Kosovo: To Live for this Moment
by Marian Shuter

September 12, 1999 - Note from the Editor: Last week we published President Clinton's form-letter to Jan Baughman, and mentioned that we would comment on its content. Swans's contributor, Marian Shuter, does it eloquently below. Look at Marian's thoughts not as an anti-Clinton essay... Rather, think about the U.S. political system's frailties.

I hear that the killing still goes on inside of Kosovo. The news of this day tells me that two Serbians, inside a small Kosovo village, have been killed by ethnic Albanians. Rebel elements operating outside the KLA organization-proper have been continually cited as being responsible for the mounting number of dead Serbs. I was fortunate to be watching daytime television when, in one of those few and fleeting moments, a major U.S. news outlet passed on today's tragedy to an audience that, I can only assume, would be somewhat small.

As this viewing moment passed, I began to wonder about the sort of moment that those rebels were living in when they decided to kill their Serbian neighbors in a time of supposed peace:

Is it some flash-forward where they see themselves as reigning supreme?

Or is it a flash-back that has consumed them with a blinding rage?

I do not know.

Then, as the seconds ticked by, I also started wondering about the moment, or moments, that Bill Clinton is living for:

Perhaps it is a small window of time when the "office" of the president truly allows him the unimpeded and unquestioned flexibility that he needs to pursue his personal vision of his "role" as president?

Or might it be a shining moment when Hillary and Al Gore carry on the Clinton political torch?

Maybe a moment of relief as he occupies his new "white house" and is taken away from the burdens of that old "white house" that he so desperately, passionately and relentlessly pursued?

How about a lucky moment when the name Lewinsky will forever after be confused with the movie entitled "The Big Lobowski?"

Or could it be an ecstatic tremor of time when his daughter, wife, friends, enemies, colleagues, and (most importantly) the news media develop amnesia and, once and for all, save him from the troublesome reminders of his personal and public acts of weakness?

But, on the other hand, maybe, just maybe it is a rapturous moment, just before he faces the end of all his future moments as he has known them, when he will honestly survey his thoughts and deeds.

This, I also do not know.

I suspect (for I have no foreknowledge) that the latter is our very last nanosecond, in this lifetime, to experience an ephipany: when we size ourselves up, according to every standard ever stated, and reveal our authentic self. But I also suspect that this genuine self can only be revealed by a mind and heart that is already honestly imagining how the tally sheet might read. For those who are not much interested in their personal record, well, they have other things to think about, like: When, where and how can I rule supreme, vent my rage, exercise my power, massage my legacy, hide from my mistakes and rely on confusion to conceal my errors. All for the sake of a numbing feeling which demands a self-imposed state of amnesia.

For myself, I would much rather wake up and know who I have been and who I am now. In order to accomplish this, I will, no doubt, revisit many contrary modes of thought that spurred my day to day actions--could be very disappointing. But, this may also prove to be the wonderful and necessary groundwork in preparation for the greatest moment of all, when I face my final reflection in the mirror of my life.

I wonder what kind of face I will see.

I wonder if Mr. Clinton and the rebels will ever look.


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Published September 12, 1999
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