Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Exorcising our rights!

I hope at least some of you are old enough to remember the movie and book The Exorcist. If not, look it up on the movies database. I read the book o.k. but found it to be one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. I thought of it this morning when I was thinking back to the good old days before yesterday as I was still trying to come to terms with the results of the elections. I mean, from my perspective, it could have been worse. The Eighth District could have elected Nolan's challenger and my local representative in the Minnesota legislature, although republican, did vote the way I think he should have on 5 out of 6 environmental issues so his reelection isn't all bad. (I hope I don't get him in trouble for mentioning that.) Thinking about where we go from here, it seems we can now bring gridlock to Minnesota and, nationally, we lost a number of Democrats who, I believe, got unelected because they were trying to be reasonable with the other party and forgot about satisfying their base.

Sunrise in Minnesota, a new age dawning?
Sunrise in Minnesota, a new age dawning?
Photo by J. Harrington

Anyway, this all made me even more nostalgic for the good old days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when we (us mostly young liberals and progressives) were opposing the Vietnam war and becoming yippieifed and hippified. At least in those times we thought we knew who the enemy was. It was "the man" and "the system." Do the names Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin ring any bells with you, from the time before they became fugitives or stock brokers or whatever and then dead? Abbie, and Jerry, plus Alan Ginsberg and a number of other social activists did something to help end that war. They held a march and had a demonstration and obtained a permit to levitate the Pentagon. It was an exercise in exorcism. It made me think that, what we need, after the new Congress is seated next year with the Republicans in charge of both houses, is an effort to exorcise the U.S. Capitol and drive out the demons creating gridlock and other forms of insanity. Now, that might be too big a challenge to begin with, especially since I don't see many leaders these days with the qualifications of Ginsberg, Hoffman or Rubin. So, for practice and to improve our chances for success at the national level, we could try first to levitate the Minnesota Capitol by just a little, so we don't mess up the renovations that are underway. We will need to get started on that pretty soon I think, before Governor Dayton has the opportunity to compromise away everything he was reelected to protect. From what I can see so far, the major losers in yesterday's outcomes are the climate, our children and grandchildren. When will we every learn?


By William Meredith 

Tonight Hazard’s father and stepmother are having
jazz for McGovern. In the old game-room
the old liberals listen as the quintet builds
crazy houses out of skin and brass, crumbling
the house of decorum, everybody likes that.

For decades they have paid for the refurbishing
of America and they have not got their money’s worth.
Now they listen, hopeful,
to the hard rock for McGovern.

The ceiling in this palace needs fixing,
the chalky blue paint is like an old heaven
but there are holes and flaking.
They had movies here when grandpa was solvent.

Hazard desires his wife, the way people
on the trains to the death camps were seized
by irrational lust. She is the youngest woman
in the room, he would like to be in bed
with her now, he would like to be president.

He has not been to his studio
in four days, he asks the bartender,
a college boy with a ponytail, for more gin.
He stands in the doorway. Forsythia and lilac
have overgrown the porch, there is the rich
smell of wood-rot. What twenty years will do
to untended shrubbery and America and Hazard.

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