Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So you think you can change the world?

There is no worse feeling than hopelessness. The feeling that no matter what you have done, how much you have done, how hard you have fought, worked, sweated and bled for something, that it's not going to make a difference.

Tonight, when I read that the David Obey plan was shot down in the Senate, that feeling started to nag at me, and has continued to do so for hours now.

For as much as our side has celebrated how ordinary people forced our government to quit fighting a war in Vietnam that we never should've engaged in in the first place, the fact is that it took 15 years to get our troops out of that country, at a cost that has continued to be felt until this day. Really, let's face it, by the time we were finally listened to as a people (and I wasn't alive back then, btw), we had lost so many soldiers, condemned so many of an incredible generation to a mind-numbing hell or horrific death.

Vietnam is a personal story to me because of my uncle, who continues to suffer the physical and mental health problems from his two tours there. I am undeniably proud of everything he did, but he was one of many who were betrayed by their government.

Today's soldiers are also facing a betrayal on so many levels that it seems obscene to even list them. For the first time in our history, we are sending severely injured soldiers back to combat. Those injuries are both mental and physical, but such is the state of our military that its leaders feel compelled to do so. And those who are lucky enough (if such a sickeningly ironic term can be used) to be discharged due to whatever misfortune they have befallen have to scratch, beg, and crawl for their justly earned benefits and medical care. The Walter Reed story, combined with the poor young man who killed himself because he didn't receive the mental health care he richly needed, illustrates this problem clearly.

Despite our highlighting of these many scandals, despite the public pressure we've put on our representatives, despite the president's record low job approval, the sad fact is that not a damn thing has changed. The level of soldiers in the cauldron of Iraq has risen. The medical care is just beginning to be fixed, and it's unlikely that it will happen as quickly as publicly promised. Withdrawal from Irqa before the end of the Bush presidency is highly unlikely (and I'm being charitable in putting it that way), and the next president will have to sort out this disaster.

Domestically, for all our howls and protests, Katrina victims are still suffering on a daily basis, many of them living in trailer ghettos, relegated to the backs of our minds. Have we changed their lives substantially, for all the wonderful, hard work we've put in? The answer, sadly, is no, we haven't changed the lives of too many people.

It is these things that give me this sick feeling that no matter what we do, unless we keep the Democratic congress and elect a Democratic president in 2008, that we won't really have changed a thing. Our efforts have done little to adjust the reality that exists today. I've felt for so long that ordinary people can change the world, and in certain cases I think it's possible still. But in our average, everyday political lives, the discourse and the reality have been so drastically altered by people who fear truth and rational discussion that we are either incapable of formenting true change or are unable to perceive that true change is occurring.

I don't mean to be depressing, but I need some hope right now that we really are going to make a difference and that we're still capable of changing the world, because I don't want to be the one who was around for the end of citizen democracy.


Blogger likwidshoe said...

Depressed for Saddam's fate.

What a life you lead.

"we haven't changed the lives of too many people."

Sure you have. Let's count the ways: higher taxes, higher regulations (how is MI doing btw?), bigger government, and "diplomacy" that never works. You've changed all of our lives in countless negative ways.

Democrats - weak on security, weak on logic, and weak on reason. Take a bow and look around your failing state. You've earned it Thad. It's you and your party's creation. And you're too enamored with the liberal lies to notice it.

9:31 PM  

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