A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
When one reflects on ones life, there are several ways to do it. We can look back in a linear fashion and say, for example:
“When I was 11, my beloved grandmother died.”
“In 1975, I graduated from high school.”
“In 1977, I got married.”
“In 1979, I gave birth to my first child, a son.” “In the 1980’s, money was tight.”
You get the picture.
Or, we can look at life as a journey or path we are on. The road has been smooth, rocky, windy, narrow, or wide; we have descended into deep, dark valleys, or we have sailed along on cruise control, until an unexpected obstacle arises and there’s either a crash or a near miss.
Since my son, Casey, was killed in Iraq, on April 04, 2004, I feel like I have been pulling myself inch, after painful inch out of a deep dark Valley. Some days the going felt almost effortless; but on some days it seemed like I fell back to the Valley floor and had to start the laborious journey over.
Now after four years of the most grueling struggle, I feel like I have finally climbed out of that Valley only to be faced with a tall, steep mountain.
My Independent candidacy for Congress against House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has been termed by most of the punditocracy as not winnable, but certainly as an “uphill battle.”
Like I just said, everyday since April 04, 2004, has been an “uphill battle” for me climbing out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, which I was thrown into by BushCo and their shadowy puppet-masters: The Military Industrial Complex.
Along the way out of the Valley there have been ledges or plateaus where real healing occurred and where I have gained strength for the rest of the climb. I am not afraid of valleys, or mountains anymore. I know the reinforcements will appear when needed and the top of the mountain can be achieved.
The mountain I am facing now has a name: The System.
The System in this country is a corporately-controlled, fascistic-capitalism that has taken over our government and media and, as active, dues paying members of The System holds our politicians in a prison of slavery.
The System is ravenously greedy and morbidly violent.
The System feeds its own by starving the rest of us or murdering children to keep its coffers filled and its wheels greased with the blood of innocents.
The System must feed on us or it will die.
The System resists change and will do anything it must to maintain its status quo.
Climbing this mountain is fraught with danger and unbelievably hard work but I know what is on top of that mountain. I have seen it like my brother Martin and at the summit is everything that is good and worthy of the ascent.
On the top of that mountain is peace, and with true peace comes prosperity for everyone. The top of that mountain is green with clear running rivers and sweet air to breathe.
On my mountain we are ALL fed adequately, clothed appropriately, educated soundly and we all have health care, are paid livable wages and a dry roof over our heads.
On the top of my mountain, problems are solved without violence whether between family members or between nation states.
At the base of the mountain, violence is the solution to all problems and no amount of death or destruction is too horrendous, even when problems are imaginary.
The System sucks our communities dry to feed the war machine so our children go cold, hungry and improperly educated. Both the air and water are poisoned at the base of the mountain and The System doesn’t care who is exploited as long as The System survives, unchallenged.
I could choose not to challenge The Queen of the System and live in my own world at the base of the mountain where my newborn grandson, Jonah, may face the same untimely and needless death as his Uncle Casey if I choose the easy path.
It would be easier in the short run, but the cost in the long run is a price that is too steep to pay. The cost for our apathy and laziness will be paid by all of our children and grandchildren.
The best thing at the Summit of my mountain is Hope. I know if The System is challenged and defeated, the healing that begins with the death of The System will proceed and we can all be integrated into a society that cares for what Jesus of Nazareth called the “Least of These” and does not exist to perpetuate itself ad (destructive) nauseum.
When I was climbing out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I did not do it alone. I had plenty of help. Some people voluntarily came into the Valley to help rescue me, others were there for the same reason I was: The System tossed them there like garbage. We climbed out together.
I need your help to climb the mountain ahead.
Next to watching my son’s coffin being lowered into his too-early grave, this is the most difficult challenge I have ever faced and I cannot do it, and I must not even be allowed to, do it alone.
If we face it together, bonded by the “fierce urgency of now” and our mutual love for all humankind then the ascent will be smoother and the victory much more sweet. We will achieve.