Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Three and a half years ago, in March, 2003, I began to wear a black armband. It was the day of the invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq.
I wore it to mourn the loss of US lives that began immediately and which have continued unabated. Lives lost in an immoral and ill-conceived war.
I wore it, too, to mourn the loss of innocent Iraqi lives, caught between two madmen.
But perhaps most of all, I wore it because I mourned what it meant to our nation. I was under no illusion that we are an innocent nation - no nation is. But this particular invasion seemed so far beyond the pale of morality, legality or advisability that it was particularly appalling to me.
And it wasn't just the invasion of Iraq that I grieved, but all that seemed so wrong with many of the policies that the current administration had come to represent - the arrogance, the dependence upon fossil fuels, the allegiance to corporations, the disregard for science and open debate.
I was grieving our lost way.
I wore that armband for nearly every day in the three and a half years since. A reminder. A sign. A protest.
For now, though, I have removed the armband.
Hope for a new year? Maybe. Certainly it's not an expression of belief that the Democratic shift of power will help us find our way much better. And still, the regime that orchestrated so much of what I felt wrong remains in power and unindicted.
Still too, the ideals held in esteem and the systems held in place by most of us grieve me and I don't see much hope for change without a dear cost.
Nonetheless, I'm removing the armband and will keep my hope in my family and community - hope for a better day to come.
Happy New Year...