Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tipping Over the Edge

Sometimes it's the seemingly smallest detail that nudges one over. In this case it was President Obama's use of one word that tipped me over the edge of silence into the realm of expressing frustration and anger.

This month, December 2009, Obama gave a speech in which he said we need to be "nimble and precise in our use of military hardware." Nimble?

Quick, light, agile and deft. Quick, clever and acute in understanding.

It's not only the meaning, it's the sound of the word "nimble," the feeling, which is benign and almost fairy-like.

What does it mean to couple this word "nimble" with "military hardware?" Is it a linguistic balancing act to make us feel that everything is okay?

Are we supposed to be lured into the belief that killing people and destroying their environment is a quick light and deft action? That it takes a light maneuver to accomplish destruction? Or, is it using this benign and light word to lead us away from the brutal reality that our military is killing people who live thousands of miles away from us in order to "protect us?"

Ask yourself, when was the last time you even heard the word used? Using the word "nimble" was a conscious choice. I was shocked and angered to hear it used in this way.

I am angry that politicians use words to manipulate our feelings and beliefs. To lead us away from inconvenient truths.

Engaging in wars is not in any way a light experience, nor should it be described as such or insinuated that it is. It would be more useful to see the body bags of the dead returning and see the numbers civilians, everyday of people, we kill in Iraq and Afghanistan and to listen to what the families of the slain are saying. This is horrific to contemplate because it is horrific. Seeing the consequences of our actions we might be more inclined to speculate and talk about why our government is in other countries waging wars and why so many people around the globe dislike and fear us. Maybe we could move toward truth. Perhaps toward compassion. Perhaps we can take more compassionate actions to foster peace and to terminate our determination to build empire.