Three stories dominate this week. A prisoner returns after 5 years in Afghanistan, another school shooting involving a disillusioned, mentally ill young man, and the improbable chance that an upstart 3-year-old colt with obscure breeding will break the 36 year-old Triple Crown drought.
We'll save the optimism for last.
With the release of Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for 5 Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, the country seems to be at war with itself all over again. Prisoner or traitor? Did he desert, wander off, or simply convert? What kind of shape is he in and what about that father with his sympathy beard? No prisoner left behind, right...not so fast. And then there is Idaho, Hailey, Idaho to be exact, a prettier place you couldn't find. Cancelled the town celebration on the off chance that there is no hero and that some folks feared tens of thousands more crowding int the little hamlet of 7,000 to "express their opinions on the matter."
Wars don't always go the way you want them to. Ask the survivors of D-Day who returned 70 years later to re-live that day at Omaha Beach and wonder how and why they made it when most of those who made the trip over with them now lie in vast cemeteries.
From foreign wars to the one that constantly plays out at home and more recently, on school campuses. It's been a bad month for college campus violence. The postcards saying NOT ONE MORE weren't even addressed to our legislators when it happened again. Santa Barbara and Seattle this month. As a nation and a culture we seem hit...paralyzed...drugged...incapable of any real change or even agreement on what path to follow and how crucial it is before this business as usual attitude sets like cement.
So maybe that shiny copper penny of a colt will give us something to smile about before another untimely death. He's on the brink, as this is written, but it won't be easy. Nothing in New York comes easy. For me, a follower of the sport and thoroughbred enthusiast, it's all about the possibility of one more in my lifetime. Do I think it'll happen...not really. Do I want it to happen...absolutely. I'll be cheering him on every step of the way and I'd love to be wrong on this one. One more in my lifetime would be enough to stop the craving. But like invading other countries for dubious reasons, and the inability to keep assault weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill, the desperate, the pathological... this one seems to elude us completely. If those days are gone, what might replace them? Do we think we know?