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Friday, September 07, 2007

Final thoughts on Dean and Felix, and a confession or two:

Dean and Felix were truly monstrous storms. If you want to see footage of an eyewall penetration of Felix, it's available here, and stills are also available from that same flight. Please keep in mind that I am in no way intending to demean the suffering of the victims of those storms. I know all too well how awful such things can be, and they have my deepest sympathies and my sincerest best wishes. That said, as awful as they were, as powerful they were as engines of death and destruction, they could have been a lot worse. Dean had a death toll of 39, and caused US$3.8 billion in damage. The death toll and damage estimates from Felix are still being figured, but it's going to be worse than Dean was. That said, both could have been far, far worse, and for those who could have died but didn't because the storms behaved differently, I'm deeply grateful.

For my first confession, I've started to write again. Not the pieces of fluff with which some of you may be familiar, and not the... well, less innocent fanfiction that some of you may or may not know I write. This isn't even like a poem I posted earlier in the history of my blog. This is raw agony given form, and it's why I quit writing creatively altogether for the better part of a decade, and why I haven't approached that dark place in over 11 years. I wrote now, as I did then, for the simple reason that if I didn't let it out, I felt as though it would have consumed me. So I let it out, wrote my peace, and I'll be okay, even if only for a little while, or perhaps longer. I don't know, but I'm hoping it allowed me to let go of what ailed me. You see, while I respect and love writing, and while I am a fan of literature, I fear that darkness, so as a foolish child, I ran away from it. Perhaps it's long past time for me to confront it. Or, perhaps Nietzsche was right when he said, "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

My second confession is something equally frightening, though less intensely personal. I made a terrible mistake today, one I shall regret for a while: I debated a neocon Bushie today. He's an actual member of the local GOP, such a staunch party wonk I doubt any political or social thought of his is his own, but rather, was approved by the party. Discussing obliquely the Patriot Act and more directly the illegal wiretapping, I said that, as a matter of principle, although I have nothing to hide that would be of interest to the government, I am firmly opposed to that (allegedly defunct) program. He said that he'd rather have the government listen in on him. I then quoted Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding philosophers of our nation, when he said, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security." Actually, I misquoted it, but I got the gist of it. He said that he'd rather have prevented 4 or 5 more 9/11's over the last 6 years, and my brain just shut down. I realized, at that point, that he obviously doesn't understand the meaning of America, and that he doesn't understand how dangerous his beliefs, if implemented even more fully than we've seen, are. And I'll admit it, I became deeply frightened, again, for the future of our country. My answer was best said by Dr. Ron Paul, "I'd rather be free AND alive." My loyalty is to the United States of America, to our highest ideals, to our most cherished principles, not to any one political party or group. I love those ideals and noble principles as much as I love my family and family pet, as much as I have ever loved anyone or anything, and it hurts me to see this, because America is, above all else, an idea, an experiment, and what happens when those ideals die, that experiment fails? Then America dies a more permanent death than any outside force could cause. This is my belief, my testimony, my hope, and my fear. This is the prayer on my lips at the end of each day, and the song that plays its dulcet tunes in my heart.

Peace out, and enjoy a beautiful opposite of silence.


Candace said...

We need to remember that when Katrina hit land, it was "only" a cat 3. Andrew was a cat 5, as was Felix, and if it had hit the USA, then we would have been in big trouble.

As to your confessions, I didn't even know that you wrote! But I'm glad that you're going back to your dark place :) because, as one editor put it, "I'm looking for writers to write because they HAVE to [to get it all out]." So, that's a good thing - honest writing is good for your soul (yes, I'm an atheist, but I can't think of a better word than "soul" for what I mean.) Good luck with it, but don't forget to come up for air once in a while.

Arguing with the neocon - well, nice try, but you know what they say about annoying the pig and all. :)

I too despair over the state of the country now that people are actually WELCOMING fascism and calling it AMERICAN patriotism, of all things!

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

When I was writing earlier in my life, I quit because I knew that I wouldn't become a tortured artist. I quit to save myself, and I still don't know if I made the right choice. On the balance, though, I think I'd rather keep my depression at a low roar instead of a raging inferno.

Oh, and the neocon Bushie actually said that Dr. Ron Paul, a pro-balanced budget, pro-life, socially conservative fiscal libertarian, was a liberal. Forty years ago, Barry "Mr. Conservative" Goldwater would have called someone like Dr. Ron Paul an ally and would have recognized him as a kindred spirit. In early- to mid-20th century terms, Dr. Paul is a conservative. In 19th century terms, he's a liberal. In current terms, he's a libertarian closer to the paleo end of that part of the spectrum. I love America, but what I see today isn't America; it's post-WWI Germany, and it both frightens and saddens me, far more than I can say.

1138 said...

Let me hand you your response for next time.

Only a coward places safety above principle.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Thanks, Paul. Since I have to work with him, I can't use the line I would have preferred upon reflection, and it would have been something like, "Well, I'm sure the Germans were saying the same thing in 1933." Besides, your line is better and less inflammatory.

Lizzy said...

Beautifully written. I couldn't agree more.