George Washington warned of “foreign entanglements.”
FDR gave it a context, “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.”
Obama brought it home, “America is not the world’s police man. Terrible things happen around the globe. And it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.”
The key to watching a president is hitting the mute button the second after he walks away from the podium. Otherwise, the pundits will tell you what you think about what you just saw.
Instead, I discussed it briefly with a friend and went for a swim in Lake Michigan. It was 90-degrees last night and the lake felt like air conditioning. When the sky is black, and the lake is black, and only your thoughts are colored with the pensiveness of reflection, then and only then, can you begin to see things for yourself.
I don’t know what to do. And I’m not here to convince you. I don’t have a crystal ball. Those who predict the future turn me off. Using the past to forecast the future with absolute certainty is the calling card of charlatans.
Bombs don’t make sense to me. Drones don’t make sense to me. Guns don’t make sense to me. Wars don’t make sense to me. Winning, and the uncontrollable desire to win, are best left on the racket ball court.
I’m not a violent person. That’s a lie. I’m capable of immense violence. All of us are, if we’re honest with ourselves. I choose to take the impulse out on myself by pushing myself, always pushing myself, to write better, think more clearly, land the joke with just the right twist of phrase.
Mostly, I fail. But my intention is in the right place, which is all you can ask; otherwise, you’re chasing a result, which is the mad-dash to nowhere, best left in your 20’s.
Today is September 11th. It’s the anniversary of the day my life ended in New York City. The world around me changed and what little momentum I had managed to build for myself crumbled.
The architects of the attack thought they were liberating us from the tyranny of capitalism. They weren’t.