Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Endless summer cut short by the madness of war.

I wish they’d think about how we do it in America where everyone can come to the beach. I wish they’d think about how their endless war keeps them from enjoying life like we do. I wish that the reasonable people on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, will step up and say: we all want to go down to the beach to surf. We all want sunblock. We all want little umbrellas in our drinks.

I hope that when Americans look at this, we see how lucky we are to live in America. I hope that when we look at what happens on a Gaza beach we can thank God that we live in the land of the free. I hope that when we look at what happens on that Gaza beach that we appreciate, just a little bit more, our crazy but reasonable society, and the blessings we have that others do not.

Yeah, we got problems, we ain’t perfect by a long shot. But it ain’t so bad when you look at it from this perspective. We can go to the beach. We can listen to Kenny Chesney or Jimmy Buffet or 311 or Ludacris make music about going down to the beach. And then we can go and live it. They don’t have that luxury in Gaza.

I hope we see that this is the result of all the pluralism, multiculturalism and tolerance that we work so hard to achieve. I hope we see that we walk that walk. I hope we realize, just a little bit more, that working hard to achieve that pluralism, multiculturalism and tolerance is worth every fight over semantics. This is a case of the ends justifying the means. On St. Simons Island, people of any religion, color, nationality, sex, political affiliation, ethnicity, et al.: we can all go down to the beach (if we want to) without having to be separated by armed soldiers and razorwire. We can all come off the beach and have a beer at Mullet Bay or Brogen’s, without having to be frisked by metal detectors at a military checkpoint on Ocean Boulevard. We can (try) to surf on our baby waves here without a real threat of getting shot at. The US Army is not going to knock down our doors and make us all move to Macon or Atlanta because we’re surrounded by 1.3 million armed and angry Floridians. We don't occupy Fernandina.

That makes every single bit of American history worth it, from 1776 to now. That is the only reason we can get over our past blood feuds. Because what we got out of it was something better for our next generations. Therein lies the lesson. I only hope that one day Israelis and Palestinians will learn this, and be able to enjoy that same luxury on a beach down in Gaza.

Sex wax on a board, coolers and sunblock, little umbrellas in your drinks. Give me that far horizon and favor'd weather gauge...

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