Monday, March 12, 2007

Email to a Cousin

Have a Good Life!

Dear Cousin C.:

I am aware of the existence of a deep misunderstanding between us which I am compelled to acknowledge. I have only come to realize its depth in the wake of your visit Sunday. Based upon a couple of conversational gambits which you attempted yesterday, to which I pointedly made no response, I think you are basically clueless of this division.

In retrospect, I only now see that a deep and unbridgible chasm opened between us the moment, during your last visit two years ago, when you admitted to having voted for George Bush a second time. For someone of your lifelong experience in government service at the national and international level to have done this, was a stunning blow to me. Of course, millions of American did the same thing. But I do not know them. Sunday, I realized I do not know you.

George Bush is the worst president in American History. Having authored the worst-ever U.S. foreign policy catastrophe by invading and occupying Iraq, Bush has certainly joined the ranks of the contemporary world's greatest unindicted war criminals. In my mind, that makes most of those who voted for him in 2004 willing, if unknowing, accomplices. But you knew. And, it was my mistaken confidence in you that you knew better.

I am certainly not interested in any explanations or excuses from you. And neither do you owe me any apology. The only apology you owe is to the American people.

In fact, the very next communication I would ever wish to receive from you is a copy of your letter-to-the-editor published in your local paper apologizing for your 2004 vote. The very next.

Until then, I will miss you. Have a good life.

Never sent: delivered in person. No fists or tears, just a satisfying handshake and newspapers lowered at surrounding tables.

12 Moderated Comments:

Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Vigilante,

Great letter. I was hard put to say the same things to a sister of mine (who's been living in the US for the last 35 years and is now a proud American citizen) who voted for George Bush.

Last time she and I had political chat of sorts - over a drink when she and her American hubby came to visit some three months ago, she was still defending Bush's invasion of Iraq, praising the man's devotion to the security of the American people and his great vision for world democracy (I swear I almost choked a couple of times.)

It was difficult to argue with dear lil sister who's become a complete neo-con. Europeans in general are quite understated and some over-reactions are rather mindboggling to folks of old Europe.

My view of the entire episode is that lil sister now epitomizes the new American neo-con mouthing claims that Europeans are ungrateful-Islamist-loving appeasers, etc

Not wanting to spoil the very rare family time we spend together, I could only try to mutter that Iraq was an illegal war - heheh! Brother in law was not helpful with some inaccurate take on WW2 history, i.e, where would Europe be had it not been for the American dead? Bro in law reckoned there were more Americans who died in WW2 than Europeans defending Europe against Htiler's armies. Ugh! (By way of retort, I directed clueless bro in law to a couple of books that said more than 20 million Soviets who by extension ARE actually Europeans, and who died in the hands of the Nazis.

But know what? Your blog's given me an idea - I've decided to choose the coward's way out by sending both lil sis and her hubby the link to your blog's "Email to a Cousin," hoping that when they read it, they will see the wisdom of a point of view from one who's also American.

Thanks loads and good luck with Cousin...

3/12/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Not Your Mama said...

Reminded me how fortunate I am to not have many relatives left living. The few who are would no more have voted for Bush than they would go streaking through the county courthouse.

Come to think of it, they'd be likelier to go streaking through the courthouse.

3/12/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous pekka said...

To start with, what a wonderful and thought provoking post, Vigil! This has the passion, drama and exitement of a good film script. Only the sex and violence is needed to make it more saleable.

I couldn't help it but compare the prevailing split between the people of America to that of an any nation and her people going through a civil war. Just as in that sort of "brotherly conflict", families and friends find themselves on the opposing sides. So far, this strange civil war of yours has remained in the cold state and wheter it ever could turn into an hot one is doubtful.

Nevertheless, this marvelous story by Vigil clearly illustrates how far reaching and damaging this period of the neocon rule has been basically for all of us. Good job again, amigo!

3/12/2007 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Nice letter. Well said.

Twice is inexcusable.

3/12/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

The gap between those of us who oppose Bush and those who still support him makes the controversy over Clinton in the 90's very pale by comparison.
I have no one in my family who openly claims to support him but I do have co-workers and some (mostly former) buddies from my National Guard days who do and all are convinced that we are in what amounts to more or less world war with Islam. Setting this point which I disagree with aside for the moment I try and engage in a civilized conversation with them about the management of the "war". I ask them to compare the commitment the general population of this country made in the 40's compared to how Bush after 9/11 encouraged us to shop, travel, and not sacrifice for the war effort in anyway. I try and bring up other points about over stretched troops, high patriotism that does translate into high recruitment to join the fight, and the betrayal of our basic principles that have brought us down to the level of those who we really are fighting. I would not be exaggerating when I say the vast majority of the time I find my patriotism questioned by these people or at a minimum a blank uncomprehending stare as they walk away.
So unless by some major miracle in which Bush and Cheney are removed from office this situation will have to be played out till what I believe will be a very bitter end for many. But I am doubtful any real lessons will be learned. Already conservatives speak of the lost cause and troops being stabbed in the back. See Michelle Malkin's "A Gathering Of Eagles", 3/7/2007.

3/12/2007 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger LittleBill said...

What a fabulous letter!! and how many families and friends find themselves in the same situation after six years of the Great Divider!

My mother would have considered herself a close friend of Bush and Cheney, but I hope to God my father would have changed his loyalties. He, at least, was enough of a thinker to be an agnostic.

3/12/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

Beach Bum completely nailed my thoughts. As did your post, Vigilante.

All this from the man who was "a uniter, not a divider."

3/12/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Very funny. You even want your relatives to jump through your political hoops. Written like a true fascist.
Democracy.?
The Constitution.?
Voting.?
I thought you liked that sort of thing. What is really going on here?
A tribute to Vigilante.?
Fake intellectual back scratching among the naive.?
Unless it conflicts with an over-sized ego?
Your ego that compels you to think that we are in an occupation. We went there on a pointed mission. Steal resources, or in this case now, keep those resources (oil) off the 'market'.
Does not Political name calling and fostering stereotypes get old after a while.? You want people to apologize to you for voting a certain way.? Wow. Red Alert Ego run amuck. I suggest you retire from blogging and perhaps publish a fascist newspaper or something. Maybe call this Fascist Vigil.

3/12/2007 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

For Little Bill & Hillblogger:

Henry David Thoreau in Civil Disobedience (1849)

Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divides States and churches, it divides families; ay, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.

3/13/2007 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

I'm deeply sorry it has come to this.

vigilante, Is it possible your "litmus test" for friendship, honor and fidelity is simply too high?

I appreciate your passion. I admire your intellect. But we are one country, one people.

In 2004 about 51% of the voters disagreed with you. Even today about 30% can't support your position.

Are we to cut them all off?

Last night I heard Lanny Davis criticize moveon.org and daily kos over the Nevada Debate because "they only want to talk to people who agree with them."

Are we to only talk to people who agree with us?

Perhaps I'm less welcome here than I had believed.

In any case, I grieve for your loss.

the Wizard....

3/13/2007 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/13/2007 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

To Wizard and my Cousin:

Quoting from CoyoteAngry:

There is an old Native American story I recall that says something along the lines of if your brother falls behind you should wait for him to catch up. If he falls behind again, you should help him carry his load and wait for him. If he still falls behind you should leave him because he is not your brother.

I'm seeing a lot of Americans who are not my brothers.

3/23/2007 06:56:00 AM  

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