It’s not good to start the new year feeling tired, but that’s the way I’m doing it. And I doubt that I’m alone. In my own case, a part of the tiredness is physical, the result of years piling up and medical issues hitting from time to time. But much of it is a tiredness of the spirit, fatigue that seems unlikely to dissipate in 2018. All of me is just tired.
I’m tired of worrying about nuclear war. Once the cold war had warmed up, I thought I need not worry quite as much about such a horrendous threat still existing for my children and grandchildren. The lesser wars that we keep getting involved in were worrisome enough, but at least I wouldn’t have to contemplate mass destruction. Now I do.
I’m tired of the hatred and of the unwillingness of so many to set the hatred aside for the moment and try to communicate. It isn’t just that hate seems to have replaced plain disagreement, but that there is so much glee in the employment of hate. Where once we just disagreed vehemently on political issues, now we want the holder of the opposing view to die, or at least to be banished. There is no room for opposing views.
I’m tired of seeing disaster with my own two eyes and having others tell me that what I saw was actually not bad at all, but glorious advancement. It’s possible that I might misinterpret what I read, although I naturally doubt that. And it’s possible that what I read might be a lie. But when I see the speaker and hear the words, I’m tired of being handed the most incredible contrary interpretation of what I just saw and heard.
I’m tired of hearing that everybody who disagrees with any action of the current administration in Washington, no matter how thoughtful that disagreement, is an enemy of the government and only reacting to a lost election. I’d like to think there’s room for honest disagreement on policy matters without the assumption of dumb motives.
I’m tired of hearing that George Soros is paying every demonstrator in every demonstration anywhere in the country to make things rough for the administration. I’m a little miffed that Soros has not offered me one penny, while he has allegedly poured countless millions into the hands of the masses. I’m also practically overcome with awe at one elderly man who is such a genius at organization that he can set up these actions around the globe from wherever he hangs out, can leave not one clear clue that he is doing so, and doesn’t mind shelling out tons of money in order to socialize the world. Ian Fleming could not have plotted out a story this elaborate and unlikely
Despite my exhaustion, there is a bright side. There are still my family members, who watch over me, even from a distance, ceaselessly. There are friends who wish me well, checking on me when appropriate. There is a rock star surgeon in Atlanta who did wizard work last week in my thoracic aorta and then stayed with me, along with his nurse and my daughter, for extra hours, well into the night, to fix a stubborn side issue not directly related to the procedure. And was pleasant and entertaining throughout. And insisted we record all his phone numbers, including personal ones, so as to call him any time there was a problem. There are my primary care physician and my cardiologist, equally accessible and caring. So not everything may be as dark as I paint it. I’ll try to concentrate on the good side, but it isn’t easy to be positive when you’re so tired.
Robert B. Simpson, a 28-year Infantry veteran who retired as a colonel at Fort Benning, is the author of “Through the Dark Waters: Searching for Hope and Courage.”