I never suffer from writer's block. This may be because it doesn't exist. Writer's block is simply the refusal to write poorly, the inability to give in and just spew the trash. A crutch, no more. So it never gets in my way. A far more insidious condition has, however, paralyzed this humble journal over the past week or so - the malady (rare in these parts) known as "nothin' t'say."
By rights, I should be cranking out more top music lists, jotting a few more post-hanging thoughts, ripping into the failed Administration anew. At the very least, I should be cheering the historic rise of Nancy Pelosi to the Speaker's chair and the iconic transfer of power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip.
But I can't.
Somewhere between the mistletoe and the ball-drop, the movement mojo fled these pages. It was great to win the election, incredible to be a tiny part of the netroots, and wonderful to see the electorate finally repudiate an illegitimate movement. But the grins on the faces of the newly-sworn, and the high-fives in grand chambers of the republic left me cold, I must admit. (Though I did get a kick out of the classic in-your-face that Rep. Keith Ellison delivered with ol' Tom Jefferson's prized Koran. Sweet.)
Blame the New York Times for the mirthless mildew herein; the editors on 43rd Street had to go and run one of their big "faces of the dead" packages to mark the New Year. The 3,000th death coinciding with Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and all the lost souls in Times Square, keyed by the pages of young, hopeful faces just shook the blogging life right out of me.
Then I went to the NYT's Website and really got lost, body and soul. Some interactive genius has created the saddest, most effective digital monument to this war's cost that I've yet beheld: an ever-changing photo map of tiny squares, each one linking to the life of a dead soldier and the whole forming the bitmapped face of life sacrificed too early and in vain. Behind that are personal stories, some recording into audio files by comrades still living. I've been clicking and reading and and listening and getting sadder by the day.
And there's nothing, really, to say.
What's the point of writing yet again about the uselessness of this adventure, its cost in lives and limbs and burned skin and terrorized, battered psyches? Of picking out another failed Bush Administration policy, another anti-American invasion of civil liberties, another poor decision? For what? This keyboard can't bring them back. Their families must go on living without them forever, knowing that their lives were cast away in adventurous frivolity by a bunch of think-tankers and oilmen. Who can say our young men and women are "defending democracy" now, as the shouts of "Moktada! Moktada!" still echo in the American-built death chamber?
We can oppose this phony "surge" on our blogs all we want, but we're still throwing away our own young for a lost and immoral cause - day in and day out, more die needlessly. They die now to protect the ego of the President; they die now because a few old men with names like Cheney and Lieberman and McCain believe that America can't sustain another defeat like Vietnam. Not on their brave, Churchillian watch. No-sir.
Well, we can sustain a defeat. We cannot sustain the bleeding. We will not. This is clear.
Right now, I can't find the will to write about it, however. I need a break from the blogging ramparts. Maybe we all do. Hurling bytes back and forth while soldiers are dying on their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty in Iraq seems amoral, vacant, pointless. Possibly just for today, I'll admit. Or a week. Or a month.
Or maybe it's time to foresake the blogs. In favor of the streets.