When I left the Army and went back to college, I wondered if I was going to be able to adjust at all. Thing is, this wasn’t my first time having to relearn the basics all over again. The ways to act, the slight actions that can label you as either in or out, all matter.
I’ve been around the world, lived in a few places. Dodoma, Dehli, Lansing, Denali. Lots of lost bets, I suppose. But this time it was different, in the sense that I’d be returning to something that I , ostensibly, knew. Each time before, from country to country, continent to continent, had been to something new and unknown.
This was something different. I was going back to the society I had fought for. A silly thought, then, especially when the likes of Trump laid bare just how unwelcome my ilk can be. But I did think in Roman terms. A kind of blood tax for me to solidify my roots. Lost bets, right?
But having been on the edge of empire, I, a man of many cultures, or none, depending on whom you speak to, had lost the ability to think. About my place in the world or its place in my heart. A kind of angry nihilism had settled inside me and I could only do what I had done before, what had allowed me to survive: observe.
And what I saw, in the halls of the university I was attending, in the public discourse, was much the same as I had left it. At least about America and what was worth fighting for. I don’t mean just wars.
One thing, however, was different, and that was a kind of background malaise that no one seemed to acknowledge or really know about. Yet there it was, growing. Even when I moved away from New York City and to a smaller town in the “heartland”, as it’s called by some, I sensed this same sickness. Except here the tales were growing more and more fanciful.
I’m talking chem trails, Jade Helm. It was there and in your face.
I should note that when I left the Army, I had also made it my thing to read about the world. I had been lied into a war, and I didn’t want to be that foolish again. Reading, knowing, more than I had, would help, I thought.
And indeed, it did. It answered a lot of questions and it made the actual conspiracies of the past clear. Like actual ones, with real evidence. Not chem trails but real pollution in poor areas. Not Jade Helm but the actual mass incarceration.
I realized then, that my angry nihilism was not directed at myself, but this odd forced innocence that required a tale to be told where the perpetrator could deny all wrong doing then claim the exact same thing was being done to them. And I knew it was being forced to be silent about it that truly made me angry.
Of course, now that I knew this, there didn’t seem to be any easy solution. Like realizing you’ve been locked in some prison. Then finding out there’s a madman here too.
But, the best thing about returning to this society has been watching it actually grow over the past few years. Indeed, the list of issues to deal with and how far we have to go is pretty long, but for the first time in a long time there’s something like a maturation, which means there’s something to work with.