20 July 2006

The End is Near

I returned from Georgia today. The trip was twelve hours, including three potty stops, a McDonald's fix, and a three-hour visit with my cousin, Ken Scribner. Despite tearful goodbyes to their cousins Jacob and Joshua Gates, the kids are thrilled to breathe the same air as Jenny again.

I am left, then, to celebrate The End...of Summer. Next week, it will be nose to the grindstone, preparing lessons and ideas for the coming school year. I'm teaching Honors Senior English for the first time in eight years, so there is some rust to rid myself of. There is also a strong chance I'll be teaching German, which will take quite a bit of work to prepare, since I've never taught that class in a high school before.

Today I celebrated The End...of sub-$3 gas prices. Our President's been fiddling, Lebanon is burning, and gas has gone up by a quarter a gallon over the past week.

The situation in Lebanon really galls me. I see a defenseless country being totally destroyed over the kidnapping of two Isreali soldiers, not by the Lebanese Army, but by militants. It isn't war. It's more like a Turkey Shoot.

Why is this happening? Well, a generation has come and gone since Israel practiced genocide and war in Lebanon, leaving that country with a devastating civil war that lasted almost 20 years. (One of the war criminals who came out of that war was Ariel Sharon, who now rests in a coma.)

Of course the American President could do something, but he won't. Two years ago, he couldn't take enough credit for the Cedar Revolution, which cast of the shackles of Syria and brought democratic reforms to Lebanon. Now, that seems like a mistake. Without the protection of Syria (or the United States for that matter), Lebanon is helpless before the brutally vindictive Israeli Defense Force.

So this is what I was thinking when I paid $2.95/gallon in Calhoun, GA, today. Usually Georgia is about 5-cents cheaper than Tennessee, so I figured that it would be my last sub-$3 fill up for awhile. On the way down to Georgia last Sunday, I paid $2.65.

It isn't going to get better. Seventy percent of Americans know that now--based upon approval ratings of President Bush. Sadly, if there was a country that could have used some hope, it was Lebanon. By this time next year, Beirut and Baghdad will be parallel examples of lawlessness and hopelessness--and gas will still be over $3 a gallon.

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