[lit-ideas] Re: Five Years Ago

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 19:25:35 -0700

What are your thoughts on five years ago?

I've been trying off and on all day to articulate my thoughts about 'five years
ago.' I can't. My thoughts are about what has happened to the country that I
once unashamedly believed was, despite its mistakes in policy and action, on
the whole good, a country that I didn't have to be ashamed of, one that was,
long ago, capable of, in Churchill's rhetorical flourish, 'the most unsordid
act in history.' (He was referring to Lend Lease.)

I no longer recognize this cartoon of America, in which the unthinkable is now
the path of wisdom, and self-righteous us-against-them posturing, patriotism's
evil twin is stamped on the ribbon decal on the back of every SUV. We are not a
better country five years after. We are worse. We will not be better in my

Friday, a soldier named Robert Paul was killed in Afghanistan when a bomb-filled
truck exploded near his unit. Why should this have struck me as it did? I do not

Robert Paul
The Reed Institute

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