Thursday, January 11, 2007

92,000 more WHAT?

For a couple of years now, I've likened our sitting President to a toddler. When getting a crash course in early childhood development as a breastfeeding counselor to mothers and babies, I learned that toddlers -- the 18 to 36 month old set -- in fact do not really hear commands the way we hear them. For example, instead of saying "No Hitting", in which their little ears emphasize the "hitting" part, you should try to redirect them with "hitting is not ok" or "Hitting hurts" or whatever -- the negative needs to follow the operative word because otherwise a toddler ear won't hear it.

So last night, despite the fact that Congress, and the people, and the world basically has said, "NO MORE TROOPS, GEORGE" his response was totally toddler: "92,000 more troops! More! More!"

This, I'm afraid, has been the personality of his entire administration.

Yes, our country, and half the damn world, is being held hostage by a 50-plus year old man stuck in his terrible twos. This is an ominous and very discouraging thing.

I don't know quite what to do to escape this fact. I think one of the reasons bluegrass grabs me the way it does is that it tends to "rescue" me from one reality and place me in another: "Ok, so this guy is the leader of the free world and so he totally disregards every shred of counsel he's received, not to mention shows no evidence of common sense of his own. In the end the world will keep spinning and someday he'll be done and remembered for his own crimes against humanity, and my life will either go on or not regardless of whether George Bush has a lot to do with it."

Bluegrass takes me to a place that's real. Music is my reality.

For a long time and in another job, I worked on issues like poverty and education every day with people I so deeply respected. I'm fortunate that many of them remain my friends. Those were good days, but a little discouraging. The victories we earned were just a molehill when lined up against the mountain of grievances public policy ladled out day after day. We did make George Voinovich cry once, when he was governor of Ohio. But other than that, change grinds slowly.

I don't give up on that, but I do find that as I grow older and I perceive my time to grow shorter, I find that I'm less afraid to share my opinions but less inclined to make them the center of my universe, politically speaking. Bluegrass pretty much is where my head is and, I suspect, will forever be, no matter where I end up, be it a major orchestra or a little university program. I want to sing it, play it, promote it, present it, and just plain keep loving the hell out of it.

It keeps me sane, kind of like the way a nice relaxing bath and a book used to when I was the mother of toddlers.

Only, mine grew out of toddlerhood.

For the record, my heart every day is with those troops who are deployed, with the familes who are ever in fear and constant holding patterns, and with those who are about to be deployed, and their families. I have said it before: we can love the warriors, and hate the war, at the same time.

Where will they get 92 THOUSAND more troops?


The cities. The urban neighborhoods of Chicago. Boston. Philadelphia. Detroit. Cleveland.

The rural south and midwest. Indiana. Georgia. Alabama. Louisiana. The Carolinas.

You get the picture.

This is a retread; it received an awesome trad treatment on Tim O'Brien's Red on Blonde, an all-Dylan collection in which you actually can enjoy all the great words. Anyway, you've seen it here before, but I'm just here to remind you that there is an overtired, undisciplined toddler running our nation.

Night night, sleep tight, don't let the sand mines bite.

Masters of War (click for a YouTube film)

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to knowI can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead


At January 12, 2007 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time, no read! That was beautifully said, Mando Mama. Toddlers can't do any analyses of situations beyond knowing how they feel and acting upon that.

Adults, regardless of the level of education they've attained, but especially if they've been trained in using their minds for such work, are supposed to be able think about their situation a little more before reacting as immaturely as Bush and the neocons are doing.

Thanks for sharing your "abstract" of this post on my site. :) Of itself, is much appreciated, but it also has prompted me to do something I've been thinking of for a while now:

Off Topic -

I do remember you well as a regular on Jim's My Boring Best. I got his invite months ago, but haven't been able to login and read him and yous guys' comments because of some weirdness with Old/New Blogger accounts. Since I don't have his email, I think I've gotta do a post requesting another invite and hope he sees it.

Thanks again for both a wonderful and relevant post, and the impetus for me to reach out to a blogger I really miss being able to read.

At January 12, 2007 8:33 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hello you silly human,
Thanks so much for stopping by. I found your blog again through an old Boring Best post and am impressed with your vigilance! The situation America finds itself in, under this kind of "leadership", is maddening. Good observation about toddlers. Even they usually evolve.

I also appreciate your blog and was frankly inspired by the last few postings. I try pretty hard to stay away from politics and religion (it's an interesting line to walk, being a nonbeliever AND loving bluegrass the way I do, considering the Gospel thread that runs through much of it) but sometimes it's just too much NOT to say, "Ok, did anyone ELSE just see what I saw?"

Stay well, and I hope you catch up with JP. He's a good friend. We should all meet up at one of his ExposeCleveland events around town.


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