Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lost Children of Militarized America: Part 3

I cannot expect anyone to behave in the way I’ve suggested, so let me start with myself. I cannot blame George W. Bush or Barack Obama for the over 45,000 mentally and physically wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the thousands of youths—my children all of them—who are hidden and scattered far and wide somewhere out of sight in the U.S., the bits and parts of sons and daughters kept alive and away from the nurturing of their families and communities by a government-empowering privacy policy called “HIPPA” which will not allow a mother to speak to a doctor about her pneumonia-ridden son in a Camp LaJeune hospital, for example. Though hundreds of obscenely wounded soldiers were flung into an airless concrete warehouse in Ft. Stewart to wait for months for the attention of a VA doctor, I cannot blame George W. Bush or Barack Obama. I cannot blame the Bush or Obama administrations for the perversions committed in the Abu Ghraib prison or the ongoing horrors of Guantanamo prison, or the daily slaying of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan by drones, and a "shoot all that moves" policy.
The crying in the night of over 10,000 Arab-Americans imprisoned in this country is my fault. Nearly one million Iraqis and Afghans wounded, dying and dead . . . are my fault. That myself and my son and my niece and my nephew and my father and my grandfather have been and are conspirators in this bloodbath implicates me directly in the conspiracy to conquer the world and greedily consume its resources for me and mine alone.
As a Tibetan Buddhist of Welsh/Irish ancestry, if I do not acknowledge the morally-depraved conditions surrounding me as those of my own making, I am betraying my Marine Corps son, my Vietnam veteran Rand Corporation father, my psychologist mother, my U.S. Army niece, my Marine Corps. nephew, my Atomic Energy Commission grandfather, my reverently Catholic grandmother, my aborted daughter Pietra, my devoted and impassioned right-wing sister, my Rand Corporation Armenian terrorist expert sister, and my fervent and intelligent high-school teaching radical right-wing brother. I am betraying aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents way way back including Martha Logan who traveled from Missouri to San Francisco in a covered wagon in 1864, and including Mary Todd Lincoln who knew too well her own darkness. The betrayal goes deep, all the way back to Wales and Ireland and Daleys and Hinseys and Morgans and Riess’s and Lincolns, and Galbreaths and Thompsons and Logans and Sturgis’s. I betray them all each day that I perpetuate the lies that inflict such suffering on the earth.
Allowing 45,000 young people whose bodies are maimed inside and out to remain hidden under cover of darkness flown into Dover like dirt swept under a rug is tantamount to putting a gun to my son’s head and pulling the trigger. I think most of us are secretly happy that Bush and Obama are hiding these dead and wounded children because we don’t want to be responsible for them, no more than we want to be responsible for caring for our parents as they age. Tuck them all away in nursing homes and VA hospitals and let’s get on with our patio parties and cocktails, and ball games and channel-surfing and operas and symphonies and movies and health-spas and, geesh, 45,000 is not that many compared to 300,000 from the Vietnam War!
George Bush and Barack Obama are just mirror reflections of my own inner corruption. I put them in office by allowing the vote to be rigged two times as I looked the other way. I’ve done nothing as they've committed acts more heinous and impeachable than any previous presidents in this nation’s history back to the first George. Their crimes against humanity are my crimes against my children and my mothers. The truth of this suffering must be comprehended as a first step to eradicating this suffering. I could blame this man and that woman and that corporation, and I could give you reams of paper and articles about terrible injustices and we could all get wound up and fired up and angry and vengeful, enough to go out and inflict violence on those in power over us.
But the real question is . . . How do we stop the suffering? How can we be happy, how can we get back on the path, the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of life that we initially set out to do? And what is liberty but the freedom from anger and hatred. I believe in a cause-and-effect universe. I believe that negativity causes suffering and goodness causes happiness. I believe that this is a universal law as indisputable as the ebb and flow of the ocean. If I create a negative action, I will experience the negative consequences of that action. It may be delayed, but when the conditions are right, the seed of negativity I planted will have expanded geometrically and will bear its sour fruit and make me miserable. If I have a positive thought, somewhere down the way, I will experience some small happiness as a result. It’s all up to me to create my own reality.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A little break from the intensity of "Lost Children . . . "

Vajra and Bell
You’re wakened to see
You’re wakened to be
You’re wakened to share
What the universe needs

The whole is of you
And the whole is of me
Without us as One
Then the seas would not be

To run like the water
To taste like the sun
To feel the earth under
Letting wind have its fun
Wandering, wandering,
Unhindered by stone
Shattering, scattering,
Far from no home

But always to be One
Like you and like me
A man and a woman
Inside of me

A man and a woman
The One, the One
The Whole
The universe needs

The strength of the universe
Relies on this marriage
Of moon and of sun
In each of us One
The woman, the man
In each of us One
Free as the wind
In each of us One

Reverence for you
Is reverence for me
A broken world cries
At the splitting of trees

The blade cuts asunder
The last of the trees
Bloody sap under
The you that is we

How vain is the blade
That splits through the heart
That sets the blood flowing
But never can part
What always was whole
What always was One
Our lightning, our thunder
Through rain and through sun
As we run together
Our blood runs as One.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lost Children of Militarized America: Part 2

Hello Mom,
Things here are progressing and that is all I can ask for really. My loneliness has evaporated as the platoon becomes closer and works more and more as a unit. I hope all goes well with your preparations for your journey to Magdalena. It sounds as if you are finally prepared to make the journey safely. How go the Tarot readings? Well, I hope.
We have just won a trophy for marching this last Wednesday. We competed against the four other platoons in our company. This, of course brought us closer as a group and the spirit of giving and generosity continues to grow. It is wonderful to see a group grow together and to be an intrinsic part of it.
While my physical health is not top notch (just a scratchy throat) my spiritual and mental health are superb. Each night, I do my best to meditate in bed and center my being so that my rest that night will be as effective as possible.
On your postcard, you wrote of the pugil sticks and we have already participated in that activity. It is stunning to see the rage and viciousness that some people can summon at a moment’s notice. It is reassuring I suppose that we will be fighting (at least physically) on the same side.
I must conclude now Mom.
Love from your son always,

My Son,
Because of the conditions in the world right now—the many sentient beings, especially human children, who are suffering in the twelve countries afflicted by the recent Indian Ocean tsunami disaster; the many people who have died and continue to die and suffer because of the decisions made by the United States government in its War on Terrorism; because of the neglect of the desperate situation in Darfur in the Sudan of Africa; because of the devastation on the entire continent of Africa engulfed in the AIDS epidemic that has already killed 37 million men, women and children worldwide; because of the womb waters of Mother Earth being imprisoned behind man-made walls of concrete and sold and controlled for profit and power; because of the resultant diseased and clogged arteries of the waterways on the American continent that have been appropriated for commercial and militant purposes . . . because of these reasons, my heart is greatly troubled and I ponder day and night what I’m being called to do.
I know only this: that I will certainly die, and that in the short time remaining in this precious human life, my every thought word and action must be devoted to alleviating this great suffering.
much love,

We have all shackled ourselves in common squabbles . . . difference, diversity, disagreement, divisive ideas about an elusive enemy. Why hope? Why wake in a Midwest morning with eagerness to greet the new day? In a nation of depressed, drugged and sated people, we are staggering stupidly through each day, living out the American dream of gluttonous opportunity. We are all soaked to the gills in booze and pills and cherish the lies of all comers, as did our fathers and mothers of the Cocktail Generation before us, and our grandfathers and grandmothers of the bootlegging Depression, and our uncles and aunts who died alone and drunk in cheap hotel rooms.
And we provide glowing examples to our sons and daughters as we polish off a six-pack of Heineken in a single night, then pop a spouse’s Restoril to drown even the slightest dream of instruction offered unconditionally by a compassionate universal mind. Our child rarely sees us without a green bottle upturned to our lips—an infant sucking green milk, greedily, hungrily, attached and grasping. Those sons and daughters now labor at their own slow suicides in Iraq, in Afghanistan, on hundreds of U.S. military bases around the world, in their own backyards, their moral capacities shattered, putting the barrel of a gun to their tear-soaked lips to suck up their own death.
We have forgotten the overarching bond of sameness, of individual self being the same and equal to all other individual selves—our sameness as human beings, as earthly creatures. All of us were mothered and fathered into life. All of us suffer. All want inspiration, like my neighbor on the third floor above me who blasts and thumps the waves of black women’s voices daily and nightly to disturb my complacent mind.
Only the truth will save us. We know this in the core of our being here in these United States that are not so united as we might wish. The truth, the real truth of the cause for our current nightmarish behavior in this dysfunctional American culture, is only to be found in the inner life of each of us who satiate ourselves with the bulk of the world’s resources. I am not implying that we should hate ourselves for what we are inflicting on the planet so callously, or that we should descend into mired swamps of guilt and the negativity of self-flagellation, but that we should “Banish the one to blame for everything.” If I run out of people to blame for my suffering, I face the tough decision to find the resources within.
We all have to make a choice whether to increase our suffering, or to relieve the suffering of others.
We all know it is right to relieve the suffering of others.
We all know it is wrong to increase the suffering of others. These are truths none of us can argue. We all know that the waves of tides go out and come back endlessly. This is the universal truth of morality acknowledged by atheists and theists that we all lose so easily in the angry chattering of the political realm.
When I come to peace and stillness in my mind for a few minutes each day, I remember this truth. I cry for the tens of thousands of murdered Iraqis whose deaths my people have inflicted. My thoughts are with Gandhi and Martin Luther King on this matter, so I may have to die violently as they did for speaking and living this truth. But that is ok. If it will save my son from killing even one person and having to suffer the grievous consequences of that most heinous negative act in this lifetime and all future lifetimes, shoot me now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lost Children of Militarized America: Part 1

April, 2004
Parris Island, SC
Dear Mom,
Sorry it has taken so long for me to write, but things are rather hectic here as you might imagine. It is not really more or less hectic than I thought it would be, but I must say I’m surprised at how some people are handling things (i.e., tears, pleas to leave, etc.). I’ve been made the scribe of the platoon in light of the fact that I am the only recruit with a college degree. The job is not bad and I think it keeps me out of a little bit of trouble, but my duties cut into my free time so my ability to write letters has been severely limited.
This is a very strange and rather bleak place Mom. While I don’t regret coming here, I must state honestly that each morning, there are pangs of unhappiness and longing for home. These pangs generally clear up by mid-morning once the sun begins to shine (we are awakened at about 5:00 every morning). I have had some really good times here so far and it feels nice to be getting in shape.
There are some really nice kids in my platoon and I seem to be getting along well with everyone.
I need to wrap this letter up now because time is short, but rest assured that I am safe and as happy as could be expected. I hope to hear from you soon.
Love Always,

On the autumnal equinox of 1951, September 22, a singular day of equal light and equal dark, I decided to enter into the happy egg and sperm of my mother and father. I was planted in my mother’s womb as the northern hemisphere that was the environment around and about the Pentagon and Fort Belvoir in Alexandria, Virginia, began yet another slow descent into increasing darkness and cold. While most tillers of the soil had months ago planted their seeds in the warm sunshine of early spring and deep summer, and were now reaping the fruits, I guess you could say I was planted at harvest time. For some good reason, I was conceived just as the scales tipped into darkness, though I knew harmony from that first moment. I remember harmony.
The five-sided bunker was the sole place of employment for both my young Air Force ROTC-grad officer father and clerk typist mother. For those ensuing dark nights and windowless days in the cold-lit halls of the Pentagon, I had an embryo-eye view of the cavernous enclosure that housed diligent dark secrets of the United States Military Industrial Complex at its finest operations. My cells multiplied daily in a fortress of secrecy and fear. Surely fear permeated my mother’s and father’s bodies, as if the tribe of that community in which I was so deeply embedded revered some awesome dark force that promised to protect them, reward them, increase them, and so each member of the tribe would daily propitiate the God of Military Secrets through acts of obeisance and Zero Defects, evidence of reverence in the typewriter and cockpit, answering phones and saluting high priests dressed dark blue in winter, and desert brown in summer.
That my mother’s fear was visceral can be assumed without question. Fear flowed in her blood, nourished me and became my essence, bones, spine, and throat clutch. And to this very moment of the darkening moon’s wane on a Passover night nearly 56 years later, I have carried this legacy of fear like an iron shackle around my neck.
And what has this to do with anyone else in the country of my birth? Nothing at all, if we are truly heirs of an American dream of individuality, each of us truly endowed with equal opportunity. But if there are hidden potholes in our inheritance, and we feebly begin to intuit that something has gone terribly wrong with this picture, then a child nurtured in fear and groomed to be silent and obey the orders given in a strict military household, starts to seep out in bloody stains onto others’ lives, at school, at play, at work.
We Baby Boomers sprouted as a result of the age-old effort to erase memories of the carnage of war. My older sister and I were born before a decade had lapsed since the end of World War II, since 1945, leaving the memory of Auschwitz fading in the smoke of chuffing chimneys above huge incinerators roasting flesh of people like you and me. We were born out of a nationwide denial of the horrors of death. My parents seem to have been motivated by a complex and strange feeling as they grasped each other in a clutch with some kind of hope in life that quietly agreed to forget death’s power, and to forget the incomprehensible events that had taken place.

Monday, April 5, 2010

As to comments posted on 3-30-10

I am sorry, but I can't read the language of these 3 comments. If you sent them, and can have them translated into English, I can publish or reject them. Sorry for my ignorance