I hope you have a relaxing Memorial Day with family and friends, if you’re in the U.S.A. Memories are nice.
Another sober Monday! In Memorial to the father who taught me all about different “types” of sobriety. He had his, and I had mine, for example. He was thrown into the jaws of war, like most young men in his generation, as it was a “bitch slap” of fate from those in the hierarchy in power who thought nations were more important than the billions of civilians who died as well the actual combatants. He knew it was important, as he was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. And he fought valiantly with all his intelligence and strength, on the decks of destroyers, a submarine tender, and finally in his love, the submarine, as a Torpedoman First Class, spending over 30 years working for the U. S. Navy, developing some of the most effective and ground-breaking weaponry we have in our arsenal today. I am proud for him. He told me it was either “jail or the military,” so my dad was a dark sheep who was cast out into the waves of the constantly flowing present, losing his childhood on the farm, his relatives, meeting my mother, who had me, and the cycle keeps going, to infinity.
I learned a different lesson in my life and service of eight years in the Naval Reserves, with three years active duty. I am a pacifist, and the Third Reich would put me in their striped pajamas, and I learned this matter of intellectual resistance from another father, who taught me Existentialism in graduate school. While my dad was fighting for our “freedoms,” my professor fought in the hospitals to take care of those wounded who came back, which was the fate of conscientious objectors, which was the policy of the United States instead of the Nazi method of confining you inside a concentration camp (he was also a Jew, so there’s that as well).
What do I think of Memorial Day? I think it’s a day dedicated to memories. Memories are like anything we experience in this eternal cosmic miracle. They serve the purposes of both the State and the individual. We never know which country we are born out of, or in which family we may reside. It’s pretty much a “crap shoot,” as my dad would say. We do the best we can, working, fighting, protecting, and dying for abstractions we create in our heads, and the hierarchies we create to protect those abstractions.
But it’s the policies that are fought over that mean the most. How we treat the “least amongst us,” and not just the fancy folks with the big degrees and the most weapons at their disposal. We don’t hand-out guns to any dick-head in the street or in the psychiatric wards, and we don’t treat the homeless (many who are veterans) like they’re not important to the “hierarchies” that rule us. They fought, and if you didn’t, or you didn’t lift a finger to do something for the right method of laws and governance (and you better study to learn what’s right) then you can’t play the “games” we concoct very well.
From what I’ve learned thus far, each human is sacred and important, and a fetus isn’t as important as functioning homo sapiens who need care from the society. Not just the family, for the family can be dysfunctional and not capable, and what happens to these folks? We are today the World Populace attempting to protect the life of all beings, not just the humans.
This is what I ultimately learned. Nature is the Nation we must fight for, in the final analysis, and if we must, we must learn to lower our standard of living so as to afford to protect Her and appreciate her miracles. Slow down our pace, look around, look deeply into the eyes of the eternal present all around us and not drift back to the medals, the bombings, the tortures, the starvation, the depravities of conflict on a battlefield, which can take place here, there, in outer space, in another galaxy, perhaps, if the time bomb of power still ticks inside our “memories,” or Memorial Days, and our dreams of nightmarish realities.
Love you, my father, my constant companion in mind and on display for me to learn your faults, and your genius. And it was our fate to be in the warrior class, but my Nation still protects the protestors, and this is by the grace of God, in my opinion, and not of Mankind. Goodness and right will always be victorious, and there is a peace somewhere that each person will reach, at his or her own speed, in his or her own mind and heart, forever.
Professor James Musgrave