While thinking just now about how many of my personality traits (anxiety, lonerism) are gathered from the … less desirable … elements of my parents, I had to check myself and ask what I do or think that reflects the good sides of them.
The first thing that came to mind was the unification of my father’s penchant for researching things with my mother’s sincere generosity and attempts to care for others, which has given me a healthy but sorta weird mix of skepticism (about mostly everything) and optimism (about human nature).
I am incredibly skeptical about our government’s stated motives for dropping bombs on countries we are not at war with, and I cannot understand why my fellow Americans don’t realize or acknowledge that the people living in Yemen and Pakistan really are, for the overwhelming part (and in the parlance of our times), “just like us!”
Imagine riding in a fancy rented car with your family as you celebrate the wedding of your sister or your cousin, traveling from the church to a hall where you’ll laugh and reminisce and get down on some delicious special-occasion food. PARTY!
Now imagine a sound, a split-second of low whining filling your ears as a bomb streaks out of the sky, and the sight of a fireball and white-hot debris cooling in the exact spot where the other car—carrying the rest of your family—once stood.
This is not reasoned or responsible foreign policy. This is us “become Death, destroyer of worlds” (Oppenheimer, damn him, got the bomb right but not the quote), ignoring and dismissing civilian casualties even as we hysterically and hypocritically offer up our own for justification. This is the cowardly blunder of a dying empire too proud to admit ineptitude and too full of its own shit to notice how money, cold and hard, softens morals and dulls empathy.