The past weekend has been emotionally just horrendous for me.
Partially because the withdrawal is back. After finding a real shrink who switched me to Prozac and got me on the liquid stuff so that I can taper off at the snail's pace of 1mg a week, I thought I had this thing licked. I felt fine. Great, even. Til I got down to 3mg. And now it's the same old story. I feel like I have the flu, a fever in my brain and my joints, except that my temperature is the usual 98 point something or other.
But the other reason life sucks is Fahrenheit 9/11. Gina and I saw it on Friday night. It's been very upsetting to me, to say the least.
I guess it didn't help that the withdrawals hit me right when I was standing in line for popcorn. One minute I'm having a great time, the first grown-up movie date we've had in a year, and the next I'm getting the familiar big dizzy SWOOOOSH that means it's carnival time again. It reminded me of the first time I took ecstasy (back when it was legal) and went to see The Terminator and it hit me right when the lights went down and I thought "OK, this is likely to really suck". Well, the X turned out to be lovely. The prozac withdrawals...not lovely.
So I cried during Fahrenheit. Twice. Once when that soldier's mom broke down on the lawn in front of the White House. And once, at the end, right after the punch line, when everyone was laughing and walking out during the credits and I was so overcome with rage and sadness that I couldn't move.
I just finished reading Shirer's The Rise And Fall Of the Third Reich last week. Probably the definitive work on the topic. And you know, you're supposed to be mad at the German people. How could they have let that happen? How could they go on living their lives while Hitler took power in a behind-the-scenes political deal, while he invaded country after country on trumped-up pretenses, while Jews and Catholics and intellectuals were imprisoned with no justification, while their rights were whittled away bit by bit and the whole country was spun up into a giant war machine? The Germans have lived with the shame of their inaction in the face of such obvious evil, while we who sit in the free West and who never walked in their shoes can judge them, can blame them, can say without hesitancy that they should have done something about Hitler, that certainly good freedom loving people like us would have done something about it if we had been there.
But reading that book during the last few months, I had nothing but sympathy for the German people. Everything happened so slowly, each new atrocity only slightly worse than the last, each justified as the logical next step, so there was never a single event, a single point where you could say "NOW Germany is a dictatorship bent on world conquest and genocide". It obviously wasn't one in 1919. It obviously was one by 1939. But where did it turn?
And Michael Moore's movie has brought to the front of my mind a lot things that have been in the back of my mind for a long time. How Bush became president. How he has hijacked our grief over 9/11 and turned it into a war that almost nobody thought made any sense in early 2002. How our civil liberties are eroding. How we have gone in two short years from a country that abhorred torture to a country where the main question is "which kind of torture is ok"? A country where Congress granted the president the power to indefinitely imprison people without charge, and the Supreme Court rubber stamped it.
But I don't protest in the streets yet. Any stories of Germans preparing for the coming holocaust by learning to blow up bridges and assassinate Party officials back in 1934 would be described as heroic in the history books, but there aren't any. Should there have been? At what point does it become clear that all is lost? Will the American dictatorship take the form of jackboots and military parades, or will our dictator come to us in a business suit?
Am I being paranoid? Maybe Kerry wins this fall. Maybe even the Democrats take back the Senate. The pendulum swings back, some rational thinking creeps back into our foreign policy, our domestic defense, and life gets back to normal.
But suppose it doesn't? What if it gets worse?
When do you fight?
When do you cut and run, and try to get a job someplace like Vancouver?
Or when do you get on your knees like a good German and just ride it out and hope that history doesn't judge you as a coward and an accomplice?
I want my fucking country back.