Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How Did This Happen?

At some point I am going to have to go back through the Burrow's archives and see when the notion of truthiness took hold of its center.  

Nance is mired in a morass of sorrowfulness of spirit and the weather isn't helping at all.  Those of us who live in mild climates must be excused our inflated expectations.  San Diego ....Tucson... these are places where sunny warm winters are the norm and where two days of high clouds bring on sighs of disgust.  Enduring day after day of clouds and cold and gloom was not in the welcome packet left by our realtors - no, it was not.

Coupled to UCSD students behaving badly and murdered 14 year old girls, she's added her confusion and frustration with the US presence in Afghanistan and she's miserable.  Looking for solace where there really isn't any at all.  

Because the reporting on the Compton Cookout is all over the place with facts and fantasies and though the event was, to say the least, undoubtedly in bad taste, it would be nice to know where to direct my rage.  The headline talks about fraternity boys, but the fraternity didn't sponsor it.  A member, living out of the house, had a party.  The fraternity condemned it.  So,

Fraternity Mocks Black History Month With "Compton Cookout,"

KTLA.com's headline of February 18, 2010 reeks of truthiness.  And that's just the headline.  

Who knows what the rest of those "facts" really are?  Wikipedia tells a different tale - of an African-American comic who held the party to promote his new DVD.

How did that become conflated with the University?  Did the University over-react?  Under-react?  Having served on a public school board during contentious times, I am fully aware of the tendency of the various constituencies to interpret official actions through their own prism of what I now recognize as truthiness.   Should the University have done more?  I'm choosing to believe that they are basically good people doing the very best that they can, and leave it at that.  

After all, without being there, without knowing the players, all I really have is everyone's truthiness about it.  

And then Nance anguishes over dead teenagers found near a high school and I remember G'ma's face when a girl was "mugged" outside the high school football field my senior year.  Rape was never said, but the implication was clear -- walking home from school in the dark, that block and a half of middle-class houses whose residents I knew by name or by sight, that pathway between the outside and home was no longer safe.  There was no consolation, no solution, no way around it - scary had come too close for comfort.  In this instance, the facts were less important than the feelings and the reactions.  

I never heard about the miscreant's capture, and then it was summer and college and I drove where I needed to go and the memory faded from my consciousness.  Faded until I was moving G'ma out of that same house and I decided to take a break and walk around the neighborhood.  And as I turned the corner onto Allen Street I began to pick up my pace.   I was 17 again and I was scared.

I'm sorry, Nance, I don't think there's anything more than a warm hug to offer on this one.

Afghanistan is a whole 'nother story, as the poet says.  Alexander the Great left without conquering it; I'd think our military might take a page from his book.  I'm still believing that we have a date for withdrawal of July, 2011 (call me naive, I don't care) and that, in the interim, we are using our drones and our troops to wreak what havoc we can.  To hope that Afghanistan will be a model democracy when even the Iraqi's refer to the Karzai regime as corrupt (and as soon as I find that NPR link I'll add it.... but I've been looking for a while and I'm done for now) is a pipe dream, I think.  But I do take hope from the fact that the Sunni's voted in the latest Iraqi elections, realizing that boycotting was not getting them what they wanted/needed/thought they should have.  The candidates were stronger than the last time, and maybe, just maybe, a viable government may be in the offing. 

Sure, there are problems.  But our soldiers in Baghdad, when interviewed on the NBC Nightly News, were complaining about not being able to fight, as the draw-downs continue.  There's just not as much hostility anymore.  And that's not something which I would have predicted a few years ago.

Certainly, typing "a few years ago" makes me sad.  This is a long long engagement and we need to be done.  I am counting on President Obama to keep his pledge and get us out of Afghanistan when he said he would.  I hope that we have intelligence that is enabling our forces to be as effective as they can.   

But, ultimately,  I realize that all this is based on truthiness.....  I guess I have to be comfortable with mine.

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