Thursday, January 19, 2017

Can a dark age have a dawn?

If a dark age can have a dawn, it may occur about noon tomorrow. Did anyone ever find out what "Make America Great Again" is supposed to really mean? So far, I'm seeing "greatness" means proposals to:
  • Gut funding for the arts,
    by eliminating funds for the National Endowment and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

  • Gut funding for the working poor and those with disabilities,
    by severely cutting medicaid

  • Gut funding for the elderly and those with disabilities
    through cuts to medicare

  • Bait and switch the Affordable Care Act with "Repeal and Replace" with?
So far, "greatness" seems defined by being really mean to the vulnerable among us?

is tomorrow the dawn of a dark age?
is tomorrow the dawn of a dark age?
Photo by J. Harrington

Does a "Great America" have much need for ethics in its leadership? Or, will "greatness" be attained through "Caveat emptor." "Let losers beware." Is the program to have America also become "great" through a strategy of allowing competitors to move into unchallenged lead roles in new energy technologies and growth economies while we spend billions cleaning up after more and more hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy and other megastorms? Wil we be busy watching greatness in tomorrow's America be defined the way many great apes do, whichever one yells loudest and stamps longest is "the greatest." That phrase had much more meaning years ago when it was said, by himself, about a black, American, Muslim boxer. That level of greatness isn't likely to be attained over the next few years.

I've been around long enough to recognize that much of what's being proposed are long-standing Republican fantasies. What's missing this time are enough Democrats to save those Republicans from themselves as Democrats try to save the rest of us in the process. This time around, Republicans, and those who support them, might want to carefully consider the old saying "be careful what you wish for, you may get it." The money from corporations and the 1% won't help if there's no one left to vote for you or work in your factories or flip your burgers. Even if robots can do lots of the work, who in hell (that's what it may well be on earth) buys your products? Emerging country citizens who are all fleeing rising seas and local war lords?

Without affordable health care, people die. Without arts and meaningful employment, they often feel as though they might as well be dead. If the T***p administration and the Republican congress continue on their present course, we can probably expect America to become as great as today's Syria or Iraq. Is that what was meant?


Then one of the students with blue hair and a tongue stud   
Says that America is for him a maximum-security prison

Whose walls are made of RadioShacks and Burger Kings, and MTV episodes   
Where you can’t tell the show from the commercials,

And as I consider how to express how full of shit I think he is,   
He says that even when he’s driving to the mall in his Isuzu

Trooper with a gang of his friends, letting rap music pour over them   
Like a boiling Jacuzzi full of ballpeen hammers, even then he feels

Buried alive, captured and suffocated in the folds   
Of the thick satin quilt of America

And I wonder if this is a legitimate category of pain,   
or whether he is just spin doctoring a better grade,

And then I remember that when I stabbed my father in the dream last night,   
It was not blood but money

That gushed out of him, bright green hundred-dollar bills   
Spilling from his wounds, and—this is the weird part—,

He gasped “Thank god—those Ben Franklins were   
Clogging up my heart—

And so I perish happily,
Freed from that which kept me from my liberty”—

Which was when I knew it was a dream, since my dad   
Would never speak in rhymed couplets,

And I look at the student with his acne and cell phone and phony ghetto clothes
And I think, “I am asleep in America too,

And I don’t know how to wake myself either,”
And I remember what Marx said near the end of his life:

“I was listening to the cries of the past,
When I should have been listening to the cries of the future.”

But how could he have imagined 100 channels of 24-hour cable
Or what kind of nightmare it might be

When each day you watch rivers of bright merchandise run past you
And you are floating in your pleasure boat upon this river

Even while others are drowning underneath you
And you see their faces twisting in the surface of the waters

And yet it seems to be your own hand
Which turns the volume higher?

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.