How would you escape?

I am sitting in my cave-like office in Washington, D.C. I have two lava lamps bubbling. Slow orange globs bump into each other like blood cells. My window faces an alley and I am for once happy about this. My back is to the section of the building from which you can see the White House. I turn down my computer speakers because NPR is stressing me out. We will be attacking Iraq soon. I put myself in the shoes of someone who lives in Baghdad. Are they thinking they could die tomorrow? Are they making plans? I don’t keep my car in the city. This makes family members who live safely away from Washington ask, "How would you escape?" The question used to shock me. Escape? Why would I do that? This is my home. I am a girl from the suburbs who ached for the freedom of the city, but I am starting to think that I picked the wrong one to nestle into. How would I escape? Why do I get to feel relatively safe in a world capitol, but the people around the world do not. I do not deserve this freedom anymore than anyone else. I never fought for it and frankly I never would.

When I stand on my tip-toes in front of my apartment, I can see the top of the White House. The Washington Monument looms overhead, too, like a giant fence post. These images used to make me proud of myself for coming this far, for pushing my way out of the working class. But then I think about Baghdad, again.

I protested this war yesterday. My second protest of all time. I got to walk around my city feeling the cool breeze on my neck. Scoresby pointed out Moby and Natalie Portman in the crowd. I felt no fear. And that isn’t fair. I should have to be afraid. And now, out of respect for everyone in the world who is afraid of America, I will worry. I will think. I will not assume that I am safe because I am an American.

I fought in a war, and I didn't know where it would end
It stretched before me infinitely, I couldn't really think
Of the day beyond now, keep your head down pal
There's trouble plenty in this hour, this day
I can see hope I can see light

        -- Belle and Sebastian, "I Fought In A War"