Sunday, June 16, 2024

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Bob Gray: The day after

I just can’t stop thinking of all the good which might be done with simply the eight million dollars this country spends each day for airstrikes against the Islamic State in a “war” which will never be “won” despite all the bombs and the billions of dollars we drop into that black hole.

I took my usual walk Christmas day and wasn’t at all unhappy that the warm weather had melted the snow away.

At times like this you can see the Earth at its most basic: hills’ stoic ridges frown down on us and what was all-day color lies in a gray, soppy heap waiting for April’s hopeful trimmer and rake.

Arm-thick vines in the neglected woodlot across the street snake toward the light, twined together like boas, either out territorial anger or, preferably in this season, an embrace of love.

A razor-sharp line of clouds riding a gusty, west wind begins to ease temperatures back toward their seasonal norms.

If you’ve read my work before, you might recognize the images building to a familiar theme. But if you’re out and about and your senses are functioning, you might write the same story as well.

At any rate, I figure, all that’s been said someway, somehow, down all the years.

However there is, unlike the poetry of the season, a situation most of us might not always consider.

During the holiday season local TV stations seem always to broadcast a feel-good feature, usually the final few minutes of the evening news. The story invariably pictures “less fortunate” children eagerly unwrapping donated presents in a church hall, school gym, or the local fire station. They might get a turkey dinner to go with their gifts. That’s extra good since many of them don’t know when they’ll enjoy their next warm, nourishing meal.

The worst part of the whole thing is listening to the chirpy newscasters telling how wonderful it is that these kids are being given a happy Christmas. The hungry and the homeless may come to mind again, perhaps at Easter, or maybe next Thanksgiving.

I won’t be “a dog in the manger” and discount the hard work of so many charitable, kind-hearted people who not only make the Yuletide gay but also gather warm clothing, man food pantries, and shelter the homeless not just during the Christmas season, but the whole year ‘round as well.

They work for wages most of us would probably consider chump change by simply freeing themselves from blind indifference to the plight of a billion human beings not only in “the developing world” but also to the destitute, ill-clothed human beings who just might be “living” out of a car or a tent just a little ways down the road.

It shouldn’t be so.

This might be the place for me to flay a Congress strangled by corporate purse strings and wallowing in institutionalized indifference. That’s a song we’ve all heard so often we can sing it from memory.

But I just can’t stop thinking of all the good which might be done with simply the eight million dollars this country spends each day for airstrikes against the Islamic State in a “war” which will never be “won” despite all the bombs and the billions of dollars we drop into that black hole.

I used to think Americans would never take to the streets to protest or to upset the status quo as long as the majority of us had full bellies and a roof over our heads.

I guess most of us are still well-fed, warm, and dry.

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