PEACE ON EARTH,
GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN
12 December 2002
When Cindy and I set off on our morning rounds today, the fog hung heavy in the air. It
didn't significantly affect visibility (not one of those London fogs of '40s movies, where
you can't see your hand in front of your face), but enough so that all the lights were
ringed with halos, the mist moistened your face, and the air was so quiet you wanted to
whisper (that is, if you could hear each other while rolling along at 12 mph). When we got
to campus and the fog swirled in among the trees, and around our pedals, there was just
this incredible feeling of peace. We were the only people awake in the whole city, and the
air was just hanging very softly around us.
As we passed by the high school grounds, where there are trees and grass, the fog was a
bit thicker. I just love fog. As a native San Franciscan, I have fog in my veins and I
never feel safer than when there is a lot of fog swirling around me.
Then we got home.
And there were Katie and Matt talking about the report that our president has let it be
known that anybody who even thinks about attacking this country could be nuked. My lovely,
soft wall of peace disintegrated as my mouth hung open. Was the man serious? We'd think of
using nuclear weapons if we suspect that someone might have the idea
of attacking us?
Was there any correlation with this pronouncement coming out of the White House as
Jimmy Carter--surely the very best ex president we've ever had--was accepting the Nobel
Prize for Peace? Could the two events be any farther apart?
15 years before 9/11...15 years before anybody ever heard of Al Quaeda, in the week
before he died, Gilbert told me that there would never be a World War III...that the the
coming decades would belong to terrorists, who would begin attacking willy nilly all over
the world. I wonder what he'd say if he were here now to see just how right he was.
The current administration is still thinking that we go to war with countries.
There is such eagerness to polish off our shiny bombs and use them, that it seems we're
running around threatening anybody who looks cross-eyed at us. (and when we've finished
with the Middle East, we're going to take on North Korea, I hear.)
Suddenly Hussein is the epitome of all evil. Whatever happened to bin Laden? He seems
to have faded into oblivion--since they discovered they couldn't smoke him out of the
caves in Afghanistan, it seems that we had to have a more visible enemy to aim our guns
toward. Someone concrete that we actually have a chance of reaching.
Interesting report on 60 Minutes on Sunday...about the publicity campaign that
is being waged to sell this war to the public. I wish I'd taped it. LIttle bits of
information like there being absolutely no proof whatsoever that Hussein
"financed" the 9/11 attacks, though the story was that Atta had visited Iraq.
However all of our best information gathering organizations (FBI, CIA, and who knows what
else) have found absolutely zero documentation about this supposed visit--yet the story
has been so carefully crafted that something like 73% of American believe it happened.
[There was a marvelous statement by someone on a CompuServe forum when I mentioned that
there was no proof whatsoever of Hussein's participation in the 9/11 attacks.
"Well, I'm sure he at least laughed when he heard about it," the writer
stated. Oh yeah--that's surely a logical reason to begin bombing his country!
I'm no fan of Husssein, but I'm sure not eager to begin blowing up Iraq or any other
After work, I drove through the fog to Sacramento to attend a dinner for members of the
"500 club," people who raised over $500 for the AIDS Walk last September.
(Thanks mostly to all of you guys, I managed to make it into that club).
The fog kept getting thicker as I drove across the causeway and back into Davis. On the
radio was a talk show host posing such questions as: what would happen if a country like
China or Russia decided the US (the only country to actually ever use nuclear
weapons) posed too great a threat and decided that the US must disarm immediately? or If
we bomb Iraq to oblivion, does anybody think that would have any effect on Al Quaeda
whatsoever? The host claims that he's not a pacifist and that he believes in a strong
defense if we are attacked, but to launch a pre-emptive strike just 'cause the guys in the
funny hats tried to kill Daddy ain't gonna win us a lot of friends around the world,
especially in places where support for this country is iffy at best.
The fog was quite thick by the time I got home. Somehow it no longer made me think of a
peaceful little world swirling around me. The world outside the fog had become a scary
I wanted to go find a deserted island and move there with the people I love and forget
that the rest of the world exists.
But I think we've run out of deserted islands.
God rest ye merry gentlemen--let nothing you dismay.