Letter to the Editor of CommonDreams.org

Dear Katherine,

I realize that the recent submissions I’ve sent you may seem pretty bleak. In fact, I’m not sure you would consider me a “card-carrying progressive” anymore.

Well, here’s one more, and I can’t say that it’s any happier. I’m writing about what I’m feeling about America these days, but I’m doing it from my own unique point-of-view here in Da Nang. I’m writing for “my tribe”—despondent progressives (check out the comment section following any of Common Dreams’ recent articles). These people, like the family members I describe in the attached article, Going Home for Tet, have been engaged in heroic efforts against impossible odds—in our case, trying to right the ship of state.

It can’t be done. (Sorry, that’s my “unprogressive” conclusion.) I think we’re headed for a new stage in history, the one that will inevitably result from the end of cheap oil and the unraveling of the American economy. Building vibrant, functional, sustainable local communities will be essential. Many of us are in mourning for the loss of our idea of what American could/should be and we need to talk about that. But what are we to do after that? I want to write more and do more about building local food networks and compassionate communities to take the place of the corporate-dominated exchange economy and the professionalization and out-sourcing of every aspect of our lives. In order to build that new society, we will need every bit of energy and creativity that we can muster. We don’t need to piss it away tilting at windmills.

Sorry about that.

Best wishes,