Monday, June 30, 2008

Something to believe in.

Often, I don't know what to believe. In fact, when I think about it, I'm not even sure I know what, or whom, I believe in.

Well, after 38 years, I know I believe in Mrs. Dada. And there's a few other humans I believe in as well.

And I believe in dogs. That comes from the five dogs who've shared their lives with me the past 20 years. As a result of Sam (my editor) and his four predecessors, I've come to believe in all animals.

That's about it. Well, there is another possibility. I think I may believe in peace but I'm not positive. That's because, in all my life, it's been so damned evasive. I don't really know it, hence, I can't be sure.

See, I was born during World War II, the war to end all wars. Or maybe that was the war before it, World War I, I don't remember. But I have an excuse: I wasn't alive during World War I to remember if it was that "last war" or not.

Anyway, immediately after the Second World War came the Cold War.

The Cold War was like this nice, big umbrella war under which "little wars" could start, drag on, kill thousands or millions, then end. But always was the danger that one of the little wars like Korea or Vietnam could kick off a "hot" Cold War. That was always pretty exciting.

Somewhere between Korea and Vietnam, my little classmate friends and I would get to practice "Duck and cover!" (or maybe it was "Flash! Drop!" or something) and we'd all dive under our school desks whenever the teacher would shout those words. It was all prep for the day when the Cold War turned into an "atomic" war. And from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we all knew what that meant. We had seen the films of how we fried the "Japs" in those cities. So like good little Americans we were all scared to death.

It couldn't get much more thrilling than that. It was what we all lived for. What we all we lived to die for.

Hopefully, however, when practicing for humanity's ultimate, orgasmic war, if we ended up on the floor beneath our desks, our backsides would be towards the flying shards of glass and the direction of the blasts so that, if we did it right, my classmate Darwin behind me would be on the floor staring at my rear end as I would be, too, staring at Heidi's seated in front of me (who even in 7th grade during a slow class lecture wasn't timid about flashing the bright red garter she wore just above her right knee).

As we had been taught, it was better to spare our heads than save our asses.

In the final years of the Cold War, we had the Cuban Missile Crisis, probably our tensest moment in all of history for a war of total annihilation (until maybe now and Big Dick Cheney's endless priapism for Armageddon. Jesus, doesn't he hear those commercials? After four hours in such a condition, you should immediately consult your physician?!)

Anyway, after Vietnam, yet still under the Cold War umbrella, there were the little fun "wars" (or actions) against Grenada, Panama and our vicarious wars in Central and South America conducted by others we had armed and trained to be aggressive for us.

With the end of the Cold War in '89, there was some oblique references to "the peace dividend." My interest in something I could maybe believe in was rekindled.

But whatever the peace dividend was, it never manifested. No, instead, there was the first gulf war, the Balkan wars, the Iraq no-fly zones enforcement to keep us going until post 9/11 and the Afghan invasion and a second Iraqi war!

And now, as if we don't have enough on our plate, we're waddling back up to the buffet bar for "just one more."

So forgive me if I can't bring myself to believe in peace. Sometimes I wonder if old Cold War classmates, like Darwin and memorable red gartered Heidi, ever think of those moments on the floor beneath our desks, heads buried under our arms praying that if the real bombs fall our asses would be saved; if they still dream of peace? Or have they given up on such lofty idealism?

I don't know. But maybe that's why I'm occasionally lured to a peace demonstration. Or a 3rd, 4th, or 5th anniversary of our current war, to extoll peace.

And maybe that's why I was drawn last Friday evening to a Pastor's for Peace caravan on their way to break the blockade against Cuba in defiance of the U.S. for the 19th time in 17 years! There was something very special about that evening, about meeting the people doing it.

There are demonstrations for peace. Then there are people putting their lives, their futures on the line for peace. And it is in such acts of defiance I still hold out a hope that one day I may finally be able to add peace to my otherwise short list of things I believe in!


The Pastors for Peace buses are gathering in McAllen, TX in preparation for Thursday's border crossing.
Photo courtesy of Janine Bandcroft's web blog, Journey to Cuba with Pastors for Peace

NOTE: Dada is following the Pastors for Peace and their act of good will in defiance of this country's embargo upon Cuba. July 3rd is to be a very big day for their mission. That's the day they shall attempt once more to cross out of the United States into Mexico with much needed supplies for Cubans who have suffered the drastic results of U.S. sanctions for decades now.

One of the members of this group, Janine, has a nice website chronicling (with photo albums!) the progress of this year's caravanistas. If you get a chance, please drop by. I just returned from there and learned they are now in McAllen, TX prepping for their Thursday crossing of the border. Exciting!


Border Explorer said...

I thought I commented on this post. Don't see it now.

Anyway, I love Janine's blog. It's way cool. Thanks for posting on the caravan. Gets my mind wandering.

Border Explorer said...

I remember what else I said:
"Everyone needs something to believe in. After this review of wars in my lifetime, I believe I'll go get myself a beer."

dada said...

Border: LOL! As I was reading your last comment here, I was sipping a cool India Pale Ale (the beer of Empire Builders!) Fortunately, I didn't lose any out my nose. (Sorry, for those of a sensitive nature who just read that and were repulsed, much as myself!)

And, yes, tomorrow's the *big* day for the caravanistas. TO CROSS THE BORDER!

I'm enjoying Janine's blog too. Getting to meet some of these people actually participating in this has really captivated me.

(Oh, BTW, since posting this particular blog, I have thought of something else I believe in. That would be sometimes an occasional autumn, when on a tear through the NFL, I believe in the Green Bay Packers...although, I don't know if that will hold true with the departure of Bret Favre!)