Sunday, 31 January 2021

The Winter of our Discontent

So he’s finally gone. Many couldn’t wait to hear the door slam on his derriere.


Though the quality of life has already improved without the constant bleat of his Twitter feed – what a mess he’s left behind.


The pandemic is not President Trump’s fault, but his inept handling of it is. Then again most New Yorkers were well aware that our homie, Donald Trump, couldn’t organize a two-car funeral.


However, the man never lacked tenacity and the seeds of division he has sown will continue to produce bitter harvests. 


Who could have imagined four years ago that we’d have turned against each other so violently? Now we can’t even agree on something that we once took for granted – the truth!


I love this country and am optimistic about its future. But I never had illusions about its history. Modern America was founded by groups of sectarian, self-righteous exclusivists quaintly known as “the pilgrims.”


Their “shining city on a hill” was for themselves alone. Other races and creeds were not welcome. Slavery was institutionalized and it took a brutal civil war to banish it.


The country might then have achieved real freedom and democracy, but for the assassination of President Lincoln and the succession of another impeached president, the racist Andrew Johnson.


Still there have been great Americans who struggled and often succeeded in turning the US into a nation admired around the world.


But it’s an ongoing battle as was demonstrated with the insurrection of January 6th.


This outrage has been brewing for a long time - the “pilgrims” sowed their divisive seeds so well too.


The taking of the Capitol was no surprise to me. I recognized these men as they careened through the sacred halls – not the clown with the horns or the creep in the Camp Auschwitz shirt, more the clueless guys and the occasional harridan in jeans and sweatshirts. 


I met them in the 48 states that I traveled with Black 47 and often marveled at their reality disconnect in our late night bar conversations.


You might wonder why a left-leaning band would even run into such characters. But that’s the nature of the craziness in this country. Many of these rioters like the same music you do and were previously Obama voters.


What drove them to such lawlessness on January 6th? The universal feeling that they’ve been screwed.

By whom? It doesn’t matter – Nancy Pelosi, Jews, the elite, Satan, cannibalistic pedophilic Democrats, the crazier the notion the better. 


Why was the hatred unleashed right now? Because an imperial president harnessed their reality disconnect to further his own ambitions.


But it’s not just Trump, this willful delusion has been going on ever since Nixon’s Southern Strategy through Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton stunt and Cheney’s weapons of mass destruction.


It has, however, been given a shot of steroids by the digital hate and disinformation spewed out by our unfettered social media. 


And now the genie is out of the bottle.  Words that used to be whispered in late night bar conversations are blaringly out in the open.


Who’s to blame? We all are. We tolerated conspiracy theories from our friends and family members. “Ah sure, it’s just a phase they’re going through, they’ll get over it.”


I don’t know about you but none of my “conspiracy acquaintances” ever read a newspaper or a book, they get their news online from hearsay.


The end result, 74 million Americans voted for a man who lies without compunction and has blanketed us in his narcissistic fictional reality.


And though he was thrashed by 7 million votes in 2020 he fought like a wounded lion to retain power. Amazingly many of his Republican allies pragmatically acquiesced in his delusions.


But now in this winter of our discontent how do we begin to heal our poisoned city upon a hill?


Well, the party of Lincoln has some big decisions to make. But we citizens have an even bigger task – how to restore the very concept of truth?


I imagine we’ll have to look back to people like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dwight Eisenhower, Bobby Kennedy, and others who faced dark nights of the soul and overcame them.


Hard though the task may be - it’s time we put our battered city in order.

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