August 10, 1898 [U.S. Troops Landing at Daiquirí, Cuba]

The American Empire grows; Teddy Roosevelt gets his way; we are provided with amusements. Is it more than that? Am I growing cynical? After all, shouldn't every nation be "self-determining"? And as we prepare freedom-loving peoples of varying nationalities and races to defend that right, why am I not among the well-wishers at the dock—let alone a Rough Rider myself, from Tampa to Cuba, rising with the swell of not only the waves but my own resolve?

I'll admit I am ill-suited to make a final judgment—but I know what I feel, and it is a maddening irritation, a sense that, with this war, those ideals of liberty will erode with little hope of reclamation. All that prevents me from turning inward, away from the "noisy world outside" (a phrase that echoes in me more every day), is the demand of the cinema, the silent arresting image, large on the screen, insisting I perform a fundamental act—seeing—and, no matter how painful or deadening or frustrating, look outward once more, always, whether in understanding or not.

But the cold eye within knows we serve ourselves; and while this war feeds the appetites of many, not all of them deserve their hunger.


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