I went to burning man a few years ago - 2001 actually. Had a great time. Then, 9/11. And now, we are fighting a war. Still fighting a war. Whether we started it or not (I am trying to present this somewhat a-politically), there are 150,000 American soldiers in Iraq right now, maybe fighting for our freedom, certainly fighting for their lives. Many of those men and women believe it is right for them to be there, but many of them are there simply because they signed up (often out of grim economic conditions wherever they were living).
I was invited to BM this year, and would have a great camp to join, but well, it just doesn't feel right to me at all. If we were fighting the Vietnam War right now, would any of us - pro-war or anti-war or just trying to figure it out - party it up in the desert for a week?
This is not the Cold War, you know? It's a real war, whether FOX and CNN show it to us or not. 700 Americans have died since GW declared the war "over." Who know how many Iraqis have died, and how many more will before this settles down. April, when lots of you bought you're presale tickets to BM, was the deadliest month of the conflict. Sorry for the low blow, but HOW COULD YOU SIGN UP FOR BM this year? I mean, yeah, there is always conflict, but shit, it's pretty d*mn intense right now.
My sense is that many folks who attend BM are rather anti-war, anti-this-war especially. If you consider yourself such, how can you party while this violence occurs, perpetrated by *our* country? Especially when we know how questionable are the methods and incentives offered to recruit soldiers to fight this war. Many join the military out of economic necessity, or a belief that they will be asked to fight only when necessary (so if you don't think this is necessary, how can you party while they fight?).
If a close relative of yours - your brother, your sister, your nephew or niece, were in Iraw, would you go? What if, instead, it is a kid who you have never met, who believes in his heart (and maybe he's right, who knows) that he is protecting your ass, and because of all sorts of weird policies, is more eligible, say, to become an American citizen when he returns? (yes, we have recent immigrants fighting for our freedom, and yes, you can accelerate your citizenship by volunteering in the armed forces)
Burning Man is Steppenwolf all over again, except worse because most burners, it seems to me, are pretty damn aware of the rough situation outside of our country (aside from what happens within!) and rather uncomfortable with it.
And to those of you who will quickly respond with a "well, I need a break from it all" I say, fooey, you don't need a week long $1000 break. Especially one where you are intending to be very *happy* all week. Maybe if you went and sat on a mountain somewhere, or just had some conversation with folks who aren't as lucky as you to be able to take this week off...
Or maybe I've got it wrong and all burners support this war in Iraq, and therefore trust that Bush is watching out for us and it is perfectly safe, heck good for the American economy, to spend $1000 on a vacation in Nevada. The television will keep everyone informed, and the economy will keep going so that we have our jobs (or our parents have their jobs to pay for our education)...