This one all came to me, fully-formed, in the middle of the night, but I was so enthralled with the glow from the bathroom light beyond, softly and beautifully outlining the breathing form next to me. Someone who belongs who a small nation with a very live sense of community. One that I am considering trying to join.
I've probably largely lost its thread by now, but it started with the silent images -- volume turned off -- from the CNN station. People on rooftops waving to helicopters that might never come for them.
We are watching the death of a community, of a region. But it only reminds us -- pushes forward a stark physical image -- of the communities of America that we lost long ago.
I won't catalog the list of changes you probably already know, and can recall for yourself. It probably peaks most recently in the WalMart-ization of retail America.
It began long before: on Wall Street, Madison Avenue, McDonald's. Probably with WWII, FDR's national programs -- sorry, Liberals -- and the entire age of the automobile.
Small communities can be cruel, and most of us approved the intrusions into Southern communities that were divided for continued racial advantage. But they have their own stubborn strength and independence.
But -- all politics being local -- a nation of small, maybe even isolated, communities is harder to whip into an Imperialist frenzy, harder to rally for bogus invasions of oil countries.
I guess I'm beating that old Rousseauian horse, that Jeffersonian vision of America. Even Lincoln comes under indictment here.
Oops, I'm overhearing a conversation at the bar -- almost in parallel with my thoughts here, about community and national characters -- think I'll join in before it disappears, rather than try to squeeze out my last couple details -- I think you know where I was going with this.
Let's examine this disaster as a metaphor for a larger destruction we have ALL suffered, and need to heal from.