I have spent most of the day in some bad physical pain. Last night while walking around the National Mall taking pictures I hurt myself. I was walking from the Washington Monument toward the World War Two Memorial looking at the Lincoln Memorial and trying to figure out a good camera angle. I wanted good pictures so instead of walking down either of the sidewalks that line the Mall I wanted to stay in the center which meant walking “cross country” so to speak in the dark.
I was sizing up the shot of the Lincoln Memorial while walking forward and I turned briefly to look back to see if I had a good shot of the Washington Monument and the Capitol Dome. As I made this slight turn I found that there was nothing under my right foot and I went crashing down onto a sidewalk about three feet below. I landed on the side of my right leg with the main impact seeming to be at the place where the fibula and tibia come together just below the knee. I felt a sharp pain but got up and limped back to GWU while getting shots of the WWII Memorial, the Korean andVietnamand Lincoln Memorials. I got back to my room in a substantial amount of pain and it took forever to get comfortable enough to get to sleep. When I got up all I could do was hold onto walls as I made my way across the room and put my leg up on the coffee table in the living area. Eventually I made my way over to the conference site where thankfully I was able to keep my leg up most of the day.
When the conference was over I changed clothes to meet my friend Pat, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel who I attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College with and met up with inIraqin 2007. We met at Fado’s an Irish Pub where I had a very tasty Shepherd’s Pie and several pints of Kilkenny Ale which I have not had since traveling in the Mediterranean and the Gulf. On the way there I rode the DC Metro and was very careful to not put any extra pressure on my leg than was absolutely necessary until I got caught in a crosswalk and had to try to run across to beat the light. I am in good physical shape and I figured since I could walk I could probably still run. I was wrong. The first time my right foot hit the ground a shock wave went through my leg with the area that I had injured erupting in pain bad enough to bring tears to my eyes.
After dinner I left the Metro station near GWU and stepped off what I thought was a short one step which were actually two steps again landing on my already throbbing leg. I managed to get to my room where after a couple of Aleve tablets the edge is starting to come off of the pain. Tomorrow I will check out of my room and the conference and about 900-930 AM will hit the road out of town. I am in enough pain that as soon as I get into Virginia Beach I will stop at the Navy Clinic at Joint Base Little Creek or the Naval Medical Center to get my leg checked out.
I was very glad to get together with Pat and to enjoy the fellowship. There is something about the shared military experience including war that binds people together. It was as if we had seen each other yesterday, but then we chat often on Facebook and comment a lot on “The New Adventures of Doctrine Man!”
While we were talking another stake was placed in the talks to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. I believe that the nation is now being held hostage by a minority of people on the political right and left who have decided it is better for them to destroy the economy of the nation and livelihood of the vast majority of Americans to gain a short term political advantage in the 2012 elections.
This is not the first time this national suicide pact has happened. It is now so late and the sides so far apart with such great enmity between them that even if in the now unlikely event a debt ceiling deal is reached the damage is done. Our national credit rating will be downgraded and although the nation will survive life will become exponentially more difficult for most Americans and the chaos will spread around the globe.
Back in the late 1920s the radical left and radical right in the German Weimar Republic represented by the German Communist Party on the Left and Hitler’s National Socialist Party of Germany on the Right sabotaged the more moderate politicians of the Center Party and the Socialist Party of Germany. When Wall Street Crashed and the World entered the “Great Depression” the parties of the Left and Right became even more polarized leading President Paul Von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler to form a government.
Of course the rest as we historians are prone to say is history. The short sighted policies and actions of the German political parties after the collapse of the Empire eventually brought about the Nazi dictatorship. If our political leaders continue down this path we can expect that the already fragile economy will take a terrible hit. We can expect that many people in the United Statesand around the World will suffer the economic effects of the actions of these so called leaders. As things get worse the extremists in both major political parties aided and abetted by those that think that they can gain by this tragedy will fight it out until one or the other beats the other party into submission.
This will not be good and I expect that the pain of what our political leaders inflict on us will be far greater than the physical pain that I feel now. God help us all.