Thoughts and observations on Green Arrow, classical liberalism, freedom, comic books and matters of social justice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hard to miss when you never take aim

I haven’t written in a while. Maybe there’s nothing to write about. It can be difficult to keep your focus. The point of this blog was to entertain and educate, perhaps shed light on the true sense of liberalism, the idea of individual freedom and limited government. I also liked the idea of using a non-super powered super hero as the prism to view acts of social change.

But lately I haven’t done anything for anyone except my family and for myself. I give a little bit of money every month so some little girl in Sri Lanka has extra, and that’s all I do. Other thoughts and motives have controlled my thinking over the last year, especially the last 6 months, and it has been increasingly challenging to think “out of myself.”

I live with fear.

Every day.

So mostly I don’t care for the plight of others, not lately.
Maybe there’s too much to write about. We elect a president in a few weeks. It won’t be the one I wanted either way. But I voted for McCain. Mostly because I think he’ll protect American lives both here and abroad. People can’t worry about the economy if they’re dead. I don’t want to be dead. I think McCain will help me with that. I don’t trust Obama to even know how. Everything else is secondary.

I have noticed an odd shift in my thinking.

When I was young I was an ardent democrat; distrustful of the establishments I had neither connection with nor role in their function (as I saw it). As I grew older I obtained a stake in this life, as a husband and father. I had a home and things in that home I wanted to keep. I didn’t want a big government that could take it away or make it more difficult to increase if I so desired. I learned a little about history and saw this country through the eyes of its founders, with whom I felt a new kinship.

Now I’m older still, I see no brass ring ahead of me. I will most certainly live the life of my father, one in the lower middle class. I will have enough resources to keep the wolves at bay and, God willing, to retire with some sense of security. I’m not the one the government is after, it’s those rich voices on the radio who scream “Class warfare” who are nervous; they’ve got the coffers worth dipping in. If someone wants to write me a check, what do I care?

Is it right? No. But there is right, and there is right for me. The lead singer of U2 once described the difference between an American and an Irishman. An American looks up toward a mansion on a hill and says, “Someday, I’m going to be that man.” An Irishman looks toward a mansion on a hill and says, “Someday, I’m going to get that son of a bitch!”

I’m an American by birth and an Irishman by blood.

It’s difficult to think of others when you’re worried about gas money, or paying for your kids’ music lessons, or how long you can drive on your car’s bad brakes before there’s trouble. Add to that the mountain of anxiety I’ve allowed to build on my shoulders at work and you begin to think homeless people are probably jerks anyway. And yet how many of us are a paycheck away from being counted among them?

I don’t go to church anymore.

I’ve seen 6 movies this summer in the theaters, but 8 am Sunday morning can’t be done. My wife has me praying though; it’s a nine day commitment I’m keeping so far. It does feel good to not feel alone. I have no words of my own any longer, I like having a script to read from.

There are more personal issues in my life, doctor’s appointments and diagnoses, and health insurance. I won’t discuss those here. If you’re reading this and you know me and you’ve noticed I haven’t mentioned them, it’s only because some topics are too hard to talk about flippantly. It’s why I don’t like meaningful movies, there’s too much emotion running just below skin level for me to handle. My wife had me watch a movie this weekend called “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” it damn near killed me.

In “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” Linus writes to the great pumpkin, “If you really are a fake, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.” That’s my relationship with those who feel there is a plan in life and whatever you do will ultimately fit into that plan. I would love to feel that way; it would take a lot of the pressure off. I try to pretend I feel that way in hopes of self deluding. It very well may be true, I just wish I actually felt it, and if it’s not, I don’t want to know.

I don’t buy comics anymore, nothing new under the sun there. This was the comic book’s greatest summer. Marvel is building a crossover movie franchise. DC made the biggest comic film ever. It seems in America, football has replaced baseball and Batman has replaced Superman.

If DC is run by a bat then Marvel is betting on a team. All stars point toward the Avengers in 2011. Captain America is the shadow lurking behind the corners, in both the Iron Man and Hulk films. I find Cap to be less an effective American hero than Green Arrow. As such an overt symbol of the country Captain America operates in the middle of the road, sometimes leaning slightly left; in keeping with modern sensibilities. No longer are heard the wartime cries of beating the “rat-zies.” Cap can take no stand save the vague notion that all people should be free.

Nice, but this election is apparently all about change, it’s in the details that “free” and “change” have meaning. Oliver Queen, while most certainly an overused mouthpiece for the leftist ideals of his writers, can address the details of being an American. What does “free” and “change” look like? Plus, Green Arrow got married, in a badly written comic. So now he’s a father and a husband, more for me to relate with.

I just wish he wasn’t rich. What’s worse is he’s rich in that obscure soap opera way that allows him endless free time while still running a multi-million dollar company.

I still shoot my bow with my son, albeit infrequently. Sometimes I hit the target.

I hit the house sometimes too.

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