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(I actually wrote this like the week before school started.)

So I sat down to read the newspaper today and the front page article was about a boy from Clovis. His name was Nathan Hubbard. I say “was” because he died in Iraq. Seventh boy from Clovis to die in Iraq, and his older brother was one of the previous six. And his younger brother is also in the military.

I read this article and it just made me feel so bad. Because these boys’ only crime was believing that they should be in the military. They still believed that they were being sent to Iraq for a reason, that being in the military was a form of patriotism. I think it is so fucking wrong that some politicians have chosen to exploit those noble feelings and use them for ill.

And I have words for the democrats and their failure to end the war. Yes, I understand that we have freshmen democrats in Congress that might not still be in Congress if they vote to cut off war funds. But my God, when did keeping a Congressional majority exceed the worth of the lives of our soldiers? When did it become okay to place a higher value on keeping power than on saving lives? What the hell is the point of having a majority when you can’t even vote where it counts? How the hell do you explain to the families of those that have died that someone in Minnesota couldn’t have been reelected if we’d cut off the war funds? I don’t think that the men who have lost their wonderful little sisters, the women who kissed their boyfriends goodbye to never see them again, or the little blonde girls that found out their daddies aren’t coming home will agree with those priorities where keeping power comes first and people come second. It’s atrocious. It makes me want to storm into Congress and make a scene.

Tracking backwards, a couple days ago I finished The Sun Also Rises. I thought it was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Most people think it is about rich people being bored, which I think comes from lack of experience. I think most people have not yet really experienced the feeling of listlessness, of oblivion, of having nothing give you satisfaction, of wanting to do nothing but forget about whatever it is that has sucked the joy out of the world.

Jake, Brett, Bill and Mike are all living like that. The guys all fought in the war, and Brett worked in a hospital during the war. They all have the money to be living listlessly in Europe, but basically there is no difference between them and the drunks and the sluts in the gutters of San Francisco.

Most people don’t have vivid ideas of World War I, and to really get this book you have to be able to feel the character of that war.

I know that my dad’s Grandma Powell was one of the toughest women out there. But my daddy said the only time he ever saw her cry was when she was recalling working in the hospital in Fort Riley, Kansas, watching all those young men die of the flu and of their war wounds.

My grandpa told me about how his dad started drinking when he lost his job during the depression and how, when he was really drunk, sometimes he’d be talking about the trenches. And how his friends died off one by one in the trenches and they never even charged. They just lay in the trenches, their wounds festering, getting food poisoning, getting the flu. And they just died, one by one. He died of a heart attack in 1942.
Grandma Powell’s husband was never the same after the war, either. He jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1950.

And during the school year, I start off fine, turning out all my homework, never skipping any of it, writing perfect papers… then it starts to get to me. I’m not really as smart as everyone seems to think I am, you see. My daddy always said “do your best; your best is good enough.” But my God it is so tiring to do my best. And nobody else has to do their best to get A’s. It’s like somehow all the kids who I’m supposed to be as smart as don’t wear themselves out for every paper. I have to throw my soul into every paper otherwise it’s not my best and I’m so afraid of disappointing people, that they’ll find out I’m not as smart as everybody thinks I am, that I can’t not do my absolute best for risk of getting something that’s not an A. Everyone is always trying to fucking compete with me. I don’t want to compete with people because I know I can’t keep up, I can’t throw myself into every damn school assignment, because I know that eventually, they’ll find out I’m just an act. So instead I just end up not doing the work so that people will think that I’m just lazy, not that I’m dumb. I feel like a couple people have managed to see through this facade, but not really. I don’t know. I’m a crazy manipulative bitch. Whatever…

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