Men, Prayer, Politics, Horses, Detroit
Authors note: I penned this piece under the title ‘Please Sir, May I Have Another?’ back in 2008 after a long cross-country trip, exhausted, discouraged and profoundly disappointed in my fellow Americans for the lack of outrage in response to the devastation of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld years. It has haunted me since, never more so than today, November 9, 2016. I do believe the outrage has arrived, not quite as I expected. I have revised this post in light of events yesterday, November 8, 2016.
Dateline: Ohio 2008
My brain is inundated with three words these days: Failed, Plan, and Policy. They are everywhere. Raining down upon us, beating us into moral defeat. Our sense of self, of who we are as U.S. citizens, is a bloody pulp. The sheer weight of what we have allowed happen to us is settling/rising into the consciousness here in the heartland. However, the nationwide numbing effect of the ‘fear factor’ is wearing off.
Heads up. BIG heads up….
Some people say that Democracy as an experiment has failed for one reason: Its success is contingent upon ‘intelligence’ in the masses. And the masses, from what I understand according to the corporate media depictions, apparently are not intelligent. We have been pounded into thinking we are just plain stupid for so long that we have come to believe it. The result being the continued surrender and acceptance of economic oppression and exclusion, leaving us the waifs of a Dickins novel whispering ‘Please Sir, may I have another…?’ We have accepted the scraps for a very long time.
But wait. Contemplating on my own words, I decided to find a corroborating source. Are we really that stupid? Are we this passive? Resigned? Will the global elite run rough shod over us forevermore? Will we simply die quietly into this long night?
I do not travel in the Bermuda Triangle of wonkdom (NYC-LA-DC) with 42,000 feet of thin air between me and the guts of the country below. I travel in a vertical line, deep down into the bowels of what this country is. On the county roads, in a pick-up truck club, signed with a two finger wave over the steering wheel rather than Masonic handshakes in the halls of power. I did so this past winter from my home in Northern Michigan through the great black swamp of Ohio, the fog-laced Blue Ridge, the pecan orchards of Georgia and into the tangle of central Florida’s hammocks.
Across the diesel pump islands in the wee hours beneath the soft light of tulip signs, I stared into the faces of men and women whose carved facial terrain told me the stories of their lives beginning with ‘Once upon a time…’ and ending with hard. Just… hard. I gazed into faces marked with the deep erratic lines that come from a lifetime of trying. Like plow marks left behind in the dirt by a schizophrenic on a tractor. In the heartland. I thought, yeah…we are just that beaten as citizens. We are tired. They have worn us down and our response of ‘Please Sir, may I have another…?’ is what is left. I had proven my point to myself. I had come out and found the corroborating evidence: we are a nation broken.
Then I looked into their eyes.
It is what I saw embedded in the eyes, the sound of diesel engines idling in the background, that fired my soul. Politicians on campaign trails cannot see it, impossible through their necessary and unavoidable aura of otherness. It is what the Bin Ladens, the Rumsfleds, the Ruperts and yes, even the Obamas of the world will NEVER get close enough to see, and if they did, it would unnerve them. It scared me. What I saw in the eyes is something I have not seen since having a lock-jawed stare down with my Grandma Barber as she, six kids to her credit, raised on a dirt floor in Appalachia and never out of her thread bare house dress, tried to spoon me castor oil. What I saw is what nobody has seen on these shores since the Revolutionary War:
I saw resolve.
The same resolve that runs matrilineal in my own Scotch-Irish blood of Sir William Wallace: the resolve of Revolutionaries.
And this resolve is so deeply embedded in the DNA of Americans and has been so masterfully lulled by the likes of Rove into a stupor for so long that upon seeing it first hand, live in front of my very eyes, it slammed me, froze me with fear.
I was looking at the pillars of own my country, sunk down on hard-pan.
The pillars that don’t hang out in headlines, that don’t twitter or compulsively check 401k’s. These are the guardians of the genes that built a country out of the love and devotion to four things: Truth, Justice, Liberty, and God. The very genes, literally, now working and living and surviving in spite of it all on the dead-end roads throughout this country. The genes that once told the Monarchy to fuck off and disposed of some tea. And it is clear to me, from the tundras of Ohio, that we are ready willing and able to do it again if necessary.
November 9, 2016:
Yesterday, the electoral college system spit out a demagogue for the office of President of the United States of America. He lost the popular vote by over 146,000 votes, earning less than 50% of the total. The majority of registered voters DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM. Throughout his campaign, he relentlessly tapped into the hearts and minds of the disillusioned, those disserted and disenfranchised across rural America, for whom no one has spoken on behalf of since the Great Depression.
Beyond the invisible rural white America, he ensnared those tired of supporting wars, tired of supporting bail-outs and tired of the perceived corruption of an elite oligarchy.
His message was compelling and eerily familiar. How did he read my mind? That’s EXACTLY what I think! Damn the women, the blacks, the Mexicans, the rich, the welfare queens!!!‘ Trump the mind thief affirmed the legitimacy of the vile thoughts running through the brains of so many by stating them, out loud, into a microphone, and onto the pages of the public domain. Vile thoughts now shared in common. Those who thought they were alone in their crude inner language, their unarticulated hatred, racism and bigotry, found the support of their peers, through Trump. While Rove and his puppets lulled us into following along, making promise after promise, some of us dismissed any thought of tapping our own resolve and questioning the validity of those promises. What we are witnessing is the long-delayed blowback against the lies and deceit of Reagan-Bush, the broken promises of prosperity for all…from those still waiting for something, anything to trickle down. Trump has put a match to it, inflamed it and will ride it into the White House.
The question now becomes: what do we expect to happen when all of his campaign promises fall by the wayside as he is forced to behave as a President should? What will happen when his abhorrent ideas are determined impossible in the current environment? What will be the blowback be from those who entrusted him, lifted him and elected him?
I make it a rule to never predict, just observe. I will make an exception in this case. I predict a President Trump will be removed from office by his own constituency.
© 2008-2016 Nancy Kotting All rights reserved. Reproduction by permission only.