I Just Came Back From A War
By Granny M of Michigan Rainbow Farm
I have occasion to listen to quite a bit of country radio at work, and they are currently playing a song called "I Just Came Back from a War." At the first few, fragmented hearings, I thought it was one of those "rah rah go team, might-makes-right" tunes like "Courtesy of the Red White & Blue" ("We'll put a boot in your ass/ It's the American Way").
But the first time I really listened to it, I realized it was simply a soldier's personal viewpoint of why he went to war and how it's affected him.
What does this have to do with our cause? After that first 'real listening,' and each time I hear it since then, it gives me chills for expressing perfectly how I felt while returning from the gates of Rainbow Farm after the siege and murders of Tom and Rollie on September 9, 2001:
I Just Came Back From A War
The very next morning
(Stanza from "I Just Got Back From A War," by Darryl Worley)
We really were engaged in an actual war down on the Farm during those terrible few days before the infamous 9/11. All the masks were stripped aside, and the helicopters, armored personnel carriers, and storm troopers made the real nature of the Drug (and Culture) War crystal clear to the very few of us who actually witnessed them.
"Chances are I never will be the same/ I really don't know anymore/ I just came back from a war."
It really does put a wall between "veterans" and "civilians," if I may be so bold as to use the former term to describe myself in this context. You can't go through something like that and not be profoundly affected, but it's not something that you ever feel you've effectively communicated to anyone who wasn't there.
In the case of Rainbow Farm, for me, the bitter irony is that here "in the land of the free" IS also the "land where our brothers are dying for others who don't even care anymore." Yes, this "sweet Rainbow way of life" does "come with a price," and it is often exacted by our own government on those, like Tom and Rollie, with the courage to exercise the rights that soldiers are allegedly dying to protect in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And like the vet in the song, we Rainbow foot soldiers were hated vehemently for "everything (we) stand for," by people who had a completely different notion of what "standing for" meant.
I'm sure the guy in the song feels that he stands for freedom, democracy, justice, but to the people who hated him he stood for US imperialism and cluster bombs. We felt that we stood for the same things that soldier felt he did, but to the Authorities and the "Law-and-Order" segment of the population, we stood for free drugs and sex for children, guns, destruction of property, and anarchy.
Our perceived differences were heightened to an excruciating degree by the 9/11 attacks that happened the day of Rollies' funeral and the subsequent national nervous breakdown/ post-traumatic stress political reaction.
That's a tough gap to bridge. And that's in addition to the basic gap between those who've experienced it and those who haven't, wider in the case of the Farm, simply because everybody knows there really is a hot war in Iraq; no one can deny the horrible things our military veterans have experienced and endured.
Yet, many people have never heard of Rainbow Farm, and it's simply inconceivable to them that such a thing could truly happen here under cover of the Stars and Stripes. Or they have the idea you're making it up/exaggerating/they deserved what they got, cause our government doesn't just kill citizens for being a nuisance to the status quo.
Or it's just not real at all, even if someone doesn't technically disbelieve you. Friends, family, strangers on the street - no one really gets it unless they've been through something similar (and if they have, there's an immediate bond). The rest look at you with a sort of puzzled, wary expression, their silence making it obvious they're dying to change the subject.
Chances are I never will be the same; I really don't know anymore. I just came back from a war.
PeaceLoveGratitude, Granny M