No Enemy But Peace

photo by sn6200
published December 4, 2016

It wasn’t that night that changed things. The change came afterwards. There was no precise moment, just a gradual process that went unnoticed. Then at some point I realized I wasn’t disappointed.

I was not surprised at all.

I used to waste more time. I suppose that’s something good that’s come of this.

I don’t know that I was ever excited to look at Facebook. It was something I did, perhaps compulsively, everyday, throughout the day, for five minute chunks at a time. Let me read this article. Let me comment on this argument about dogs. Let me tell an acquaintance of a friend of a friend what I think about Bob Dylan or a restaurant in a location I visited once ten years ago so I must be an expert.

I’m not on Facebook much these days.

President-elect. There’s no editorialized prevention to be had.

I was never excited about the news either. It was something I did, perhaps compulsively, everyday, throughout the day, for five minute chunks at a time. What’s the latest celebrity spat? With all that money and fame you’d think those kids could get along. The Oscars were last night? Google: best and worst dressed at The Academy Awards. 5 habits of successful people? I want in on that.

I don’t read the news much these days.

Maybe these activities only ever felt engaging.

Now Facebook, the news, are like tapping on a fishbowl to try to influence a world apart from me. Tapping. I hear that gives them headaches.

I’m lucky to be the busiest I’ve been in years.

A few days before the election, FEMA shipped my partner Molly to Texas for 6 months, and our realtor walked us through perhaps the 150th house we’d seen over the last year.

That thing that everyone told us, that we’d fall in love instantly with our house, was pretty much bullshit up until that last house.

We fell in love.

We put in an offer.

The offer was accepted.

We’re moving.

With Molly away that means I’m packing up all our belongings, patching up and painting the billions of nail holes on the walls here because together we have enough art to cover 1000 square feet of walls from floor to ceiling.

Keeping busy. Always busy.

Money becomes more of a priority when it sinks in we bought a house. No weekend recreation for me. If I’m not packing, I’m coding lately. 7-day work weeks from now until we close in January. I could take on more. I don’t want time to do anything else.

This little hour I’ve taken to write is the only thing I’ve done for myself outside of eating chocolate since Molly left. But I’m grateful for all the email in the morning. Happy to be busy and out of the fishbowl. Wish I was busier actually. Wish there was more daylight so I could run the dog for hours. Anything but the fishbowl.

There’s a whole world in there that doesn’t breathe the same air as me.

The news is horrible and it doesn’t matter. It was horrible before and we elected him anyway. A man with an indoor pool that made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich once when I was a kid elected him. The angry woman in Sunderland who flipped me off from her yard for no reason I was ever able to determine, elected him. The fake news from the fishbowl elected him, and it doesn’t matter anymore.

I think of Cicero instead.

There are good deeds, and bad ones, and superstition. Their used to be gods, now they’ve evolved into Gods, and they prove that we are still intelligent barbarians. And it doesn’t matter.

Cicero. Volumes of his writing left behind demonstrating that were he alive today, in some science fiction way; if we could pull him through time into the light of 2016, he could still do far more than manage. He lived several hundred years ago and he was brilliant by any standard.

But he died, was killed. One leader hated his wit and criticism, and that leader came to power, and then, despite all the intelligence of the Greek world, there was also barbarism. Like today. Cicero spoke out against the leader and lost his life for speaking the truth. His words made him dangerous. The leader cut off his hands and cut out his tongue and put his defeated pieces on display in a public plaza so there would be no new Cicero bold enough to come forward.

They were civilized, perhaps even more so than us.

I can’t have contempt for the peanut butter and jelly man. I could be angry before the election, but it’s pointless now. Impossible. It’s not a choice, this absence of contempt. I feel mostly painful sympathy for all of us, even the white nationalist who thinks his time has finally come, and he and his family will be happy and prosperous. They won’t. There are no dream jobs with amazing benefits for uneducated, unskilled workers living in dying rural towns. Not millions of them anyway.

What did we do all this for?

A Creed of Ideals

This is my country. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My country is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my country is useless. Without my country, I am useless. I must fire true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy. I must shoot him before he shoots me. Before God, I swear this creed. We are the defenders. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.

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