For a long while I didn’t know what it was about Diana. Just something both disturbing and arousing: old, new, broken, blue…
Perhaps it was all those things. Like a smoldering sanitary landfill. She was toxic, yet so exotic that you desired the treasure of her muscular, slim body. But you always hesitated because those menacing dark eyes and that scowl in her pondering upper lip made you feel as if you were nothing more than a platter of hors de oeuvres.
For beneath those short, wavy, blonde locks was a mystery. And her coarse loud laugh covered a secret that sometimes set her mood like that of a surly drunk who simply didn’t want to talk about it.
So we didn’t.
And then, finally one night, curled up and exhausted in bed, we did.
This was a tad over 20 years ago. She was in her final year of law school where she found herself at the end of her twenties. But she still hadn’t found herself, really. She had been lost, she said in a voice that had inexplicably found its softness, since President Jimmy Carter canceled America’s participation in the 1980 Olympics.
For those who don’t remember, Carter prohibited America’s athletes from attending the Olympic party in Moscow because we were at loggerheads with the Russians over support for different tribal sides warring in a country that still has us riveted today – Afghanistan.
And Diana had been an aspiring gymnast. Years upon years of training to try out and possibly make our Olympic team. And then, with the stroke of the Presidential pen, it abruptly ceased and desisted.
Her life foundered.
To most of us this may not seem so momentous. Naturally, most of us have forgotten that in ancient Greece the games went on. Warring sides lay down their differences and beat their swords into plowshares for the length of the competition.
What we also seem to forget is that we pay a price for everything. Not only did the Russians reciprocate by not competing in the following Olympics staged at the destination of our first torch run across America. But our mostly “non” declared wars have strewn a trail of victims like Diana — and much, much worse — across our land and its borders.
The price is excruciating. And for what reason except we have allowed a bunch of voracious, carnivorous misanthropes to lead us into the caged arenas of psychopathic testosterone.
Like my immigrant grandparents, I love to love this country. But I despise our prevaricating government and its repugnant politicians. Their spurious and specious claims have not only misled good people to march into the battlefields where death feasts, but seduced us with its jingoism to shed our sanity even if we don’t die.
We are told, for instance, that 58,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam. One person killed is a tragedy. But 58,000 is merely a statistic. It stifles us from pursuing answers to: Killed for what? Killed for whom? Killed for what other reason than a bunch of meaningless, rusty, purple heart metals while a greedy cabal exploited.
Old soldiers don’t die, young ones do, so that old guys can capitalize.
The palliative news is that the dead no longer suffer. It is the living who must endure the harrowing indignity. Thousands upon thousands weren’t killed and put out of their misery. Many are left with depleted lives. They were kicked off the bus. And run over by a truck.
They are the walking dead.
And we are the inured.
Those who weren’t slaughtered by bombs and bullets were eradicated by their own denying politicians with Agent Orange and young officers in starched uniforms with deviant aspirations.
And what have we learned from the dead, and the living dead and the families of the dead and the dead men walking? And SOBs like former Secretary’s of Defense Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld even after they harvested million$ and salved their conscience.
We have learned from history that we have learned nothing from history. Did we ever stop to think violence always begets violence; war begets yet another war?
Allow me to shorten that question: Did we ever stop to think? And the disturbing answer is that many of us who did, never got started again.
Afghanistan is still in the news, isn’t it? We’re still there. The Afghanis still hate us. And the Russians, if we had dared to bother to consult them rather than our overpaid government consultants – could have told that idiot “W” Bush and Dick and their Sodomites: Don’t do it. It’s Vietnam only with more mountains and less underbrush and combatants that all look alike in their berkas and beards.
So 30 years after Diana’s life was crumpled, we’re still fighting the same old battle the same old ways with the same young guys dying or discombulated while the same old greedy bastards still getting rich.
The trouble is, except under Clinton, America has never had a prospering economy without a war.
Is that our destiny? To kill, or be killed. Or destroy the destiny of those who aren’t sure that living is any better or worse than dying. Just remember that war doesn’t determine who is right – only who is left.
And that brings us to Nixon’s war on drugs.
Obviously we didn’t learn from history, particularly our 13 year “war” on prohibition of alcohol. Or the corruption undermining this nonsense. Or the fact that the war on drugs was lost 85 years ago. And yet the body bags keeping mounting up and we keep on destroying the lives of the living.
Just consider alone that in the last 5 years over 40,000 Mexican folks have been slaughtered, mostly near the border of the United States where drug turf wars are waged. That’s edging very close to what America lost in 12 years in Southeast Asia.
This is women and children being butchered. And yet we and the Mexicans pursue the repetition and redundancy of madness. There is too much money and graft on both sides of the border.
How much worse could legalizing the stuff be? If we can’t beat them with guns, we should be able to out-duel them with bigger, better and cheaper business acumen.
Well? Shouldn’t we?
As one Presidential candidate has aptly put it: We don’t need the government to tell us that sticking a needle of poison in your arm is bad for you.
But people are going to do it. They have done it. Will do it. And continue doing it until they simply don’t want to or can’t do it no more.
In other words, those who want it are getting it anyway. Everywhere. I can take you to “supermarkets” right here in Philadelphia. And if I know where they are, then the officials must know where they are.
Afghanistan’s biggest crop is the poppy plant for making heroin. Have we given those farmers an alternative to scrape out a living for their families besides destroying their fields? Have we provided the Mexicans and other South American farmers options?
Legalizing is a frightening thought. Even to me. But we live and thrive in a country of free will and freedoms of choice. And, supposedly, the leftover freedoms that Bush and Dick and his Sodomites didn’t usurp from us in the quiet coup of post 911.
And, as I’ve said many times: no matter how smart we are, we still spend most of our day being an idiot. In fact, giving a man his freedom is like giving a dog a computer – the chances are neither will use it wisely.
But then we have no one to blame but ourselves. And as Diana told me that night: “We do what we do. I may not have even made the team. But I had to see it through. I had to find out for myself. I didn’t need anyone telling me I couldn’t do something. That’s for me to decide. It’s my life and they took it away from me.”
And thousands just like her.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.