Today, Pottering around; tomorrow, thankfulness

Wednesday November 21, 2001

 

Michele (my-wife-the-shrink) and I just got back from seeing “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It was WONDERFUL! We were both entranced for the entire 2-1/2 hours. When was the last time all your conversation after a movie was about how perfect the casting was, how seamless the screenplay, how smooth the special effects? Quite a while, right?

I’m one of the most critical movie-watchers on the face of the Earth — like most know-it-alls I love to find mistakes — and I was so caught up in the story that if there were any errors, I never even noticed. (Except for the bishop moving laterally instead of diagonally, but that’s so obvious that there must’ve been a reason that I missed.) If you haven’t seen it yet, for crying out loud blow the $8.50 and see it on the big screen. It’s every kid’s fantasy come to life, even if the details differ. I now have a new “all-time favorite movie,” at least until “Lord of the Rings” comes out, and it’ll have to SMOKE!

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving.

I’ve got so much to be thankful for! I wasn’t on one of those airplanes, or on the ground in the wrong place, on 9/11, and neither was anyone I knew. I don’t have any close friends or relatives on the ground in Afghanistan, and don’t know of any who are likely to go there. I live in a great little town, in a great part of the world, surrounded by plenty. I haven’t received any letters with nasty bacteria on them.

I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict. For many of my fellow drunks and junkies, a life as long and mostly happy as mine is a blessing that they’ll never know. I’ve managed to clean up most of the wreckage I left behind me, to the extent that that’s ever possible. I work in a job I like with people I respect. I HAVE a job.

I also have the great good fortune — dumb luck, really — to live in a country where 7% of the world’s people are privileged to control 35% of the resources. The rest of the world, on average, enjoys about seven-tenths of one percent of the abundance that I daily take for granted. I need to remember that, and remember that my ancestors came along and took the most resource-rich piece of land on Earth away from its owners, then pretty-much exterminated them. That’s how I got to be so rich.

I need the perspective that remembering these things gives me. I need the consideration and caution it forces me to apply when “analyzing” what the rest of the world “needs to be doing” in order to solve problems like overpopulation, poverty, childhood disease and starvation — and before I pontificate on matters that are perhaps far more complex than I know.

There are some things that I do know. I’ve recently learned, along with the rest of my countrymen, that in today’s world the dissatisfaction of even a tiny number of people can be brought home to ME. No longer does a Monroe Doctrine or vast stretches of ocean protect me and mine, nor concepts like “mutual annihilation.” If I and my countrymen are to continue in anything like the security that we have enjoyed for most of the past 225 years, then we have to remember that we are no longer an island unto ourselves.

It’s a small world, and to the degree that even a few others believe that we are selfishly taking more than our share, precisely to that degree, are we vulnerable to more of the horror that we’ve so recently tasted. And folks, the recent horrors are minuscule compared to a tactical nuclear bomb in a suitcase on a cruise ship in the Port of Miami, or a larger one in the hold of a freighter in San Francisco Bay.

We need to understand that, for the first time in American history, we are as vulnerable as our enemies — more so, for we enjoy the liberties that make their attacks virtually child’s play. Are we willing to give up those liberties and live our lives of privilege behind locked doors and shuttered windows? Or are we ready to take our place as TRUE world leaders, leading the rest of the world into a better life for us all?

These are questions that we must answer TODAY. Thousands of shattered lives from the tragedies of 9/11 tell us that we’ve waited too long.

I’m worried that we’ll do the next wrong thing.

“The world is a tough neighborhood.”

– Dan Rather

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