I think another part of me has died.
Dramatic much? Yeah. probably.
Here’s what just happened. I saw on Facebook (of all places) that President Obama “Declares End to U.S. Iraq Combat”.
And then I went back to all the other things I was doing. Like, exchanging mutual appreciation with three, no four, now seven friends over a video of a little preschooler drumming his heart out to Joan Jett’s “I hate myself for loving you.”
I kept skimming my Facebook newsfeed like I do any other afternoon to unwind. And I didn’t feel anything.
When there’s an minor local earthquake, the newsfeed is especially fun to watch. Everyone who feels it loves to report at FB. There’s a giddiness in the accumulation of exclamations. “Wooahh.” “I felt it!” There’s an exciting relief.
Currently, I only see one reaction over this declaration from our Commander in Chief. Everyone else is listing business as usual … posting videos of “Pole dancing Indien [sic]“, liking Kraft Foods, watching kids’ tennis practice, recommending Lil Wayne.
I thought. Really? End of this war? I glanced at the NY Times article.
“President Obama declared an end on Tuesday to the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq . . . “
I wondered why I wasn’t feeling anything. Then I had two memories.
First, I recalled how I felt the night we bombed Baghdad back in March 2003. I was sitting in a booth at Sonny McLean’s–where usually celebrating Celtic and Red Sox fans repel me. Back when I was cableless, I’d go there when Bostonians were staved off by political news events on the big screens. On that night, it was modern war imagery: President Bush, CNN maps, dark skies (am I making that up?) I guess the truth is that I don’t remember exactly what I saw on the TV. But I do remember watching it, talking to Andy on my phone (he was in D.C.) and feeling a deep sense of dread. An awful thing was happening. At that very moment.
Next, I recalled how I used to feel about Barack Obama. How I wept the first time I saw him speak at his famous DNC appearance. How on that night, I called Andy and instead of saying “hello” the first words out of my mouth were whispered with certainty, “He’s going to be president someday.” The promise of his brilliance felt like a miracle.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to start a tirade about Mr. Obama’s presidential performance. But the fact is that I can’t seem to find the immense inspiration he used to conjure in me. Too many people are suffering. Still. At the hands of our government. I don’t even feel angry anymore.
On this night, I don’t feel anything.
Which causes me to mourn.
The war isn’t over.