The Silence of a Falling Star Lights Up a Purple Sky

falling_stars800

The Silence of a Falling Star Lights Up a Purple Sky

I’ve Never Seen A Night So Long

Emotionally Raw, Tired, and Overwhelmed

I’m really tired tonight, emotionally exhausted. Trying to write my Grace in Small Things list for today was really hard. I took on a hard topic last night, and it’s still with me. Any one of the three stories that I found would have been pretty bad on its own, but to put all three together—I think that it was just too much.

I cannot get out of my head the image of the 93-year-old man who froze to death inside of his house because of a bureaucratic decision. I cannot forget about the two EMT’s who made the decision not to resuscitate a man based on the condition of his house. My god, if they came into my house right now, this very moment, if anyone who worked for social services or the city government came into my home right now they would think that I’m a terrible mother, that my children are deprived, that my house should be condemned, and most certainly, that I am not worth saving.

My house is a complete and total mess. I have cobwebs because I cannot reach them with my ostrich feather duster to clean them. The last time that I tried to do that, I pulled my back. My living room still has two dining room chairs in boxes because my eldest son refuses to take the ornaments off the Christmas tree. It has become a point of downright contention. My youngest son’s room is neat and tidy.

My room is relatively organized, but dusty. The kitchen looks like a disaster, but is wiped down daily with disinfectant spray, and the sink is scrubbed with liquid bleach. Clothes are washed and dried daily. Everyone bathes daily. I personally clean the bathroom on my hands and knees with a cloth and spray disinfectant because I don’t trust my sons to do it right, and Corey has enough to do around here. I can’t walk after I do it, and I have to get in bed and take my muscle relaxers afterwards, but it’s clean.

Regardless, the house still looks terrible because there are things everywhere from where we pulled things out to start the remodeling. Boxes, furniture, all sorts of things in the wrong places. Would that mean that I wouldn’t get the needed attention from an EMT because it wouldn’t look as if I deserved it? Who were these people to make this decision. I am completely flummoxed.

And then there is the story of the two children: Sage and Bear and their father. I have tried all day to put them out of my mind and find that I cannot because there are too many stories of too many children like Sage and Bear. I just came across another story of a 19-year-old and her boyfriend who beat to death her two -year-old daughter for not saying please, but she did manage to keep saying “Mommy I love you” while they beat the very life out of her.

There are too many stories like this for my heart to hold. I do not know how the men and women who work in these professions can do it, can go to their jobs everyday and hear about these children, or on the opposite side, hear about these monsters. I don’t know how social services can try to work with families who are so obviously dysfunctional but the courts say that placement with the biological parents is preferable. I don’t know how the doctors and nurses can look at the shattered bodies who are brought to them in the aftermath of parental and spousal warfare. I don’t know how the EMT’s can go into a house and remove the body of a 93-year-old man who died on a technicality.

Think of all that this man had survived: two world wars, the Great Depression, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Twin Towers, desegregation, women getting the vote, a man landing on the moon, cars, television, and telephones. He saw great inventions and terrible creations of mass destruction. He saw all of the wonderful things that our country celebrated: the end of wars, ticker tape parades, the first step on the moon, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and he saw all of the evil of the world: Pearl Harbor, Nazi Germany, Waco, 9/11, and all of the rest. And the final helplessness of dying of hypothermia in his own home.

To all of the people who do the hard jobs that I know that I would like to do but cannot, I offer my sincere gratitude. You walk into houses. You look for the lost children. You do not stop until you find the monsters. You live with the monsters, carry them with you, tucked away in you back pockets so that they do not touch the sanctity of your own families, but they are always with you until you can pass them along to the next link in the chain.

And some of you are never able to let go of the monsters, even when they are dead and gone. That is their heinous legacy to those whose lives they have stolen.

Newest Statistic That I Never Needed To Know

So today I learned from one of the Veterans’ websites that everday approximately 18 American war veterans commit suicide; every month, almost 1,000 veterans receiving care from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs attempt suicide (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/11/8868).

This startling statistic is news to most Americans because the Bush administration did not want this news to be made public to Americans. It has taken a law case, officially known as Veterans for Common Sense vs. Peake, for this news to reach the American public. This case is a class action lawsuit brought by Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for United Truth on behalf of 1.7 million veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under the conditions of the case, the VA had to produce a series of documents.

In one letter from Dr. Ira Katz, former head of the VA’s Mental Health Division, Katz opens his key e-mail with “Shh!” Katz advises a media spokesperson not to tell CBS News that 1,000 veterans receiving care at the VA try to kill themselves every month.

Another shocking number is 287,790—the actual number of American veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who had failed VA disability claims since March 25 2008. Other casualty statistics not normally revealed:  Number of American troops wounded in Iraq: 31,948;  Number of troops “injured” in Iraq”: 10,180; Number of  troops “ill” in Iraq: 28,451.

back-of-angel

Those three number total represent soldiers who are so damaged physically that they have to be evacuated to Germany. By splitting the numbers into three categories, it makes the number of casualties appear to be lower. Or, at least that was the thinking in the Bush administration.
 
Personally, the number manipulation just makes it that more tragic. These numbers are people, not numbers. If the American people were aware of just how many of its warriors were dying not only on foreign soil, but also on American soil, after they have come home, after they have been taken out of combat, if they only knew just how its veterans were waiting years for decisions on their benefits, perhaps they would be less complacent. If only we had seen the flag-draped coffins sooner, perhaps the reality might have moved beyond our periphery sooner.
Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day. More later. Peace.

Enough With the Mudslinging

When You’ve Got Nowhere To Go But Down

Hoisted on His Own Petard

John McCain seems to have returned to sanity, or at least to have had a brush with his own decency, but it may be too late to save his campaign, which is sinking as quickly as the stock market. At a town hall meeting in Lakeville, Minnesota on Friday, McCain found himself in the unusual position of actually defending Barack Obama not once but twice as members in the audience made claims against the Democratic candidate.

One man said that he was afraid to raise his unborn child in a country run by a President Obama, and another woman actually openly declared that Obama is an Arab. McCain, obviously uncomfortable by both declarations, said to his supporters, “I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States,” and was promptly booed by the crowd. As to the woman who declared Obama to be an Arab, McCain, took the microphone away, and quickly shook his head no repeatedly. “No, ma’am. No, ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen who I just happen to have serious differences with on fundamental questions.”

This is the McCain I have seen before, the one who Joe Biden respects. It’s obvious that McCain has realized that he has started a fire (or someone in his campaign has) that is running out of control, and it is leaving a very bad taste in his mouth (apologies for the mixed metaphor). Can he salvage the situation? Unless he can muzzle Sarah Palin, I don’t think so. She enjoys her role as pit bull too much, and there is something afoot in these crowds, a mob mentality that is truly frightening, and I’m not being sarcastic here. For everyone’s sake, I hope that the Secret Service is being just as paranoid as I am, because this is the type of wildfire that makes loonies want to do something “for the good of the country.”

Speaking of Which

I can’t hold my tongue any longer on this whole William Ayers matter. Palin truly is like a pit bull with lipstick. Once her jaws lock onto something, they simply will not disengage. Ayers is 64 years old, almost a contemporary of John McCain, certainly not a contemporary of Barack Obama. Obama and Ayers served together for three years on The Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty foundation. Obama joined in 1993 and attended a dozen of the quarterly meetings with Ayers between 1993 and 2002, when Obama left his position on the board. Ayers and Obama also appeared together on a University of Chicago panel on juvenile justice in 1997 and another academic panel in 2002, which was sponsored by the Chicago Public Library.

Now, when Bill Ayers was at the height of his political radicalism in the late 60’s and early 70’s as part of the SDS and then as part of the more radical Weathermen, Obama was just a child. It was a tumultuous time in American history. The Viet Nam war was hugely unpopular, and protesting was prevalent and towards the end, violent. Ayers, and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were key players in this violence, bombing the New York City police headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon in protest of what they viewed as a hugely unjust war.

The couple eventually turned themselves in to authorities in 1980, and both have apologized for their actions. However, in an interview in 2000, Ayers was quoted as saying that he didn’t “regret setting the bombs.” Ayers subsequently said that his words were distorted and that he had no regrets about trying to stop the United States’ war efforts in Viet Nam and felt that the country as a whole could have done more, not that they could have set more bombs.

Today, Ayers is currently a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education. Ayers has earned the support of a number of prominent Chicagoans, including Mayor Daley. Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman suggests that while Obama was “justly criticized for his ties” to Ayers, that connection should be matched by equal coverage of John McCain’s association with infamous Watergate criminal, G. Gordon Liddy, who, by the way, is certifiably whacko and a textbook case of a domestic terrorist if there ever was one. (After the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, Liddy advised listeners of his radio show: “Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they’re going to be wearing bulletproof vests. … Kill the sons of bitches.”) But that’s just my opinion, of course.

The Peanut Gallery

Cindy McCain

Would someone please tell Cindy McCain to ease up on the Botox? I understand that she has suffered a recent loss of her half-sister, so I won’t be too unkind; however, if she is going to be one of her husband’s pit bulls, then she needs to leave her hair down so that her face at least looks as if it still has the ability to move from the eyebrows up. Oh, and if she’s going to criticize Obama for not passing a bill to fund the troops (which he later passed), she should make sure that she remembers that her husband also didn’t pass a similar bill, which should have made her blood run similarly cold (but maybe she just couldn’t feel it).

And someone please tell Michelle Obama to start wearing suits instead of short-sleeved dresses to important events. It matters. I know that it shouldn’t, but it does. She looked great when she showed up for the The Jon Stewart show, so why doesn’t she wear something similar for the debates? Future first ladies are scrutinized for the most bizarre things. Tim Gunn, where are you?

Did everyone get a chance to see the (supposed) Palin home pictures that are making their way around the Internet? I sure hope so. Hockey mom in ultra mini skirt and ***k me heels does not look like conservative fundamentalist, looks more like swinger ready to exchange car keys. All of the teenagers have bottles of booze in various levels of depletion. Yep, bless their hearts, those Palins are just down home folks, dontcha know? Probably wanted to get rid of the trooper brother-in-law so they wouldn’t get any DUI’s (or should I say more DUI’s, Todder?). Excellent stuff that Photoshop.

On that note, just waiting for Wednesday night. I’ll be glued to MSNBC from 7 p.m. on . . .