Thursday, November 29, 2018

Dark Ages

Two years ago we threw a blind eye at the miscreant. We first saw him as Bozo the Clown, then, P.T. Barnum. He soon became Elmer Gantry and finally Tony Soprano. In the cauldron a fevered vulgarity is steaming along with colossal stupidity and pernicious greed.

Now a feral beast roams the countryside. It is the winter of peril for our Democracy. A callous indifference to human suffering, to the precepts of our founders and a degradation of common decency and civility as well as the very survival of our planet have thrown us into a shadowed place. The fabric of our nation is stained.

It is as if we are witnessing Athens turning into Sparta. Virulent nationalism has fueled a testosterone-driven underbelly to sanction our police force into acts of a paramilitary organization. Racism and antisemitism have been reignited. Gun violence with assault weapons has become commonplace in spite of a majority of Americans demanding commonsense regulation. Our returning legions abroad with P-T-S-D are yet another toll of foreign misadventures. Neo-Fascist groups have become legitimatized and are now calling for well-armed militias, as reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A few weeks ago we turned our clocks back. Days are shorter as we move into this metaphorical darkness. The holiday season has always been a time of compensation for diminishing light, in my mind. By the alchemy of commodification Silent Night is loud with Jingle Bells.The spirituality of December holy days has yielded to the hypocrisy of consumerism. Black Friday now prevails for six weeks. In contrast to most songs of the season, Buffy St. Marie, an American Indian folk singer captured it in her song: Little Wheel Spin and Spin, Big Wheel Turn Around and Around.

Merry Christmas, jingle bells
Christ is born and the Devil’s in hell
Hearts, they shrink, pockets swell
Everybody know, but nobody tell

Now a more profound and actual darkness has descended upon us and eclipsed our vision. The welcoming torch of liberty is nearly extinguished. Our executive along with a compliant judiciary and a complicit Senate allows criminal behavior to exist in high places with impunity.

Rage, rage, said Dylan Thomas, against the dying of the light. May darkness have no dominion. Our rage (like this rant) only serves to release our animus before it festers. At the same time it seems to further entrench his mesmerized supporters. 

The season of Good Will is upon us. Yet no amount of holiday movie re-runs will grant us a Wonderful Life or gift wrap our eyes. Ho, Ho, Ho along with Fa, La, La are insufficient to brighten the landscape for the homeless and asylum-seekers. It is already bright with the tyger’s eyes fearful symmetry of William Blake.

However the recent election demonstrates that we shall not go gentle into that good night of Donald’s malice and mendacity. There are bigger wheels turning around and around with sparks of awakening. Flashes of lanterns appearing in the heartland have flipped the Statehouses in Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. The stark illumination of naked subversion and dereliction of office are in full view. There is a certain incandescence which truth itself gives off. The sunflower in a vase on our table refuses to die. Last week it drooped. Today it is upright and shines. I look for omens where I can find them.


  1. Growing up in a non-religious home, I never had an Advent calendar ... the one that counts down the days to Christmas with a toy or candy or something hidden behind a door for each day beginning December 1. This essay is inspiring me to make an adult version that counts down the days until the new Congress is in session.

  2. I love it. A friend said she already has picked out a dress for the Impeachment Ball.