Posts Tagged ‘wine’

April 11, 2011

Letter From New York
April 11, 2011
Or, as it seems to me…

There hasn’t been a missive in a couple of weeks; it’s not for lack of effort – there have been several drafts.

But I was never happy with what I have seen on the page. Coming back from SXSW, I felt the hope that was in the crowd at the Interactive portion – people could use technology to make the world better.

However, when I returned I was overwhelmed by events in the world. Libya. A third war for the U.S. Ongoing troubles across the Arab world, the price of oil soaring, budgetary crises in Washington, nuclear meltdown in Japan, a flurry of publicity and chitter chatter about the iPad 2.

I ask myself all the time: what is really important? The arrival of the iPad 2? Yes, it’s important. Apple and its devices are BIG news. But so is what is happening in Kabul and Baghdad. And all of that is pretty incredible and we have become, I’m afraid, immune to it – we have lived with this for too many years. We are at war in a lot of places: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and, as someone noted to me today, how about Mexico, which is on the edge of exploding? That’s the way it is in the world today.

I can’t ignore it. And I can’t do much about it. I write regular letters to my Representatives and hope they hear what I am saying. There is a huge dialogue in the country about bringing down the deficit but it seems focused on Amtrak and NPR and PBS and all kinds of social service programs that really represent a fraction of the budget while no one talks about the cost of the wars we are engaged in or how do we make Social Security really viable for the next 100 years. We’re not having the conversations we really need to have.

I’m angry with everyone right now. I think the Republicans are demagogues and the Democrats aren’t offering real alternatives. And I don’t like waking up in the morning to NPR because the news seems all bad but I don’t change the channel because I feel I need to know what is really going on. And while I am depending on NPR to give the ugly news of what is going on I am also faced with a Congress that wants to defund NPR so that I won’t wake up in the morning knowing how bad things are. Because then we can live in the America that they think we’re living in which is not the America we’re living in.

We are, as a country, way down on the lists of good things. We’re not at the top of lists of almost anything. And that really worries me. It doesn’t seem to worry many people how far down the list we are in terms of medical care. Doesn’t it worry anyone else that Costa Rica is better than we are in medical care overall? It does me. Now granted, that’s overall and not necessarily a specific situation. In a specific trauma situation we may well be the best but we’re not overall.

We’re 17th in math and science these days. And should I really worry about this? Yes, because this is my home. Once in the long ago and far away, I thought about emigrating to Canada or Australia but didn’t because America is my home, my homeland.

The United States is so many different things to so many different people, all inhabiting the boundaries, physically and psychologically of this unique, strange, wonderful, magnificent, convoluted thing called “America.” It is the dichotomies, rabid politics of some, the yearnings and tensions, the palpable ache for something better that makes this country what it is and today it is am much a riot as it ever has been if not more so.

My angst doesn’t change that the sun is shining in while I am working on this, with a nice Italian white wine while waiting for an old friend, which is also much of what life is about, so we can sit at lunch and talk about all of these strange things.