The American people are today’s sweet spot, with their penchant for wanting to pitch in and help, with their willingness to sacrifice self for others. Today’s sweet spot is about average people who end up doing heroic things. Our soldiers are a great big sweet spot because they leave their families and go to lands that are foreign and hostile in order to keep their families and all of America safe, to forge a better life for people who are oppressed, and to train troops to defend that better life once it is established. Our soldiers and their families have paid heavily because fighting is a deadly profession and one we all wish would become unnecessary. In the Iraq war 4,487 U.S. soldiers were killed and 32,223 were seriously wounded as of January 31, 2012. Reports on Iraq show that 991 soldiers required amputations and 797 experienced the loss of at least one major limb. In Afghanistan 2165 soldiers were killed and 18, 230 were wounded as of February 5, 2013. Reports on Afghanistan show that 724 soldiers required amputations and 696 experienced the loss of at least one limb. 103,792 soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD and 253,330 have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Thanks to the media we get to watch our brave vets as they deal with lost limbs and other traumatic injuries, such as burns. We don’t get to follow those with the injuries which are less easy to see, like PTSD and the TBI. We do know the devastating backlog of paperwork in the Veteran’s Administration which apparently has not moved to digital records and is so snowed under that they may never get there. We know that this backlog is preventing many vets from getting the care and attention they need. I am in awe of the way our soldiers deal with serious injuries and find ways to get on with their lives. They are a sweet spot in my life (and probably in yours). The Veteran’s Administration, on the other hand, needs to hire some of our young people who are underemployed but have the tech skills the VA needs to make their records available in electronic form. The VA does many wonderful things, but they are not eligible for my sweet spot due to the delays in taking care of the needs of our struggling vets.
So vets – sweet spot, VA – not so much.
Americans are also very compassionate and giving. When there is a disaster they contribute money and resources to the wounded city or area. These natural disasters have been large and frequent. Americans volunteer to go help devastated Americans, who have lost everything, clean up and rebuild. We try to be present for each other in times of strife. This behavior also constitutes a sweet spot that we can look to when we need reassurance that people are basically good, or when we feel overwhelmed with fear, evil, and negativity. I am not just talking about our first responders, who are brave and reliable, but also about ordinary citizens who pitch in with money and even physical labor when needed. I am talking about all those Americans who run or walk to earn money to keep our charities in business, all the Iron Men competitors who raise funds to fight disease and birth anomalies. I am also talking about all those residents of a local area who attend or contribute to benefits for Americans with extraordinary medical needs. Our charitable impulses have that quality that I am defining as sweetness and these are the stories that inspire our warm feelings when we hear them on the news, or read them in the media, or take part in them in our communities. When the America people act in this fashion, they are the sweet spot.
The Beatles White Album is in my sweet spot today for managing to be so relevant almost 40 years after it was released. Think about some of the musical offerings on this album. We have Back in the USSR(Edward Snowden), we have Mother Nature’s Son ( we’re still working on that environment), we have Happiness is a Warm Gun (the NRA) and the Revolution songs, Revolution, Revolution 1, Revolution 9 (I think we can all see how this is still relevant). Will the Beatles remain relevant as long as Shakespeare has? That remains to be seen. But for today they are also in my sweet spot.