If nothing else, the election of Donald J. Trump has ripped the shroud from whatever hoary aspirations we might have once possessed that America and Americans are one people united for the common good, struggling for the betterment of society as a whole and striving to perfect what is – or was – arguably the great democratic experiment of the Modern Age if not in all human history.   From the wreckage that litters the American landscape in the aftermath of the Election That Was 2016, we look around, wonder what the hell has happened and some of us, at least, wonder where the America we grew up in, were raised to believe in, admired and, yes, loved, has gone? 

Our very foundation, ripped from underfoot, is so crushed and broken that we no longer sense a direction in which to travel to even begin to search for a compass point in order to right what we see as an improbable, impossible wrong.   Has the world gone mad?  Or just the United States of America?  This, we declare, cannot be, is not, the America we knew and loved.  Anguish, remorse, anger and frustration are the emotions we are left holding close after such a shock to the system, such a battering of idealism, humanity, compassion and rationality, such a swift, cutting blow to the body Americana that we are left speechless and breathless staggering from our loss.  Our pain is true and immensely felt.  

Rationality, logic, and reason hurled against thick walls of gossamer constructs having not even the substance of a dream fall in dead heaps at the gates of impenetrability as the weary ghosts of Aristotle and Socrates flutter helplessly aloft, watchful and observant but inertly silent.  Fantastical armies of the enemy flock anew, stewed to action by the bitter bile of imaginary dashed hopes, forlorn dreams and lost desire.  They march, rudderless, starless through a stormy night where no breaking dawn beckons them to warmth, comfort and succor.   They are the ghostly hoards of the spoken word so blithely voiced yet so profoundly bereft of decency and humanity as to be a bête noire fairy tale.  But now the Grimm tale is loosed upon us in the venomous anger of revenge. 

Bottomless pits of despair, endless mazes of fear without exit, sinkholes sucking the lifeblood from our veins are no metaphorical tricks of language.  They exist.  They drain. They battle. They terrorize.  Hopes, dreams, ideals, vaporize in hot, humid cloud swirls of counterfeit words and empty expressions drifting on a breeze across the land to be deposited nowhere but only to expire in the sewer of their own bankrupt meaninglessness.

Diamond bright dreams of perfection, tolerance, compassion and caring shattered into a million shards like ancient clay pots unearthed from long dead empires of once glorious men and their world shaking achievements.   They sing portentous hymns to past magnificence but are fated never to return, their stories, their bright, shining message forever silenced.   Alexander, Darius, Ashoka all strode across the world stage and rewrote life’s script.  Are we faced with another? 

Madness, unleashed, roams the land unhindered, destroying all things in its path.    
If this shattering of life demands war, with what arms do we take up the fight? 

But fight we must though the outcome is bleak and victory uncertain.  What strategies, what tactics – mild or devastating – are we to employ to counterattack this most egregious affront to our cherished ideals since the Civil War?   Arm ourselves with more forceful, demanding and strident politics, the very politics that so recently and so utterly failed us?  Attack with economic instability?  Strikes?  Disinvestments? Boycotts?  Caesar Chavez prevailed using such tactics decades ago fighting for worker’s rights yet I fear such tactics are futile given the profound stranglehold capitalism has on our 2017 America.  Street protests, demonstrations, anarchist attacks like those of the 1960’s and 1970’s or more recently like those undertaken by the Occupy Wall Street activists?  Civil Rights and Viet Nam took place in a different, never to return,  “dream-age” and the OWS inheritors of that age were derided and dismissed as childish troublemakers and wanton destructors.  No heroes were they.  Power resides elsewhere today, not with us, the citizenry, if ever it did. 

Power: swift, deadly, destructive.  Showing no mercy, it propels itself, devouring all who dare confront it.   Screams of “Father Save Me!,” “Alluah Akbar!” and “He Ram!” from the churches, mosques and temples rend the formless air to no avail.  No one but the vanquished hear the cries.   Anguished calls arise from heath and hearth.  Infants cry, hungry, cold, drowning in pools of bloody tears.  Children run naked through desiccated fields, dry, withered and lifeless, where golden grain will not grow.  Cries for pity, pleas for mercy, go unanswered.  Pitilessness rules.  Merciless is power. 

Everywhere is destruction.  Everywhere is death.   A single voice, soft, muted, loving, beseeches reason, pleads compassion.  She is unheard; is unheeded in the riotous tumult.  The earth begins her long night of dreamless sleep.  Darkness falls.  It is time.  As ancient Hindu gods and goddesses proclaimed: Now begins the age of destruction that will last until the final animal breath and the withered blossom of the last blooming flower are achieved.  Only then will salvation and rebirth be possible.

In the end, will there be no one left who understands the meaning of these simple, uncomplicated, words about the very essence of life? 

Being Alive:

Someone to hold you too close
Someone to hurt you too deep
Someone to sit in your chair
To ruin your sleep

Someone to need you too much
Someone to know you too well
Someone to pull you up short
To put you through hell

Someone you have to let in
Someone whose feelings you spare
Someone who like it or not
Will want you to share
A little, a lot

Someone to prod you with love
Someone to force you to care
Someone to make you come through
Who’ll always be there
As frightened as you
Of being alive

Being alive
Being alive
Being alive

Somebody hold me too close
Somebody hurt me too deep
Somebody sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware

Of being alive
Being alive.

Somebody need me too much
Somebody know me too well
Somebody pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive

Make me alive!
Make me alive!

Make me confused.
Mock me with praise
Let me be used
Vary my days

But alone
Is alone
Not alive

Somebody crown me with love
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I’ll always be there
As frightened as you
To help us survive
Being alive

Being Alive!
Being Alive!

From the Broadway musical “Company!”

This is what it's all about.  



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