War under Obama
I'm at the Jackson Mississippi Post Office, leaving my truck when I hear a young white adolescent male tell his father in the righteous ridiculous authoritative tone carefully shored and formed by his privileged place in life that war under Obama was indeed different from Bush.
I ask him to explain himself. How does he figure war under Obama is different?
He explains: "Because Obama is trying to get us out of there. Bush just wanted to keep us in there".
I ask him to tell me what Obama is doing to get us out of Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan. I feel anger welling up so deeply - anger at this young man that addresses me so patronizingly already, anger at his father for the smirk on his face part pride part embarrassment maybe, anger at Obama for misleading all those who want to believe in him.
But here is a child, a youth who at least knows who is president and obviously wants to believe we are heading down a different path than under Bush. Not to mention here is a white southern male child who is being raised differently than the grown white male jerk I left at a gas station in Louisiana.
He tells me Obama has said so and continues to work hard trying to bring our troops home.
I ask him about Obama doubling our soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. How is making more soldiers go to Afghanistan helping to bring them home?
I don't have time to mention keeping our troops, 135,000, on the ground in Iraq. And I fear I'd lose him if i mention the horrific increase of bombings in Pakistan bringing the number of US kills in 6 months more than the previous 6 years.
He tells me Obama has to send in more troops in order to get the rest of our troops out. I know I cannot ask him to explain how doubling our troops in Afghanistan will lead to getting them out.
Instead, I ask him this. I say suppose I am trying to break 2 by 4's over your head every night. Suppose I tell you "son, starting tomorrow, I'm going to stop breaking 2x4's over your head." Will you believe me?
Before he can answer I say, wait a minute. Think about it. And while you're thinking, notice a big truck backing up to this curb and dropping off a whole truck load of 2x4's.
So now I've doubled my supply. Do you believe I am going to stop cracking you upside the head tomorrow?
I have thought about using the example of alcohol or cigarettes but decide to use something more violent. He does visibly flinch. His father's smirk has turned to impatience - I see he's about to drag his son away so I tell him "Son, ONLY believe what people say when their actions reflect their words. Do you understand that?"
As they flee, I regret having to undermine his belief in Obama, given the racist milieu he is growing in. I'm sure he does not have the maturity or the anti-racist commitment to be able to distinguish racism from accountability.
"Call Obama" I send my last wish after them. "Tell him you expect him to end war now"
He needs to hear from you - I am saying to the wavering sidewalk, humidity already rising to decimate the remnants of the early morning coolness.