LatitudesBy Nick_NYC at 8:37 PM
Vietnam. Who has to say more. The word brings up vivid and disheartening memories for many. The word engenders a feeling of a massive war with vast repercussions. A war with many defeats and slumping feelings to follow. We are healing from this very trauma of the "Vietnam Era" and we are far from recovered.
The state of recovery is marked by a sharp contrast in psyche, behavior and atmosphere. Though some have grouped around their memories, their pain, their losses, their purposes to move on, much of the fabric of american confidence-level is nothing more than a shadow of that which existed before Vietnam.
Sure: scabs have formed. Years have passed--marked by speeches about new eras to be engaged in, new actions to take in the world. We tried to exude confidence, domestic and abroad: BUT!, at the expense of any form of unity that once existed before the Vietnam War. In contrast to post-WWII America where confidence ran parallel to a simpler way of life, the afterlife of Vietnam left America fractured. Fractured under the surface and left for later, to address--for a later time when we had more successes than failures to purport.
Now the course of events has separated those of ideologies of remembrance versus those of "progress". Reagan saved us right? Revitalized America, remember? Clinton, revitalized America further...right? America progressed so so much...right ?! Well what about how this war is similar to Vietnam ...
Yes we have survived so many decades beyond Vietnam, but we are divided ever so much by how we view the past and how to proceed into the future. We agree on proceeding, of course, but how. You can see this above and below, across America. Our sick collective mind is tormented by the way we speak to each other...perpetuating the illness...and furthered by politicians in power: remember how we didn't run?! or.. remember how we failed !!
Now in new conflicts, and a new world stage, we have more inward strife to experience than external and it makes apparent that we haven't healed or even tried. The scabs are itchy and picked at by those who are willing to--or yearning to. Others are more withdrawn and tend to stand behind a person who claims to be a protector of the people, a fighter. Others are eager to address larger social matters facing us but find far fewer numbers than in more revolutionary times. The focus seems to be on strife that is readily exchanged rather than any honest discourse about facts or reality. And it only echos our renewed misgivings of what is different amongst us and those far away in other nations. These sores upon the body of America, lead us further from a phase of recovery into a deeper depressed state of being.
Whatever conflict will face us next on the globe, we are defeated before taking on the fight, and remain defeated as we bicker over which course to take. Those who would want to do us harm or neglect would like to keep us bickering, keep us sickly and divided (insert proverb of ol' here). I personally have found myself characterized by one or more of the above states of defeat, not willing to come to a table, unwilling to work through differences amongst us and I tend to feel sicker for it.
I am going to take this summer to rethink not only how to recover personally, but also formulate a more guided view America, knowing that my recovery may unite me to the real America-at-large, willing to change and able to carry on without pushing conflict for personal gain.