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If we had a candidate for the Presidency who promised to end the war in Afghanistan in the hours after his or her inauguration, that one would win the election in a landslide.

How can we take pride in anything about this country while we continue to occupy other people’s countries and intervene in their civil wars, destroying their people and their territory in the process.

I have been marginally supportive of the anti-terrorism tactics employed by the Obama administration.  But enough is enough.  Our troops are being killed and we are killing innocent people. At this stage more of our children are committing suicide than are being killed in combat.   Enough of the U.S. war addiction; it requires an intervention.

It seems to me that it might be pay-back time for us in the Middle East, what with attacks on the embassies, the affront du jour, the feckless video depicting Mohammed as a pervert the spark for the fires of anger around the world.  It stands to reason that raging at America does not begin and end with this video and as we said “back in the day”, “It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

Meanwhile, we need to pay attention to Netanyahu’s words this weekend.  He will not wait around for this country to decide it needs to act to protect Israel and everyone else before acting on Iran.  Who can blame him?

All of this talking and diplomacy and trying to build relationships isn’t working.  Trying to be reasonable at home with insane people running around playing games with the truth isn’t working.  We have more than enough on our plates– as someone said recently, we need to be nation-building here at home.

Yesterday was from nearly everyone’s point of view except for the heavy Romney surrogates like spinmeister John Sununu, a bad and dark day for that campaign.  But I suspect that the American voter has heard quite enough from both candidates and has made up its mind.

Regarding those remarks by Romney caught on tape by Jimmy Carter’s grandson and released last night, let’s be clear about who is on the dole in this country:

People who need help.  I wonder how many people could lose the job that provides them with self-respect and resources, in my case my teaching career and the entree a good record is to the academy where I was intellectually raised and that I valued, go on to have to battle addiction again and again, lose their mobility– or an arm, a leg– be denied the credentials that would bump them back into the work force, and still, after all that, reinvent themselves and rebuild their lives.

This describes me, and it describes  other people on government assistance.  The Right’s caricature of the deadbeat is so off base it isn’t funny.  Could you live on $750.00 a month from Social Security Disability? And spend every waking moment still trying to contribute something that you do well to the world?

Because that is what many of us get while the cost of living and the cost of health care and the cost of dying all escalate, and that is what many of us do.

In my community, the ever-sanitized and gussied up Fort Collins, with  its quaint 19th century facades, its happy little band of movers and shakers at the university, in the arts and in City Government, there are scores of people like me “on the dole” who have been devalued by their communities and shoved out of the way– denied their civil rights by being priced out of housing so that they’re sleeping in tents or along the river.  Waiting on impossibly long lists for some housing authority program.

And people in this community have the balls to build starter castles out in the foothills, keep their kids in private school, and have more kids.

Two days ago I heard some painful news.  An old friend of mine, recently featured in the Denver Post as the first to build in Rist Canyon near Fort Collins, whose house and land were everything to him, who had lost that house he built himself in the High Park Fire, died in his tent on his land. 

He was a proud man, an immigrant from Hungary, a friend, a presence in the canyon and in this community for years.

Should he have been denied the assistance of the community and the federal and state government?

Should our sons and daughters who bravely joined up and went overseas only to come back maimed, with raging PTSD and depression, be denied assistance?  I refer the reader to David Brooks’ editorial in the NYT today. My elegy for George follows.

Why There Are Stars

For Gyorgy Vidacs

I hear on a September Sunday
that the metronome of your heart
stopped, so that sometime
in the night, alone in your tent, you
freefell into eternity’s blue fathoms.

You once spoke to me of my
soft skin; we sat in your dark cabin,
sipping wine.
We went out to scan the sky, and you
whispered, Look at the man with his violin,
to the west.

Look now, George: there is a constellation
no one has noticed: it is a metronome
set to the tock and gallopade of
the human heart.

And above where you slept
in the chaff of the High Park Fire,
in the ashen circle where your house
was, still the man playing a violin,
serenading the lucent wilderness.

I would not have had you fall asleep
alone, in the ashes, But look now, old
friend –high in night’s cupola,
seraphic forms bear you home

to the banks of the Danube,
where the friends of your boyhood
come back to the cafes,
and the stars lighting the long path
of your indelible loneliness pulse
and disappear.

Jenne’ R. Andrews September 2012.

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