I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s visit to China yesterday. An economist explains to him the rapid growth in China’s economy. We have been at peace for a very long time, he says. That allows for growth and prosperity. It’s only one factor, but an important one. We on the other hand have been at war for a very long time. Being at war does make defense contractors unimaginably wealthy. But almost everyone and everything else suffers. Still, the mob is easily excited about carpet bombing the enemy, even when we know, if we care to think it through, carpet bombing seldom has the results one expects.
War seldom brings the results one expects. But we seem to be drawn to it—as long as we can get the poor and working class to do most of the heavy lifting. Never mind that almost every military venture we have pursued in the last sixty years has failed in ways important. A retired colonel on Fox claims its because we have not killed ruthlessly enough, conjuring up images of Kurtz—the horror. Others claim it’s because we no longer fight to win. Trump says if he is president we will have so much winning we will get sick of it—nah, we never get sick of winning, he says. What is there to win, the poet asks.
It’s Christmas morning. It’s Christmas morning.
I sip my sacramental coffee and for a moment think of Jesus—not so much the baby but the young man of thirty or so. A man who seems to know things. You never wrote anything down. Why, I ask him. Things get lost in translation, he says. But you know things, the poet says to him. The son of man, the son of god, smiles at him. So do you, he says. If you listen. To what, the poet asks. You know that too, Jesus tells him.
If we listen. I sip my coffee.