Monday, March 31, 2008

Not enough time...not enough focus (extended moan, depending on whether or not I'm interrupted...or should I say *when*)

I spent the last week in a sort of funk, restless, but spinning wheels. Empty when it came to writing in my diary. Not having much to say so going to the blogs, but all the time thinking I should be doing something more purposeful. A classic definition of restless; needing to do something but not knowing what.

I'd taken a hiatus from America Right Or Wrong and World War IV. With WWIV I got stuck on some of his assertions that go to the case for the war in Iraq, and attack some of the evidence that the justification was fabricated. His rationale is densely worded, and it's going to involve some focused thinking to see if his claims have merit. Similarly Right Or Wrong is dense in sentence structure and idea linkage. I'm also suspicious of my receptivity to his case: there there is a certain kind of historic nationalism that runs deep in this country with strains that are positive and negative. Negatively expressed, they shape a belligerent stance that reaches deeply into a kind of populist sentiment that isn't necessarily benign, despite the laudable American values of democracy, fairness, equality, and rule of law.

I feel a kind of humming of familiarity when he discusses some of these forces shaping American national sentiments and behavior, and I want to look more closely for myself.

It's odd that this has an almost spiritual dimension for me. Somehow informing myself about this seems to satisfy a spiritual hunger in me.

To give my mind a rest I read Saturday, by Ian McEwan--subject for our book-reading-group discussion next month. I also used the time I might ordinarily write to read Jennifer Lauck's memoirs, the three that are published.

But here are the things that are on my list to find out:

Obama vs Clinton? Is Obama the inspirational choice--the choice of the heart, and Clinton the rational choice? I've heard a couple of Obama's speeches, none of Clinton's. A friend sent this my way and it was my first exposure to Obama. Not a good first exposure if one wants to be objective. My friend says that Clinton's speeches are inspirational too; I need to seek out some of them and see. Moreover, I need to compare their platforms: what do they want to accomplish if president and how do they propose to do it? All of this means I need to think more clearly about whether or not withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within 18 months is a good thing; I need to acquaint myself with their health care proposals, as well as get a working knowledge of the present one and where it is failing. I need to check out their plans for the economy, especially since our current one seems to be in flux (and I'm not sure what is being meant when I see headlines about new regulatory changes in the Fed--and what that means for us regular folks).

I have a thorough thinking-over to do in considering the logistics of leaving Gary; coming up with a plan, what I need to know to do this right. Aside from all the mundane details, like dividing retirement accounts, insurance policies, childcare, I think I owe it to both him and myself to clearly lay out what it would take to make me want to stay. ...And, what does it mean to go back to work, and where should I go? Funny how long I had an aversion to returning to my profession and now I don't feel as allergic. I don't know if that's another effect of the smoking moratorium (and it certainly solves the problem of a drug test upon employment)--less of a need to stay in the womb of home. I worked in home health before, and it was my preferred setting. I did have breathing space between patients to do some thinking and reflecting, and so it suited my need for solitude as much as a full-time job can, but that was 8 years ago. I'm older, not in as good shape. I felt confident about my ability to move large immobile people then and I'm not sure now I could do it without hurting myself or them. Hospital and nursing home settings are definitely unappealing, but at least there'd be help close by if it was needed.

I watched Frontline's "Bush's War" last week on Monday and Tues. I think a whole college course could be taught just on mining the website alone; looking at some of the extended interviews of the players, following the timelines.

And, a whole college course could be taught out of the footnotes of Lieven's American nationalism book. Picking it up I realize how much I need to know about Zionism and the founding of Israel and everything that has followed.

A while ago my cousin on her blog confided her ambition as a child to 'know everything'. I want to know everything too. I want to be paid to do nothing but read books like America Right or Wrong and follow every footnote; read every book and magazine article in the bibliography, trace back Western style thinking and philosophy to the Enlightenment and beyond, see for myself if the Founding Fathers really intended a Christian, Christ-centered nation when they founded the United States. In some ways though it's like the sorcerer's apprentice: every bit of information penetrated seems to merely divide into more things to know.


Lori said...

Oooh. Let's talk Zionism and Palestine soon.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is an apt description :-). Thanks for the shout out.

Douglas W said...

Have just come to your web site... via Suzy's.. and just started reading your posts in reverse order... this one covers all kinds of diverse things. I hope you will follow up on some of these subjects soon.

excavator said...

Douglas--I'm one of those people who takes forever to pack away Christmas ornaments that are wrapped in newspaper because I get distracted by something in the print and then feel compelled to sit and read it. Similarly I dread looking things up in a book dictionary because I end up being distracted by some other term my eye falls on while I'm searching for what brought me there in the first place.

Kind of problematic as far as doing research. Worse, I'm plagued with a fear that once something has caught my interest that I'll never be able to return to it.

I wonder if this is an informational version of the hoarding impulse.