I saw a picture of a cop dressed in orange, charged with sex acts with a two year old. News items tend not to get me emotionally concerned, but sometimes they do, like the Sandra Bland story. It makes me want to be the one to deliver karma in person. Unrealistic thinking. This guy with the two year old, just seeing his face and the headline caused my whole being inside the ribcage to want to explode in rage. I thought of my baby friend, Vada, who is four now, but I loved her when she was two as well as now. It's a protective and a giving love, not a taking love. I couldn't even say something to Vada to hurt her. I see news photos of a Palestinian daddy carrying his dead baby two years old, him splattered with her blood, and I think, How can you live with this, man? To myself I say this is half way round the globe, another world, another culture, another language, another way of life, none of which I understand, leave it alone, it's not mine. Mine is here where I am, my world. My impotence to help in any way makes me sad and callouses my heart. I see myself carrying baby Vada covered in her blood, dead, age four, and I want to deliver karmic payback with my bare hands.
I remember my friend Chad, when he was fifteen, his mama's husband beat her mercilessly, Chad stood him up on his toes and told him if he ever hit his mama again, he would beat him to death with his bare hands. Chad could do it, oppressor knew it, his mama was never hit again. I respect Chad for doing what he had to do, that's a hard decision for a kid. I told him of my respect, congratulated him on having what it took to do it. I don't see Chad a lot, but when I see him, I see somebody I respect in a big way. If a smart-missile from an American military drone in this time of police state were to kill Vada, and me near enough to see it, I would lose it for the rest of my life. I would join the forces that oppose American military involvement in my homeland to become an active enemy with purpose. My life would change that instant. I would be a warrior rebel from that day onward. I imagine a large part of the purpose behind the missiles is to create new enemies and to harden old enemies to keep never-ending war going, corporate profits up, shareholders paying their bills, the politicians in the right country clubs, the stock in mood-enhancers rising steadily.
It tears me up, with Vada in my life, to see a child hurt or killed in news photographs. It's what emotional news photographs are meant to do. Nonetheless, I know several people loved that baby with all their hearts the way I love Vada. And they're the people left to bury the baby. I don't like that the government of my country is killing babies all around the globe, even at home, creating such intense misery for corporate profit. It tells me the human condition in this time is the ethics and morality of money, God is dead. Not that God can die, but the American way of life that truly worships money acts as if God were, if not dead, absent. Conscience is something to laugh at now. War is evil. It's obvious. Seems to me a country with an economy rooted in war would, itself, be evil. There is no indifference like the American so-called Christian indifference to the poor and the down and out. None of this is new. It's been like this throughout my lifetime, different faces and names in the news along the way.
American wars are geography lessons in locating the poorest countries on earth with the least defenses, to rob their resources and destroy them further. Shameless is what it is. But it keeps the economy going, the television flickering, the smart-phone charged, the laptop open, our inebriates available, gas in the car. Now it's looking like a necessary evil. Who is going to give up a cell phone, television and computer to stop American jets from bombing more Middle-Eastern defenseless cities? In the poorest parts of the world, my country is known as death from the sky and death squads on the ground. I've not been able to find a way to look at this aspect of America with anything but shame. I can feel pride in American art since the 1950s, pride in American rock n roll, pride in American poetry since Ezra Pound, pride in American writing, in a country where none of it is honored. Maybe it's best that way. Keeps the sentiment in greeting cards and television, where it belongs. I can be nationalistically proud as one of the American people, who are an incredible people. However, our government has turned on we the people, and I can't find nationalist pride in that. This explains why Bernie Sanders appeals to me as a candidate. He appears to have the potential to be a Little David kicking Goliath's ass again. We'll see.
george segal himself