in years. The Times is really making a statement about the health care system in the U.S., comparing it to the British system which manages to produce healthy and beloved artists, while we have people walking around in the Texas sun with I.V’s and pink sandals.
Perhaps there is a third option: incompetence.
A window in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, November 4th, 2008, near where my wife and I had the privilege to vote:
Speaking of hope and America, in words not pictures, from the other side of the Gulf Stream, sentiments shared by many around the world:
They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world….Mr Obama will take office in January amid massive unrealisable expectations and facing a daunting list of problems….These, though, are issues for another day. Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too. The Guradian, November 5th, 2008. President Obama, guardian.co.uk