Once upon a time, songs and poems asked questions, both poignant and whimsical. A poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning both asked and answered a forthright one: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Hell, even Freud mused – with a bewildered lilt to his musing: “What do women want?”
Which led me to remembering a vintage song – “Isn’t it Romantic?” A love song; a melodious love song. Now, the word “romantic” has taken on a brand new hue – a new place in our lexicon – for our president has used it in connection with our invasion and occupation of Iraq. George W. Bush recently opined, as only he can, that war is romantic. That our brave young men and women are engaged in a romantic endeavor, and that he, yes he, envies them.
We have become accustomed to listening to the rantings of a man to whom English is a third language, but this time it takes the – if not the cake – the vacant doughnut hole. Soldiers in a deliberately chosen war, who are dying for no reason, are taking part in a romantic adventure? Seeing residents of a sovereign country slaughtered, and its infrastructure destroyed is romantic? Having our VA hospitals overflowing with the mentally and physically damaged is romantic? Death is romantic?
If we elect John McCain, this romanticism will continue. If we elect Hillary Clinton, whose salivating obsession to return to the White House is paramount, we may well be succumbing to a different kind of nostalgic romanticism. Barack Obama has no notions about combining romance with death, devastation and destruction. His is the kind of reasoned, compassionate intellect which forbids confusing romance with providing excuses for ending life.
This is written not only more in sorrow than anger, but in a full court despair. Yet, with hope still lingering in the corners of my outraged heart and head.