The Evening Land
The Guardian is running a story today that is becoming the norm.
The truth about the geographic state of the United States
is most often found from a perch
outside of its artificial borders.
A big exception to that rule of course is Jon Stewart.
Here he is, thanks to One Good Move.
And here is a piece of the Guardian Story,
Reflections in the Evening Land
Saturday December 17, 2005
Huey Long, known as "the Kingfish," dominated the state of Louisiana from 1928 until his assassination in 1935, at the age of 42. Simultaneously governor and a United States senator, the canny Kingfish uttered a prophecy that haunts me in this late summer of 2005, 70 years after his violent end: "Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!"
I reflected on Huey Long (always mediated for me by his portrait as Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren's novel, All the King's Men) recently, when I listened to President George W Bush addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was thus benefited by Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV channel, which is the voice of Bushian crusading democracy, very much of the Kingfish's variety.
Even as Bush extolled his Iraq adventure, his regime daily fuses more tightly together elements of oligarchy, plutocracy, and theocracy.
Contemporary America is too dangerous to be laughed away, and I turn to its most powerful writers in order to see if we remain coherent enough for imaginative comprehension. Lawrence was right; Whitman at his very best can sustain momentary comparison with Dante and Shakespeare. Most of what follows will be founded on Whitman, the most American of writers, but first I turn again to Moby-Dick, the national epic of self-destructiveness that almost rivals Leaves of Grass, which is too large and subtle to be judged in terms of self-preservation or apocalyptic destructiveness.
Ahab carries himself and all his crew (except Ishmael) to triumphant catastrophe, while Moby-Dick swims away, being as indestructible as the Book of Job's Leviathan. The obsessed captain's motive ostensibly is revenge, since earlier he was maimed by the white whale, but his truer desire is to strike through the universe's mask, in order to prove that while the visible world might seem to have been formed in love, the invisible spheres were made in fright.
God's rhetorical question to Job: "Can'st thou draw out Leviathan with a hook?" is answered by Ahab's: "I'd strike the sun if it insulted me!"
The driving force of the Bushian-Blairians is greed, but the undersong of their Iraq adventure is something closer to Iago's pyromania.
Our leader, and yours, are firebugs."
And that leads me to this story.
A couple of days ago,
I was sticking my head into the office of one of our strategic planners.
We were visiting about solar credits and tax incentives.
I had reviewed most of the new Energy Policy Act
and asked him what was the most important, least publicized
change in energy policy that occured with the over 1000 page bill.
The answer was this.
The new energy bill creates a deputy assistant secretary of energy
New nuclear kwhs will also get the same tax credit benefits
as clean wind and biomass.
Another strategic planner came up.
I said something like,
"We have got to get the message out that
building gigantic centralized poisonous fires
is not the answer."
For we can change the world and the firebugs that run it.
As surely as night follows day,
this dark evening can give way to the surrounding light,
In the morning land.
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*art courtesy of Kyle M Stone