Midweek Essays – Independence Day – Letter To The President

It is the Fourth of July and today is how this Fourth should be, grey and wet and cold.  There is no celebration of independence or freedom or democracy, only these angry, grey clouds weeping for the 200,000 blackened corpses buried in the desert sand, forgotten.  God knows, we’ve tried to forget them with our ticker-tape and parades and apple pie and prayers, but I will remember.  The blood of your brother cries from the ground.

It all seems surreal like some subtle nightmare and sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to awake.  Two hundred million people celebrating Death.  Oh, I’m sorry, I mean the safe return of our troops and how so few were killed (300 is a few?).  But I forget.  The blood of Americans is so precious and the blood of others is, as someone once said, “of nigh equal value to swine’s blood.”

The President choked up during a recent speech when he mentioned how he prayed for the soldiers.  Well, Mr. President I prayed too; for the soldiers and for those others, well, you know, those forgotten ones, for peace, for justice, for real solutions, but my God didn’t hear me.  At least the fire that came down and licked up your sacrifices and the stones and the water in the pit and the bunkers and the metal and the flesh wasn’t in answer to my prayers.  And now I’m left with no altar and the priests and the prophets are all dead.  You killed them, Mr. President, you and your Medal of Freedom toting, media-blackout men.  So you win, Mr. President, your God is bigger than my God, my God of the Little; my God of mites and children and the poor and the mustard seeds and tiny babies in mangers.  You win.  You’re first and I’m last.  It almost makes me laugh.

It is the Fourth of July and this is how the Fourth should be, grey and wet and cold.  There is no celebration of independence or freedom or democracy, only a bitter taste in my mouth, sort of like vinegar and cheap wine and blood running down the chin of a dying Carpenter a couple of days ago.  You remember, don’t you?  The Crucifixion and how they laid him in a mass grave after he was dead.  Oops, I guess I’ve been misled.  But you know I wonder.

Whose blood was that that was shed?

July 4, 1991 – after “first” Gulf War


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