Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Decline of David Brooks

New York Times August 29, 2004

"Today, public opinion is turning against the war not because people have given up on the goal of advancing freedom, but because they are not sure this war is winnable." David Brooks

David Brooks had a shred of credibility when he joined the ranks of the New York Times. But did I miss something? Is he moonlighting? Does his second pay stub read Office of the President?
Mr. Brooks is clever enough to pull the wool very near the eyes of the weary. But his skills are taxed beyond their limit and his credibility severely challenged, when in the service of defending Administration policy in Iraq. Nice work Mr. Brooks; trotting out the next strategy to win the war … again? Do you blow up these trial balloons in the basement of the Pentagon all by yourself?
You concede that public opinion is turning against the war. How bold! But do you believe the American people think for one minute that advancing freedom is the reason our children are being sent to die in Iraq? The American people don’t care if this war is winnable Mr. Brooks – that is not the point and never has been. When an undertaking is immoral, which this war certainly is, it matters not if it is winnable – it matters only that we cease the immoral activity immediately. Iraq is an immoral war because our leaders knowingly and repeatedly lied to us about threats they knew did not exist in order to rush us to engagement. They have no moral authority to spend the lives of our children in this war. Now that thousands of people have died and countless thousands have been grievously injured, we are admonished to stay the course because to do otherwise would be to dishonor those who have sacrificed for the cause. Shame on members of the Bush Administration who wasted the lives of these young men and women as pawns to advance their petty political careers. And shame on all of you who persist in defending this policy today, for dishonoring those dead by continuing to use them, to justify the ongoing slaughter in Iraq.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dean Gaskill

August 20, 2005

Yesterday morning, very early in the new day, Dean Gaskill died. I wish I could have called him a friend, but that wouldn’t be true. We hadn’t known each other long enough and he was the kind of man who had friends – true friends, people with whom he had shared his life and work and who, upon waking this morning, feel the profound emptiness of loss while I can only wonder about a life I had but glimpsed from the edge of a day.

I know this much; he was a man people loved and that quality derived from some place deep within him. I don’t know if it was confidence or inner peace or love of life but it was a disposition that caused his footsteps on this earth to be gentle, but the footprints he left quite deep.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Middle of the Night

August 17, 2005

It is the middle of the night, a place I sometimes find myself, troubled with fears of fleeting time, with truth that will face me when the world wakes and phones ring and dates pass and the deep cold returns to these mountains and a man had better be ready for it. These are the thoughts that bring me to this chair and this pen in the middle of this late summer night. The baby is restless as well, we are so close the two of us that my sleeplessness unsettles him, not the rustling sounds I make moving through the cabin to scratch the biscuit box for something sweet, but my very nature, and here in the middle of tonight my nature is keenly awake. Outside the window inches from my head I hear an owl calling and another answering, hooting in the hollow darkness, spreading news of the night. The crickets’ chirp is sharp and rolls through the room and pounds my brain. There is no silence here, only cautious stillness.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Chinese Girls

August 6, 2005

When the Chinese girls next door woke me with their laughter at 4:00AM, I was dreaming about the 1970’s, about a dark-haired girl in a plaid shirt and low-cut blue jeans, filling a bamboo pipe and drawing deeply then settling down to sleep, naked and peaceful. That was also a part of my life – thirty years ago, more really because it was over by 1975. Things had begun to change even earlier but by the mid-70’s the culture of drugs had swamped the culture of love – replacing ideas with empty-headedness and drawing a generation or so of young minds into a descending spiral of self-indulgent meaninglessness. A culture that took it’s creative spark from Beat poets and folk singers and burned hot with the rage of heady rock and roll, fizzled out under the fractured light of a disco ball in Queens, New York only to be resurrected in the dreams of aging men like me, easily awakened on a summer night.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

August 1

I must confess that I am totally inadequate when it comes to playdoh animal making. It is one of the long list of parental failures I am racking up ... I can just barely make a reasonable pig - at least my two year old son Sebastian recognizes it as a pig - so I suppose I'm not a total failure. We spend most of our playdoh time opening and closing the individual playdoh containers ... taking the dough out putting it back in - and so it goes.

It was rainy this morning and Sebastian and I spent the first part of the day shopping, in and out of farmer's markets, and a mattress shop and I even found a small Italian bakery in this backwoods hamlet that makes pretty good biscotti. I ended up eating the biscotti - Sebastian spit his out - he didn't really care for the anisette but he enjoys going out and behaved himself like a proper little gentleman.

The skies cleared this afternoon and we took the kayak out and paddled to the small beach on the lake and spent a hour or so playing in the shallow water and talking with the older women who inhabit the beach here in Smallwood ... women who have been coming here for decades and who cluster in the shade under the leafy sugar maples. Sebastian has a ready-made group of Grandmothers who fuss over him and bring him cookies ... he has a wonderful time there but my plan to keep him cookie-free is totally shot! So be it ...

We took a bath together tonight - what fun that was - and now he's sleeping soundly and the crickets outside are making their nighttime noise...