There's so much to be grateful for every day—running water, food, heat, electricity, the freedom to move, democracy. We've got infrastructure that pretty much works, and grocery stores regularly stocked with essentials for our homes. We've got restaurants in which to dine, and hospitals where we can (hopefully) heal if we're ill or hurt. We've got Amazon and Apple, Zappos and Google, Netflix and Zoom. We've got public servants: librarians, teachers, fire fighters, legislators, road workers, bus drivers, garbage collectors and cops. We've got farmers, truckers, builders, manufacturers, artists, musicians, chefs, servers, grocery store and retail clerks. We rely on all of them to supply what we need and want, and to get shit done. They're there for us despite some people's petty tendency to complain and protest.
There's so much to grieve—war, illness, debt, death. So many things to love, to loathe, to lament. These are strange and harrowing times. The world is turning upside down and inside out. Millions are hurting while billionaires continue to enrich themselves by exploiting the labor of others; they pocket record profits by gouging the rest of us (blame them for stagnating wages and inflation) and by not paying their share of taxes. And there's another power grab: the unjustified, unprovoked war that Pootie is waging against Ukraine. It's all so sick and twisted.
I consider the Ukrainians, and others in war-torn nations, whose homes, livelihoods and families are being blown to smithereens. Because of Pootie's war, they have little to no access to their homes, their schools, their hospitals, their critical medications to treat chronic conditions. I imagine legions of them seizing, not just from epilepsy, but from traumatic brain injury, diabetes, dehydration. And what of expectant mothers, new mothers, infants and preemies? Pootie's troops are bombing children's hospitals and maternity wards. His lies and crimes against humanity are unfathomable. Someone has got to bring him to heel.
Here, I reflect on my fortune. I recline on a comfortable couch with a full belly, a small glass of red wine and a large one filled with clean water from a tap that never runs dry. My only palpable worry at the moment is whether my epileptic child might seize tonight. Even then, he's likely to make it through, unlike so many of war's refugees trying to flee besieged cities.
Wartime calls to mind a favorite rumination from, The Celestial Worlds Discover'd, Or, New Conjectures Concerning the Planetary Inhabitants and Productions. It goes:
How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth—the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted—is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.
—Christiaan Huygens, 1698
It is clearer now than ever how much Pootie and his stooges' evolution as human beings has been stunted. I wonder what tainted ingredients make such depraved megalomaniacs.
My thoughts return to little Calvin sleeping safely and soundly upstairs. I wonder what he dreams about. I wonder if one day he'll be orphaned. I wonder if one day soon war will return to these shores. Then, I recall images of the innocent Ukrainian people caught up in the Russian invasion: a mother and her children shelled while trying to escape bombardments; a man pushing his bicycle through ravaged streets strewn with debris; a father clutching his dead child riddled with shrapnel; bodies wrapped in black plastic being thrust into mass graves; mothers grieving over their dead boy soldiers; a pregnant woman dying on a stretcher. And I wonder again, like I do about Calvin's suffering, how much these good people can endure, and what more I can do to ease it.
|Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP|