Veterans in the swamp, hopes in the dumps
"I can't believe this. This is worse than Baghdad. What my country has become sickens me."
-- Christian Parenti, writing March 19, in the Nation
I've been keeping track of James's travels via his blog: these days it makes stiff reading indeed. He's been the documentarian for the Veterans' antiwar march through the wake of Katrina wreckage.
He reports that several of them can't bear to return home after the march, feeling as they do the fierceness of need. am touched by that ache in James's writings. We loose track of the level of misery we stand in so easily. Only a great act of writing or art can wake us up and bring us out of our stupor.
I find it painful, after reading James's blog, to reflect on the state of activism among my own community, the Progressive Christians. True, we're young; true, unorganized, diverse; bound up with decade-long interior arguments. And yet, standing on churches with hundred-year traditions and such thick memberships and such ostensible commitment to the movements of the Holy Spirit, shaking us down to compassion at every sparrows' fall, how is it that we cannot summon a collective or sustained message of outrage?
Is it that Habitat for Humanity and the church soup kitchens, in the end, serve as a paliative to the conscience, numbing appropriate outrage, stilling the noise of condmenation? My family and friends in Texas send their donations and remind me that people are charitable and good.
And then there are the Veterans, months later, standing in the muck, proclaiming it "Still Worse than Baghdad." Quitting their jobs to stay and rebuild. My mood tonight is depressive. If 250 Veterans could change each others' lives, how is it that our thousands of clergy and churchgoers cannot rethink their own?
Taken in purely practical terms, guilt set aside, leave me my passing and moody envy of a talented ex-boyfriend's budding activist career. If 250 veterans could make the Nation and produce a documentary, how is it our ossified institutions of church goers can't think up a compelling publicity campaign, an experience that actually changes the mind of middle class citizens, or an event worthy of news coverage?
Tell me, seriously. I know you read my blog. Have I chosen the wrong group of activists to run with?
Read more cause for outrage and view more distressing pictures of lingering Katrina wreckage at Stan Goff's webpage. Jeff Wells is almost as depresesd as I am.
Technorati Tags: katrina, hurricane, neworleans, veterans, activism, prochrist, progressive, liberal, media