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13 August 2006
It's crazy, but I found myself sitting at my computer, staring at the screen, then putting my head down and just crying. Oh, not boo-hoo crying, but the lump-in-the-throat, tears welling up kind of crying. For no specific reason, but it came about after following a few links on blogs I'd read, like this one that I linked to yesterday, which is entitled "Hezbollah: Coming Soon to Your Hometown."
There was another one I watched which, I'm sorry, is as propagandistic as all the old anti-marijuana movies they showed when we were in grammar and high school, with someone making pronouncements in stentorian tones. I'm not going to link to it because it is blatantly negative toward one country, rather than a terrorist group, but despite the blatant propaganda, the scenes were disturbing, especially those which show children, young children, learning how to shoot guns and learning the glory of dying for the cause.
And, of course, all of this was sparked by the arrests in England yesterday and the new rules and regulations for travel which are now in place indefinitely.
I told Walt I have no desire to travel again. Ever. I know that this feeling will eventually fade and I'll join the long lines of people shuffling forward, inch by inch, stripping for the screeners, subjecting to hands-on searches, unable to bring liquids onto planes, planes which already won't feed you; planes where "service" is in short supply these days. (Oh, I understand why I have to sit with my knees under my chin and be given my 18 peanut allottment instead of lunch, and hope they'll have time to give me a refill on my cup of water. Business is business. The flight attendants do what they can. But I don't have to like it.)
In England you can no longer bring any electronics on board your flight. No computers. No cell phones. No cameras. One guy said he couldn't even bring a book to read. All must be packed in your checked luggage. And we all know how reliable airlines are about making sure your luggage and you reach your destination together...or ever. If people start checking all those things that we previously carried on board to prevent theft or damage, are the airlines going to offer restitution for lost or damaged computers, stolen cameras?
Bwahahahaha. I think we can all have a good belly laugh about that, can't we.
The next thing, of course, is that the airlines are going to start charging us to check our extra luggage, because we'll have more than allowed since we can't carry anything on. I travel pretty light, but I still don't want to trust my camera(s) to baggage handlers who now have implied permission from the government to open my luggage to check for suspicious items, and who are noted, from time to time, to pocket something that looks particularly enticing.
But it's not just the new flight restrictions that have me depressed. In fact, the thought of flights without cell phones is actually kind of pleasant. And it's not the fear of a terrorist attack that depresses me in fact, I realize that my risk of being caught in a terrorist attack is fairly low, despite the government's hard work to keep me frightened.
(Whatever happened to a great leader who stood tall and told the American people that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?" Now we have a government that thrives on keeping people in a constant state of fear)
It's the realization that life will never again be the same. Life changed forever on 9/11. It changed again forever when that guy tried to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb. And it has changed again forever this week.
And it's not the flight restrictions that depress me. I'm depressed that I am so shallow as to let the idea of having to check electronic equipment in my luggage reduce me to tears. Nevermind that it's not the act of checking cameras, it's what this all symbolizes: we are a nation at war. Even if the present hostilities end today, there is a whole new generation of children who hate us and who want to kill us.
We have previously fought real "clean wars." We send our boys to other countries to be blown up and they return the bodies (whole or in pieces) in nice clean coffins with nice clean flags on them.
We sit in our nice homes at night and watch ourselves blowing up countries. And we watch other countries blowing up our guys, or the other guys' guys. We watch frightened children, and crying mothers and we go tsk tsk tsk, and then we turn up the air conditioner, stick a TV dinner in the microwave and check our e-mail. Or we watch some movie in which paid actors pretend to blow up countries and other guys and return victorious, because we are the good guys. We are told. Then we climb into our beds or our recliners and we turn off the lights and we sleep.
We don't huddle in bomb shelters and listen to the incessant noise of bombs falling. We don't frantically pull at the remains of a building hoping to find loved ones still clinging to life in the rubble. We don't try to live with a couple of hours of electricity or running water a day... or a week. We don't go to sleep praying that our babies won't get blown up when we go to the market the next day.
All we have to worry about is some inconvenient flight restrictions, but it still changes our way of life and it depresses me to find that I am letting it depress me. I'm letting the reason for the inconvenient flight restrictions frighten me into wanting to stay home instead of flying anywhere.
I'm depressed. And I hate it that I'm depressed. Because, in the grand scope of things, compared to most of the rest of the world, I really have nothing to be depressed about.
That just makes me realize that, when push comes to shove, I'm not the strong kind of person I always thought I was.
(And to top it all off, Mike Douglas died, at age 81)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The sweet face on this boy, who killed 140