In the first 18 years of our marriage, my (now retired) Marine husband and I spent many a day apart because of deployments, training, and education, and various operations. Through it all, we loved, laughed, and sometimes languished. Sometimes the separations were quite long, sometimes extended at the last minute.
Often we were both guilty of romanticizing our memories of each other to the point that our reunions were tainted with unrealistic expectations. It was difficult to settle back into our new reality again and again, but we did it — without taking down our children, our families or our finances.
When he retired, I breathed a private sigh of relief while he bristled with anxiety about the future. He has since secured a job befitting his talent and experience, thus easing the fear that he would somehow perish in civilian life.
I sincerely and painfully wish the same for my country — even as it threatens to fall over and crush what remains of our children's' college funds and our nest egg.
American history is rife with repeated separations and reunions – between its citizens, and between its citizens and its government. The not-so-new player that is corporate America — for all intents and purposes a legal immigrant, despite having no birth certificate, social security number, or any other documentation — sought to run everything it could.
Don't get me wrong. Capitalism is much preferred over any other system. It's the most fun you can have building and boosting an economy. The bulls and bears, however, engaged in a little too much horseplay in the china shop. Indeed they have run everything – into the ground.
Most of America now longs for the separation between the rights and responsibilities of its every citizen to end. Some may even fear that the romanticized vision of this long-ago day might interfere with the success of a reunion, that unrealistic expectations may taint the effort of what it really takes to make it all work.
Our government chose to let corporate America frolic in wholly unsupervised playtime, much to the chagrin of those of us who have been saying for some time now, "Hold 'er, Newt! She's a-rarin'!" It is with much dismay that many of us now long for the days when there was still an American-sized corral of some kind instead of what has come to pass: our government having become more loose with corporate welfare and corporations more loose with the rules than a felonious, seven-time baby-making crack whore on state aid.
Hell, it's safe to say a felonious, seven-time baby-making crack whore on state aid would be a better government, a better corporation, and — dare I say it — a better America. She certainly could do no worse. Between our government and corporate America, we've seen every aspect of the safe sex, anti-drug use, and scared straight warnings illustrated in a way that public service campaigners could only dream of: you'll lose your job, your home, your car, and your family.
How the hell is it, though, that these same people still have any self-respect and aren't going to jail? It's as if crack pipes, condoms, and would-be convicts are all over Wall Street like the result of some sick-ass ticker tape parade. Corruption is too easy an explanation because it doesn't explain the intensity and depth of so much having gone wrong. The better, and only, explanation is that we have all become children of an almighty crack whore.
Somehow we were all reborn as addicted babies and have acted accordingly. Despite our being adults, we have resigned ourselves to depend upon whatever our drunk and drugged up mother's teat deems to give us. Her milk used to be bittersweet. Now it's just bitter. Keep suckling and you'll die. Pull away and you'll have to make it the best way you can despite the neglect, malnutrition, and brain damage you've suffered.
Alas, just as the addict has no sense of self-awareness, our government and corporate America have allowed themselves to become so caught up in the dark side that they have no idea, nor do they care, that they have no self-respect or that an entire economy depended on them and is now perishing. Hell, even those who did manage to pull away and who no longer depend on anyone else are being shot down in corporate drive-bys as deals go wrong and are taken to the open streets in broad daylight.
Just as the young, misguided teenager thinks her entire self-worth is wrapped up in what her boyfriend thinks of her, so has our government and corporate America come to think its entire self-worth is wrapped up in the amount of money made – more specifically, not made. If what the government and corporate America is doing is not classic addict behavior, I'll eat your crack pipe.
The most tragic part of this economic debacle is that the wrong people are killing themselves over their financial strife. I long for the days when those with more money than would fit in their 20-car garages hurl themselves from their office towers and land with a splat on the cold, hard reality of the Wall Street's asphalt. I long for the days when every large business has the same rights and responsibilities (and can expect as much or as little assistance from the government) as Joe's Car Wash, Harry's Plumbing, and Sally's Hair Salon. I wish for the separation between right and responsibility to end. It's been so long, I'm well nigh onto having romanticized visions of how it was and how it could be.
How long have we heard that small business, the middle class, and the average working stiff are the backbone of America? Little in the way of economic calcium, as it were, has been afforded to keep this backbone strong. Meanwhile, the great corporate penis has been kept unfailingly erect with what can only be described as economic Viagra. Clearly there is a desperate need on the part of those clinging for dear life to this great phallus (or fallacy, take your prick – I mean pick), and as desperate is the need to keep the necessary pharmaceutical flowing.
I wish I knew what to do to protect me and mine from the simultaneous rage and insincere apology of the addicts who have run us and ours into the ground, those so intent on shitting on everything in sight and using the average American to wipe its ass. I wish I could stop corporate proctologists from breaking into our homes and breaking our asses. (No offense to real proctologists who seek to remove cancerous growths rather than bundle our asses up, repackage them as securities, and sell them to investors far and wide.) I wish I could keep the weight of a soon to be flaccid monster from landing on and crushing our every American dream.
I have no answers. I have only to live under the looming shadow of that which I was told was the Washington monument.