What a long, strange trip it’s been. That’s a line made famous in one of the Grateful Dead’s songs. The “trip” has been longer and now stranger than ever.
As an aging, born in the USA Boomer who has been around for long enough to consider the passage of time from earliest memories to the present moment, I’m ready to consider the strangeness of my personal journey through space and time, part of humanity, for better or worse. Peaks and valleys. Good times, bad times. And blah blah blah.
Let’s see. I remember snippets of the late 50s. President Ike. He was a Republican? Hard to believe, as he was the one who famously warned we the people of the “military-industrial complex”. We all fail to heed a thoughtful warning now and then, and I believe we can conclude that caveat fell on deaf ears then, and all these decades later, our official set of budgetary, policy-making ears has not had any improvement in effective listening skills. The military gets over half of our federal budget pie. War is good business, invest your son, as the hippies mocked in the midst of the Vietnam slaughterhouse.
Well, we just celebrated the 4th of July. Hooray for our side! Wave that flag. Watch those fireworks. The parents, grandparents, the kiddies, the teenie-boppers, the slackers, the vamps and vapers, the bambinos pooping their panties, the dogs running for cover, wondering, well, wondering however dogs wonder anything. Arf, arf! at full force and feets a flyin away from the sound assault. Not very patriotic, eh? Siberian Huskies. German Shepards. Mixed breeds. Whaddaya expect? Then there are the independents, the in the hood type impromptu shows, M-80s, cherry bombs, Roman candles, leaving fingers missing, or maybe a hand or an eye gone for good. Whatever. That’s what the 4th is about, no? Independence! Freedom! From rational thought and action included.
Oh, and this time on the 4th in D.C., a military parade, Soviet style, with tanks ICBMs, and ranks of storm troopers signalling their sieg heil salutes to their fearless leader… No wait, maybe it didn’t go that far. However, the “long, strange trip” up there, remember? It’s is getting longer and stranger. Than ever.
We recently commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That was a different military matter, indeed, far more a reflection of do-or-die determination of all the Allied forces. Good triumphed over evil. And it was absolutely hooray for our side. Now, “our side” is whatever side of many issues, global or domestic. What’s your skin color? That counts. A lot. Get my drift? Give a rat’s ass about something that appears to be unfair? To you or your loved ones? And getting unfairer every day in some cases? Like what? You figure that out. Are you concerned about your future, and the future of coming generations? Well, sure you are, but then again, what your concern is may or may not be much in vogue these daze. Are you on the right side of history? Been protesting lately? Posting your disapproving voice on social media? Or maybe you’re sitting back and thinking, hell I like where this is heading. Onward ho! Fine, I believe it’s still a free country, depending on what you define as a justifiable freedom of speech or action. We are a land of law and order. In theory. Depends on who is on what side of what law, or even, if one is seemingly on the right side of the law, is that law actually enforced anymore? Selective umbrage.
As far as the U.S. being guided by the so-called “rule of law” I most definitely am thinking that’s a dubious matter anymore. Back to that militarized 4th of July observation, as it was the idea of our Commander-in-Chief. This person, now in his 31st month of occupying the White House, seems not to think “rule of law” has any set standards or guidelines, either by the literal letter of lawful legislative statutes, or constitutionally embedded ones. He openly defies the concept of checks and balances, protocol or what used to pass for proper comportment reflective of the office he holds. But that’s just fine for many of his fans. If you are not a fan of he and his, then I guess you have a “side” that you have taken. Are you demanding perceived wrongs be righted? Are you in the mix, fists clenched? Pissed and primed for the fight?
Last November, the political party that is supposedly “in opposition” of the above noted Oval Office inhabitant and his fellow party members gained significant power by winning a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. If you thought, here comes the calvary to the rescue!, have you finally realized that there will be no rescue? That new power, given to that opposition party by we the people is doing nothing to right your perceived wrongs at the hands of that other “side”. And I mean, nada. Nix. Nil. They are not holding anyone accountable. There isn’t even a pretense of trying to do so. Quick, name one person who has faced a committee, under oath, demanding answers for blatant actions that clearly cross a legal line. Just one?
It’s over, folks. That calvary has no horses. It has no real leader of any substance or sense of urgency. It is a toothless, aged, decrepit pussycat that is fearful of fighting back, terrified of seeming “unreasonable”. The only “opposition with the power–to do nothing–has in its line of fire are members of their own party.
How much clearer can it be, if you feel this country is going in the wrong direction, in matters of heart and soul, of morality, of justice and equal protections in such matters invoked in one amendment or another of the U.S. Constitution, that your side is not just losing, methinks it has LOST. Game over.
We have been lied to our entire lives about so many things. All men are created equal and so forth. What irony! I have lived to see lies become “truth” and up becoming down, wrong becoming right, bad becoming good, and we are exactly where we deserve to be in this regard. It has been a long, strange trip, and where we are now has been coming at us for decades, actually a couple of centuries, the populace ever and ever more lacking the ability to accept that “created equal” mantra, which is now mendacity writ large.
History, the nightmare from which James Joyce said he must awake, stares back at us, but not enough people see it clearly or even faintly, if at all to make a difference. To learn from.it.
Hooray for our side! Well, at least some people, seemingly on board with the current trip’s 2019 brand of strangeness, callousness, amoral greed and plain old hatefulness can feel good about current events. Morality, good and bad and all that is up for interpretation, no?
Our nada who art in nada…
…one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The Banana Republic of Central North American is in control. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Just kidding. You thought you did do something last November. I hope you learned that history lesson. Caveat emptor…
But have a nice day. And remember, this too shall pass. Eventually. But not any time soon, evidently. And since there is still not an true opposing political police force willing to put a halt to this “above the law” administration, there is no end in sight.
And a strong possibility that includes November 3, 2020.