One of the best things about going to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving is sitting around A-D’s studio-turned-temporary-playroom drinking hot coffee, playing with the children, reading the paper and getting into deep conversations (and some not-so-deep ones) about the state of the world. It’s a multigenerational event where we gather with no schedule, no agenda, nothing to do except be with each other. I savor these times.
Before we caught our flight for this year’s gathering, specifically around 4am on Thanksgiving morning as I tied my boots, I distinctly remember bending over and being mid-tie when I heard a man on Andy’s radio speaking out against the war. My hands stopped moving and I listened.
I wondered, How could I have spent the last week consumed with mental debate over whether or not I should treat myself to chocolate Uggs & a festive sweater when we’re at war? When children are abducted to fight in the DRC and Uganda and Columbia and probably a dozen other places; when mass homelessness continues after the flooding in Tabasco, and Habeas Corpus is in a long and unjust coma . . .
The man on Andy’s radio talked about the deathtoll in Iraq. He meant the American deathtoll as if he assumed no one listening would care about any other statistic. (And this commentary was coming from the left end of the so-called, “liberal media”.) Imagining that the assumption is correct (and it’s not) — that the American deathtoll is all that concerns me — it remains that what’s not often highlighted is the question: for every soldier killed, how many others’ lives are permanently altered by devistating physical and psychological injuries?
But the truth is my mind had been on the chocolate Uggs up until that moment.
I used to wonder during my teens (when the U.S. military was not engaged in large scale conflicts) how ordinary people lived their daily lives during wartime. Now, I know that every single day of every single year is a time of war on this planet and ordinary people are really no different than cattle. We chew what’s put in front of us.