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Sometimes, Words Fail

Where do you even start on a day like today? Bear with me for a moment, or go read something else, because I’m about to take a page from Camille’s book and leave this as my personal chronicle of the past 48 hours, in much the same way as I have for all major life-altering events.
Back in 1991, a very close friend of mine was in Israel when the war broke out. US troops were stationed not far from her house, as they had yet to be called into Iraq. My mom actually let me get on the phone at 10:00 PM and call her in Tel Aviv. It took a while to get through, but eventually I did, and she assured me that although the situation was tense, everything was ok (you may or may not remember that there was a significant fear of Palestinian action against Israel in the event that war broke out).
Last night, sometime after we finished watching American Idol on Tivo, we flipped to live TV just in time to hear and see the reports of an early attack on Baghdad. Talk about shifting the paradigm! I called my mom, because I knew she wouldn’t be watching TV (she wasn’t), and we watched the President’s speech. Today, business was slow, traffic was light, and most people were never very far from the TV or a radio. I, however, feel relatively detached from the whole situation. It is my own defense mechanism for dealing with stress (a la Scarlett O’Hara—I’ll think about it tomorrow). Mostly, when I do force myself to look at the war now steadily unfolding, I am incredibly anxious, both for the safety of our soldiers as well as that of the Iraqi people. Most Americans only understand the differences between our culture and others in the broadest terms (and the most convenient definitions), and now more than ever, it’s time to broaden our own horizons before we force our beliefs on others.
Here’s how all this boils down. It no longer matters what your opinion is, or mine, or your neighbor’s. It is too late to stop the action, and while everyone is entitled to an opinion (that is, after all the right of every American), forcing that opinion on others will not change the situation or its outcome. The only thing that matters now is remembering others in their time of crisis, whether it be our men and women fighting or the Iraqi people they’re charged with liberating. It is my greatest hope that we remember to look at all points of view, and respect our ability and privelege to have dissenting opinions.
Sorry for the rambling. It appears that when I have something of consequence to discuss I lose all ability for rational, persuasive, and coherent speech. Alas, I am only eloquent in my levity. I had such a hard time explaining this to Kev last night that I just gave up. Mostly, though, I think it’s best put simply: Be nice to each other. Say “hi” to your neighbors. Smile at the clerk in the grocery store. Be thankful that you’re not in the desert fighting a war with which you may or may not agree. Be thankful that when the sun goes down tonight, you and your loved ones will be spared the sound of anti-aircraft fire and safe from stray bullets. Most of all, remember to celebrate each others’ differences. God bless America and her heroes.

One Response to “Sometimes, Words Fail”

  1. Peppermint Tina*:) Says:

    Remembering others…Something I would do well to remember…




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