20 March 2013

Honest Choices

Millions of choices get swallowed up by our conditioned responses each morning.  Rightfully so.  We have to live, and living can't involve millions of decisions in a morning.  We are lucky to make a handful of good choices in a row with the best of sleep, let alone after being woken by a crying baby four times in the last eight hours.  This conditioned living is important to our basic functioning, but it puts us at risk when we get to the point where simple decisions in our mind conflict with the messy realities of our actual existence.  

Some of us find our ways into positions where those decisions can have serious effects on the lives of those around us.  Others find their ways into positions where their decisions scale enormously, affecting millions of other walking, breathing, arguing humans.  A decade ago yesterday I was sitting in my barracks in Kaiserslautern, Germany, getting ready for bed.  My choice to enter the Army Reserves to pay for university had intersected with the choice of a rich Saudi construction magnate to guide the choices of impressionable young men to fly into a skyscraper and the choice of a then to me devilish, now to me an in over his head naif, POTUS to pursue an invasion of Iraq.  

Our choices are always conditioned and attenuated by the choices of others.  One young guy chose on that night to run down the halls of the barracks screaming a seemingly related but couple years too early song by a southern rap group that he obviously misunderstood.  I chose to pretend that he was just a simple confused boy playing at soldier without actually soldiering rather than face up to the probable reality that he just wasn't a decent person.  Maybe he is now, who knows, hopefully so. A guy down the hall chose to stay in his room and pray for the safety of civilians in those buildings.  A girl chose to argue about the justice of the war with another girl who was intellectually and emotionally unable to take part in that argument.  I chose to call home and seek any kind of escape from the seemingly nonsensical reality that the executive branch had thrust my life into.  It wasn't Vietnam, and I didn't have a draft number.  I'd chosen to be subject to the choices of whomsoever the electorate had chosen.