Living in a Bubble
I stand in the garden, propping myself up with the cane Sandra bought me, looking up at the China-blue sky screened by the lacy leaves of centuries-old oak trees, contemplating the statue of the Virgin Mary that my mother wrapped in a “crocus bag” and placed in the back seat of my car shortly before she died, and I thank God for His many mercies.
For I am privileged indeed to live in this bubble of serenity, buffered by fate from a world of pain and fear.
Of course, at 81 years old, I am no stranger to pain. For the past couple of weeks, I have been through more than my fair share of it. But when I think of the suffering inflicted on so many people around the world, I consider myself lucky.
Lucky to be alive. Lucky to be walking – even with a cane. Lucky to have my wits – most of them anyway – about me.
Lucky to have no bombs raining down on my home, no soldiers breaking down my door.
And lucky to live in America while Barack Obama is in the White House, defending my interests every way he can.
In a world of turmoil, oppression and barbarism, this President will leave a legacy of compassion and common sense. He has not been able to do all that he would have liked to do. The forces of exploitation and greed have hobbled him. But he has done a lot in spite of the formidable opposition he faces.
Like spoiled children, too many Americans seem unaware of his accomplishments. The have-nots want more; the haves want none of his “liberal” policies.
It’s no wonder the rest of the world views America with bemused astonishment.
As one of our Canadian neighbors wrote in a letter to the editor just before the midterm elections that put Republicans firmly in control of Congress:
Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. Consider, right now in America, corporate profits are at record highs, the country’s adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is below 6%, U.S. gross national product growth is the best of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gasoline prices are falling, there’s no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money.
America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.
You may not agree with all of President Obama’s policies but you have to admit he saved America’s auto industry, pulled the economy out of its worst tailspin in decades and provided an environment in which Wall Street is thriving. Unemployment is at record lows and health insurance is accessible to millions of Americans who were previously unable to obtain it.
You may consider President Obama’s policies a misguided adventure in “Nanny-state socialism.” As for me, I am heartened by his continuing efforts to raise the minimum wage, curb gun violence, provide equal rights for women and minorities, and ensure humane treatment of undocumented immigrants.
I have to admit that I am troubled by the drone strikes. But you may think he is too conciliatory with the forces that would do America harm. You may agree with those Republican presidential candidates who want Islamic extremists “bombed back to the seventh century.”
You and I may not always agree. (The results of the midterm elections make it clear that the majority of America’s voters don’t share my views.)
And, as an American, you are entitled to your opinion, and entitled to express that opinion verbally and in the voting booth.
But I beg you to bear in mind that we live in a bubble and bubbles are fragile. Our ballots should be labeled “Handle With Care.”