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Dream of the Drones


Was running through the Kingdom Tuesday morning when I glimpsed Monday night’s dream:  Sen. John McCain—in church, wearing a brown business suit, holding a cane, and seated on a folding chair. While trying to stand, he coughed phlegm to the wooden floor. Then dropping to his knees, McCain farted and said, “I need to put a key in it.”

I’d spent most of Monday reading—article after article about drones, the creation of an assassination court to sign off on drone strikes, about the manhunt for Christopher Jordan Dorner who vowed in his “Last resort” to engage in “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare” against the LAPD. The possibility of a drone strike targeting Dorner.

Drones, drones, drones.

Insert: It’s now Wednesday. Dorner was fire and brimstone’d while Obama manifesto’d from his introductory “Mr. Speaker” to the obligatory benediction: “God bless the United States of America.” Between the beginning and end lay the smiting: “America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

Back to Monday’s reading:  McCain has advocated moving the drone program to the Pentagon because “it’s a job for the Department of Defense.”

One of my sons called in the afternoon. I mentioned John Brennan, his hearing, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s words to him, sentences that weren’t shocking, regarding Anwar al-Awlaki, because who really can be shocked anymore? But, oh, that “exceptionalism” oozing from Feinstein’s mouth, like warm manure:   “…people don’t know much about this one ‘American citizen’ [Anwar al Awlaki]—so called.” And then: “When people hear ‘American,’ they think someone who’s upstanding. And this man was not upstanding by a long shot.” [Wink wink with that “long shot” pun.]

Isn’t it only nationalistic Americans who believe that “when people hear American,” they “think someone who’s upstanding”?

The rest of the world has damning evidence that Americans aren’t virtuous but instead are planet pillagers, the greatest purveyors of savagery.

Later, I read more proselytizing. From Sen. Eric Cantor during his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press”:

If we’re going to continue to be the leading force for peace, prosperity and security in this world, we’re going to have to have the tools necessary to do so. And I believe, just as in the prior administration, this administration — we can strike [another pun] that balance to protect America, to employ technologies to do that, at the same time upholding constitutional rights.

Does Cantor really believe we’re the “leading force for peace, prosperity, and security”? That we ever strike a balance? That killing mostly brown people is related to anything other than greed? That protecting America means anything other than strengthening the uber-wealthy? That “employ technologies” is anything but a euphemism for slaughter? That “constitutional rights” safeguard anything other than privilege?

And not just Cantor but all corporate converts.

They are tent revivalists, sermonizing that we consent to atrocities. That war is peace. That a bloodbath is baptism. Many among the congregants are swayed, gullibly obeisance, answering the calls, dropping three dollars in the collection plates.

Nighttime, turn-off-the-light time, I lay my head on/in a cumulous cloud, saw lightning and heard thunder. McCain’s “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah…” morphed to: “Drone, drone, drone, drone, anyway, ah…”

McCain invaded as I faded finally to sleep. And appeared again in dreams. Not a nightmare. Pathetic really. A flatulent old man, on his knees, in a church. And needing “to put a key in it.” Leaving me to wonder about the significance, especially the key, an instrument for either knowledge or authority. I’m thinking the latter.

Missy Beattie dreams in Baltimore, MD. Email:


Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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