PENETRATING THE CALLOUSNESS

The bald-faced lying in the media and in politics has gotten to me. Anyone with half a brain knows the entire Global Warming scenario is politically correct balderdash. I first became sure of this ten years ago when He-who-I-will-not-dignify-by-naming spoke of Global Warming during a State of the Union, and did so with a sort of wink and a shrug, and an audible murmur of soft laughter passed through the hallowed halls of congress, and I knew every person there knew Global Warming was balderdash. They knew but figured they were in-the-know, above the unwashed masses. I think that was when I first felt a sort of despair creep in: One cannot have confidence in leaders who hold you in contempt.

No longer do elected officials seem to feel any need to explain what they are doing, or to convince voters that what they do is a good thing to do. They do not need to convince voters because they can win elections even if out-voted. Their voting machines have a crooked way of counting, and if politicians pay the “machine”, they can ignore the voters.

Rather than Love-thy-neighbor, politics has instead taken a turn towards Utterly-ignore-thy-neighbor. What else can you call it, when you ignore the voters? To some this seems an expediency, for if you can ignore objections, you can get things done. However, the Founding Fathers of the United States did not believe the common man should be utterly ignored, nor that the common man’s objections were always unwise. Therefore, in essence, the turn politics has taken is against the Founding Fathers and towards tyranny.

This will not come to a good end. Tyranny never does.

But what I think bothers me most is the callousness of certain “Useful Idiots” who play their small part in various dishonest schemes, and who tee-hee together like adolescents who have gotten away with some small crime committed against a schoolteacher. They deliver phony votes in an election, utterly unaware the crime they commit is enormous. It is treason, in fact; treason against the United States of America, but they’d be flabbergasted if they faced hanging. To them it is just a lark.

If I was allowed to escape shadow-banning and censorship and deliver a single sermon, I’d like to shame such lamebrains. I don’t want to win votes. I don’t want to be popular. I just want to deliver one hell of a tongue-lashing, to put such people to shame.

If you skip class, it should be for glory,
Not for corruption you call a "foible".
Your homework's undone; you think your lame story
Will undo your want and make life be joyful,
But your teacher's long gone. The chore you skipped
Was bailing the boat you've been gliding in
And it's wallowing now. It seems you've shipped
In a leaky scow, are residing in
Dangerous sloshing, and had best start bailing
Because excuses won't save your tanned hide
And you'd best not quit the sweat of sailing
If Safe-Harbors you hope to duck inside.
It's a lark to skip homework, classes, work
But no fun seeing it has made you a jerk.

POST-ELECTION SONNET

The round, yellow moon is slowly rolling
Down the purple west, as in the orange east
A spark of flame blinks. Calm is consoling
My bitter mood where all things I like least
Are on my list, and the senseless polling
Of politics jangles my nerves. Why pretend
You care when votes are rigged? The sad, tolling
Death knell of democracy's feeble end
Is in the air, but still the planet turns.
You cannot make the dawn go down, nor bring
The setting moon back up. Kings dream their fire burns
Without balms, their virus wins through suffering,
And their poison knows no antidotes
But the Greatest Power heals without votes.

THE RED GRAVE

Unless I am mistaken, we are not hearing the usual cheering which follows an election victory by a majority. A few of the usual suspects, Hollywood hacks, are preening and triumphantly clucking, but there is a strange sullenness on the streets. One might even go so far as to suggest the majority lost.

Perhaps I am merely turning into a cantankerous old coot, but I suspect the voting machines were turned up full blast, when it comes to altering the correct count of the vote. It would be easy to check. If it is true that we, “Trust, but verify”, we need only hand-count a few, select machines, in unannounced precincts, and see if they match the given results. But of course, this is the very thing the “winners” will scrupulously avoid.

In any case, the hoped for “Red Wave” has seemingly turned into a “Red Grave.” Even Donald Trump seems especially bad tempered. One can hardly blame him. Trump has endured an onslaught from the “Swamp” for six years, attempted to fight fairly midst cheaters, and it is difficult to win elections when even the voting machines are rigged. He now says we should do away with the machines and hand-count ballots, but it seems a bit late for that advice.

Again, I may seem like a sore loser, and to be indulging in a “conspiracy theory”, when I suggest the voting machines were rigged. However, it worked in Venezuela, so why not try it here? To be honest, in my bones I feel the machines were rigged. The public is simply not behaving as one would expect, if the majority won.

It is said, “cheaters never prosper”, however at the moment they certainly must feel smug, if the voting machines were indeed tampered with.

In fact, this may be the darkest moment for the United States since the infant American army was booted out of New York City in 1776, and Washington suffered defeat after defeat as he was chased clear across New Jersy and the Delaware River, until he only had a few thousand troops left, and many of those few remaining soldiers would be leaving in a few weeks when their enlistments were up. The survival of the United States balanced on the point of a hair, only a few months after the Declaration of Independance was publicized, and then, right at that critical time, Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet beginning,

These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

At this point I suppose it is good to remember historical times when might did not make right.

At the height of Assyrian Power, King Sennacherib had defeated all powers but a small city-state with its capital in Jerusalem, and he marched a huge army up to its walls. According to his history, he forced them to pay tribute and marched away. According to the people of Jerusalem, on a single night 185,000 of Sennacherib’s soldiers died, “slain by an angel of the Lord”, just outside the city walls. (Cholera? Poison in the well water?)

More recently, things looked bleak for Russia when Napoleon marched towards Moscow with an army of 450,000. Only 28,000 made it back from that debacle alive and fit to fight another day.

Cheaters never prosper.

However, this is not to say we are not about to endure a bitter winter, like Washington’s troops did in December 1776, and in Valley Forge in 1777, and following winters as well, before the sunshine of victory shone.

In God We Trust.

ROLLING WITH THE MOON

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When we arise on voting day a “blood moon” will be setting in the west, which seems a sort of ominous start to things.

As I recall, a blood moon occurs at the start of “Hamlet”, (or perhaps it is in the scene where Hamlet sees his father’s ghost). I tend to consult Shakespeare more than I consult astrologers, but I thought it would be fun to see what astrologers were saying, so I included the above “chart”.

Not only is a multi-planet opposition occurring, but Saturn, (“discipline”) is “squaring” the opposition. Oppositions and squares tend to be “challenging” in the world of astrology, so there are all sorts of doom and gloom forecasts, floating about. Yawn. I am perfectly able to forecast doom and gloom without any help from experts. What I also notice is Jupiter (“optimism”) is “trining” and “sextling” (harmonious angles) the conflict, but no one is in the mood to be optimistic.

Fortunately, I was traveling through the dusk tonight in a car with a four-year-old and two-year-old grandchild, and they live in a world blissfully free of politics. They were talking about how the moon was traveling through the trees beside us.

Here is a poem they triggered, written (I hope) as Tom O, (who disapproves of many of my sonnets), likes them.

The moon looks strangely jaunty,
Tilting through the trees,
And I've run out of alibies
For why the branches weave.

I have no clue why shadows
Elude my headlight's eyes
Nor why the street is curving,
Nor why the asphalt sighs.

Moon shadows crisscross clapboards
Of churches none attend
And cobalt sky is starless
Without end.

I'm steering towards my pillow
Past the graveyard's willow
Dreary on a moonlit stone,
As rolling right beside me
Golden moon confides we
Go alone.

I find her words consoling
For what child feels alone
When holding the hand
Of a moon that's so big,
So gold, and so grand?

Don’t tell my friend Tom, but the above poem is secretly a sonnet. Can you see the hidden sonnet? (Before looking at the answer below?)

The moon looks strangely jaunty, tilting through
The trees, and I've run out of alibies
For why the branches weave. I have no clue
Why shadows elude my headlight's eyes
Nor why the street is curving, nor why
The asphalt sighs. Moon shadows crisscross clapboards
Of churches none attend, and cobalt sky
Is starless without end. I'm steering towards 
My pillow, past the graveyard's willow
Dreary on a moonlit stone, as rolling
Right beside me golden moon confides we go
Alone. I find her words consoling,
For what child feels alone when holding the hand
Of a moon that's so big, so gold and so grand?

Most sonnets have a certain rhythm hidden in them that casual readers miss. When young I used to become very upset when I heard others read a poem I’d written, and completely mangle it, but now I am more resigned, and even amused. The fact of the matter is that there is beauty all around us, but we tend to be blind. Sometimes I think a person has to be as deaf as Beethoven to hear it.

Either that, or two years old. Remember that, on election day.

LOCAL VIEW –One Last Garden–

It can’t be healthy. Every night I wake at 2:00 AM and remember all the irregularities of the last election, and am outraged all over again. I’ve learned to get up and write, for if I remain in bed I start thrashing and kicking, and disturb my wife.

In some ways I remind myself of an old, punch-drunk boxer, going on and on about how he should have been champ. In other ways I remind myself of a grieving widower, mourning the death of God’s lovely angel, Liberty. At times I think I feel how Peter must have felt after the arrest of Jesus, first rebuked for fighting, yet then shamed for running scared. At my worst and my most frustrated I grumble like one of David’s most faithful “six hundred soldiers”, when everything that could go wrong had gone wrong, and they wanted David stoned to death.

Perhaps it is good to recall David’s bleakest time. David and his men had fled the Israelites, because the paranoid King Saul wanted him dead, and he found work as a mercenary for King Achish of the Philistines, living in Ziklag and fighting three Negev tribes towards Egypt. But when the Philistines prepared to fight King Saul they did not trust David, feeling he would switch sides and support his own people in the heat of battle, so when David arrived to support King Achish, King Achish sent him back to Ziklag. In essence he had been rejected by both sides in the coming battle. But when he returned to Ziklag he found smoldering ruins, and his wives and children gone, as one of the Negev tribes, the Amalekites, had raided while he was gone. His six hundred men, grieving the loss of their own wives and children, murmured David was such a complete failure he should be stoned. You can’t get much more rock bottom than that. (To avoid leaving you in suspense: David pursued the Amalekites, caught up to them as they drunkenly celebrated their victory, and crushed them, rescuing all the women and children. [1 Samuel  30]  Meanwhile Saul died fighting the Philistines to the north, so David went on to be king). Good thing David didn’t lose faith when at rock bottom.

I try to tell myself it is good to have faith tested. Faith is like a muscle that grows stronger with exercise. But exercise must be balanced with rest, and when I keep awaking at 2:00 AM I’m deficient on the rest side of the balance.

I have decided that at 2:00 AM we are at our most vulnerable. All the pep talks and prattle we utilize to keep ourselves going are asleep. But brutal reality is wide awake. And the brutal reality is: Trump won the election. Nor was it a neck-and-neck finish. He won big time, by many millions of votes. The “irregularities” were not the corrupt foibles of a few inner-city precincts, where we perhaps always expect some fraud. The “irregularities” were gigantic, and so damn obvious it physically hurts.

I think I feel most hurt by the idea so many fellow Americans don’t love their beautiful democracy. Some did not merely overlook gross distain of the law, but actually participated in the rape of decency. How could they? How could they!?

I am no King David. I am more like his troops, who were contemplating stoning their fearless leader. I thrash and kick and feel terribly unrested. I have faith goodness will triumph in the end, but less faith in my own ability to endure the wait. I am several mental states past impatience. It can’t be good for me. It can’t be healthy.

Therefore it seems wisest to drown myself in my heroin, which is work.  I am thinking of plunging my tired old body into the exertion of starting a big vegetable garden. One last garden.

Even as a disgustingly strong young man of twenty-one, I’d ache when starting a garden. But back then aching was so different from aching at sixty-eight that I’m embarrassed to read whining I wrote at twenty-one, in diaries so old the pages have yellowed. When you are young the ache is all the next day. When you are old the ache is there at the start. When you are young the burn is all in muscles. When you are old arthritis stabs joints from the start, and if the joints are vertebra the pain shoots down arms and legs. Also stiffness doesn’t wait for the next day to set in; if you sit down for lunch you grunt getting up. I think it would be a very good thing for the young to be transported into an old body for a short period of time, just so they could fully appreciate how blessed they are to be young. But George Bernard Shaw stated, “Youth is wasted on the young” while I, as a youth, wrote, “Wisdom’s wasted on the old.”

Perhaps, if I want to drown myself in work, it would be wiser to face my physical limitations, and turn my garden into a lawn, and instead to focus on writing. Offer my wisdom to the young. I should spend my time working on my latest novel, “Phatty Burgers”.

The problem with that is that, in my case,  “gardening”, in a literary sense, has never produced a crop I can eat. Poetry’s crop is hunger. And now, with the absurdity of cancel-culture censoring people who dare speak Truth, writing seems even less likely to produce anything but the stuff that agitates me at 2:00 AM.

I want a good night’s sleep, and therefore one last garden appeals to me.

I wish I had some servant I could delegate the work to, (a “Man Friday”, to be politically incorrect,) but I lack those gifts, (both the perfect farm-hand, and the ability to instruct and oversee). My recent attempts to delegate the gardening to others have been a yearly disaster. The garden starts out fine, but succumbs to neglect as temperatures peak, and the crop is mostly towering weeds. My best garden in the past decade was due to my being distrustful and selfish and simply saying (to myself), “Screw everyone! I’m NOT asking for help. I’m not blaming anyone but MYSELF.” Then I just got to work.

I want to do that again, one last time. If there are weeds, I get the blame. If I actually live to see a tomato get red, I’ll look to the sky and thank God.

There is something glorious about getting sweaty and dirty. Others may like bright outfits in the latest fashion, (and I too like to dress up on a Sunday), but they don’t know what they are missing when they avoid filth, and sweat, and wearing dirty jeans, and having aching muscles and joints, and holding a perfect cucumber which you yourself grew, and sweating in a sweltering kitchen to produce canning jars of excellent sauce, and going to bed exhausted, and sleeping the whole, beautifully-blessed night through.

Of course, with society so nuts, a big garden might turn out to be a life-saver next fall, and having a hundred pounds of potatoes to eat, when supermarket shelves are naked, might save my grandchildren’s lives. But that is not my real reason for one last garden.

My real reason is I want a good night’s sleep. And also, perhaps, I want a garden because I want a conscience that is cleansed, for there is something about a garden which whispers morality.

Lord, help me to ignore conspiracy.
I want to go out and garden all day.
Let me sweat. Let me get, all over me,
Dirt, and manure, and sand's grit, and clay,
And to put in some seeds, and, as they grow,
To fight weeds, and fat bugs and green worms.
Give me amnesia. I don't want to know
What the liars are lying. The returns
Of elections I cannot control,
But a small plot of earth my poor heart yearns
To govern wisely. Soothe my saddened soul,
Allowing what a liar seldom learns:
A cabbage has no brains, yet it awes
For, unlike kings, it obeys God's laws.

Nancy Pelosi Plays Lady Macbeth

Around a year before the election Nancy Pelosi made a vaguely disturbing comment, along the lines of, “If we are going to do this thing, we had better be prepared to do it all the way.” It was somewhat unclear, (as it often is with her), what she was referring to, but it had to do with “winning the election”. It now seems possible that the “thing” she was referring to involved winning the election by fraudulent means.

To say the election was fraudulent is a quick way to be banned on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and yet such a fraud is generally accepted by a surprisingly large number of people. Many say the Dominion voting machines were “rigged”. In any case, by hook or by crook, Pelosi “won”.

But, in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, Lady Macbeth also “won”, when she convinced her husband to gain power by murdering Duncan, King of Scotland. She worried her husband had too much of the “milk of human kindness” in him, and bragged that she had no such weakness, no such wimpy tendencies towards mercy, and would even pluck her own baby from her breast and dash its brains out, to gain political power. However, after Duncan was murdered, Lady Macbeth turned out to be less tough than she thought she was. This led to the famous scene where she is either sleepwalking, or just plain off her rocker, attempting to wash hallucinated blood from her hands and muttering, “Out; out damned spot.”

Lady Macbeth is one of the greater examples in literature of a person plagued by a guilty conscience. Shakespeare suggests there is something within the human psyche which reacts powerfully against evil, no matter how persuasive we may consiously be, regarding how evil is to our advantage.

This subconscious reaction is not a mere matter of disappointment, over having a gratified desire turn out to be less fulfilling than imagined beforehand. It is not the mere disappointment one feels after going out on a date with a person who appeared beautiful, but who turned out to be a complete dullard. Rather it is the keen sense one is guilty, one has done wrong, and that there are unpleasant consequences of some sort which one is going to face. One has ingested poison, and the future is not bright. Although one may have “won”, one has won a free trip to hell. Lady Macbeth “won” what she wanted, which was to be Queen of Scotland, but becoming queen was not the heaven she imagined, beforehand.

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi might not be in similar shoes, now that she has “won.” The murder involved was not of a person, a “King Duncan”, but rather of the United States of America, and all it stands for, (if the election was truly fraudulent.) What was “killed” was democracy.

In a sense Nancy may have achieved her life’s aim, if she saw opposing views as something which must be utterly defeated, yet now she may awaken, like Lady Macbeth, to the fact that what she has done is terrible.

For opposing views are not truly an enemy. They are like the other side of a tug-of-war; they keep you from falling down. If you destroy the other side of a tug-of-war your own side falls over. It is like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. What is beautiful about the two-party-system is what beautiful about marriage; to destroy one half of a two-party-system is like thinking you “win” by shooting your spouse.

Debate, when most healthy, results in an increase in understanding on both sides. But such healthy debate becomes impossible when one side resorts to blanket denial. And that is what negating the vote of a majority amounts to: A blanket denial of all the charges which that majority was making.

Nancy Pelosi cannot have worked so long in Washington DC without knowing what healthy debate looks like. Therefore she must also be aware it has recently largely been extinguished. I wonder if she looks down at her own hands, those same hands which tore Trump’s State of the Union speech in half, and mutters, “Out; out damn spot.”