March 9, 2022
Given the circumstances, I feel one of my usual letters would be tone deaf and utterly selfish. So, in view of what we are witnessing in the world, I will save those kinds of letters for better days.
Out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
As covid receded and normal life seemed around the corner, the malicious destruction of a country whose only crime was merely the desire to be free began to play out before our horrified eyes.
I am finding it nearly impossible nowadays to have even the slightest bit of happiness in my life. How can I, how can any moral, feeling person find joy when there is so much pain and suffering in the world? And yes, there always has been suffering, but this? This is so completely unnecessary, and all of it, every centimeter of rubble, every drop of blood, has been perpetrated by one sick, evil madman. I think we’re all asking, “How can this be happening?”
I ventured to town last Friday for a quick trip to the bank. Along the way, I came across the most incredible celebration — El Senor de la Conquista (The Festival of Our Lord of the Conquest). I had chills down my spine — the beating drums, the costumes and dancing — it was the most amazing event I have ever seen.
I made my way through the hundreds of costumed people and entered the bank. I went upstairs, sat in the chair in front of the desk of one of the ladies who handles my account. Ruby, my banker (not my puppy), says, “Hola, Lorraine. How are you doing?” I burst into tears and said, “The celebration outside is magnificent, but how can I enjoy it, with all the suffering in Ukraine?” Her look was one of confusion and compassion. She must have thought, what’s up with this gringo when there’s so much happiness outside the door.
I really did not mean to say those words or share my emotions in front of her — and in a bank of all places. But I did, and I realized later that the stimulation from the celebration I had just walked through had brought my emotions to the surface. Sometimes living here, I find I am much more careful about letting my feelings show, and that is hard for someone like me.
I joined the SMA Democrats Abroad a few months ago and emailed the woman in charge last week. I simply said, if there is talk of a rally in support of Ukraine, count me in, and I’ll help out in any way I can. Her response was, “Democrats Abroad cannot participate in events like that because it would endanger democrats in other countries.” What a load of shit! Even Switzerland is taking a stand. The Queen of England is donating money. Jesus! It seems to me that any controversial stand the U.S. takes, much less a small faction of Americans abroad, could not possibly endanger ex-pats everywhere.
I was disappointed, and it reiterated for me the passivity of Democrats in general. If you have known my politics over the past five plus years, you would have heard me use these words many times — Doormat Democrats, we need to be Ninja Dems!
When will politicians words’ mean something? When will the fire in our collective bellies ignite and words become action because we demand it? It must be soon — every Putin-hater should be stoking that fire into a rip-roaring blaze right now.
Before I die, I want to see the good guys win and, not only that, beat the holy hell out of the bad ones!
Since most of you who are reading this letter are on my mailing list, I feel pretty sure we are like-minded and share the same shock, anguish and sorrow.
On a more positive note, Pearl and Ruby are great. Numerous times throughout my day, as I watch them rassle and play, I wish I was a cared-for, care-free dog. Even some of the street dogs you see in SMA seem to not have a worry in the world; their only concern, it seems, is whatever is in front of their snouts!
Perhaps because of Pearl and Ruby, I do have some joy in my life.
I’ll take it!