Posted by: Jim | May 17, 2006

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There’s No Love Song Finer,

But how Strange the Change from Major to Minor

The first time I beat my dad at arm wrestling I felt exhuberant at first, then was filled with a crushing feeling that something had been horribly lost. My dad–previously someone who I had until then felt was a badass–was weaker than I was. Because I didn’t think of myself as particularly strong, this meant my dad went down several notches. I was only 18 or 19 at the time, but I remember feeling like I wanted to cry.

It’s the only feeling I’ve had in my life that compares to what I’m going through right now with my own country. It’s a country that I love like one loves their own father. But to see your own father act so scandalously has actually brought me to tears. It reminds me of a fantastic short story I once read by Ethan Canin in his first book “The Emperor of the Air.” A kid steals away in the trunk of his dad’s car just to freak him out and surprise him, only to find that he’s driven to his mistress’s house and is cheating on his mom.

Our country, like our dads, has always had its share of problems, but has always managed to right itself. The good has always managed to outweigh and blot out the bad. But the good that has prevailed in the past is now being silenced, quashed, circumvented, redefined and outmoded.

It’s like watching your father become a meth addict and not knowing what to do …

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