Life in the pause

All of you who are parents remember this scene from when your children were very, very small:  First, you see your child get injured, whether it’s a cut or a blow.  You react instantly but, interestingly enough, there’s a pause before your baby responds.  That pause is so that your child can get a lung full of air before launching the holler to end all hollers.  So, in the moment between injury and response, you have “the pause.”

Right now, I feel as if we’re living in the pause.  For the last months and years, events have been piling up, at home and abroad, large and small.  They’re relatively easy to list, and I’ll rattle off a few, in no particular order:  9/11 (of course); the Madrid train bombing; the London bombings; the recent arrests regarding the London flights; Lamont’s victory; Lieberman’s resurgence; Castro’s disappearance; the Israel/Hezbollah war and the ceasefire; France’s refusal to live up to its obligations vis a vis the ceasefire; the Democrats’ decision to change their approach to primaries; passengers conducting their own profiling on airplanes; the decision striking down Bush’s NSA program; etc.

Each of these events is pivotal in its own way.  We’ve seen, of course, how 9/11 has been playing out, but its effect, too, has gotten stagnant.  Bush’s ability to keep Americans safe for the last five years has meant that Americans, while viewing 9/11 as a tragedy, have forgotten what it means — namely, that a worldwide web of Islamic terrorists has declared war on the United States.  It’s a new kind of war, and one that many in America are assiduously avoiding, refining and denying.  The Lamont-Lieberman battle is a microcosm of that new war within America, and it’s heartening that Lieberman currently seems to be winning the war.

In any event, though, I do feel as if I’m living in the dog days of summer.  I’m waiting for something big, something determinative that will bring all these issues together, one big intake of air that result in a meaningful outcome — a huge, collective holler from the Western nations.  It’s this waiting that has been making it hard for me to blog for the past couple of weeks.  Yes, I have been blogging, but I feel a bit more as if I’m been bloviating.  Events that have already happened have been analyzed to the n-th degree, and we’re all in the pause, waiting for the hollering to begin.

I’ve been trolling the news this morning (my treat to myself now that the kids are back in school) and anticipate posting on a lot of interesting stories.  However, I don’t yet see the connection between them.  There’s lots going on in the world, but I can’t see a pattern to it yet.  I feel as if I’m in the pause, waiting to see if they result from these various stories is lots of little yelps from all over, or whether, in a few weeks or months, the serious screaming will begin.

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  • judyrose

    I’m kind of hoping that the “something big” you’re waiting for will be the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities (laboratories, research centers, bomb-making factories, what have you). If the U.S. is not willing to do it, then I hope Israel has the will to do it and that we will back them. I just hope we/Israel don’t wait too long. I’m not a very good student of history, but didn’t Israel already do it once before in Iraq?

    I have no faith that Iran will ever voluntarily stop their push toward having “the bomb”, and even if they say they are stopping, it will surely be a lie. Since everybody who will hate and condemn us (and/or Israel) for taking such a necessary and decisive step already hates and condemns us, where’s risk to our public image (as if that mattered)? For whoever does it, history will show that they may well have saved the world. Anybody who says that sounds too dramatic isn’t scared enough.

  • jg

    ONE answer is to look beneath the surface of events now that there is an opportunity.

    This excellent summary above draws events together. So what do they tell us? What is the ‘Gulf Stream’ (ocean current), the larger meanings, running underneath the deceptive calms, storms of the surface?

    I think the President in a recent public statement referred to ‘the soul of America,’ a phrase I understand. How is that soul, I wonder. We shall find out.

  • Trish Olsen

    I hope judyrose’s wish comes true & the pregnant yelp, soon break THE PAUSE, is something meaningful & in the right direction — like our destruction of Iran’s nuclear brew!
    I used to be a big fan of humanist (& USC prof) Leo Buscaglia who once said, “Call me crazy! That’s okay because it gives me liscense to speak & behave how I might truly believe — after all, Buscaglia’s ‘crazy’ anyway, you know.” Which seems akin to what judyrose further expressed — that “public image” issues America/Israel would surely face, in taking decisive action against Iran, would be nothing new! We’re ALREADY condemned, no matter WHAT we do, so WHO CARES what PR flack we’d surely face, should we take the initiative & get rid of Iran’s growing threat, once & for all?

  • Earl

    If you go, do it right. No half measures to make things look better, or to save casualties (theirs or ours) if that makes it problematic in terms of accomplishing the objective.

    If the U.S. and/or Israel does it, we will be (in the short term) vilified regardless of the level of casualties, so casualties shouldn’t be a big consideration.

    As for the guys who go, anyone doing this is going to have to realize that it may be a one-way trip. Thank G-d that there are still heroes with “greater love hath no man than this…..”, and not just for their friends, but for absolute strangers and generations not yet born.