FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Febrile Truths

by KATHLEEN PEINE

“When nothing is owed or deserved or expected

And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected”

The Avett Brothers sweetly crooned “Head Full of Doubt” to a sweat drenched crowd last Thursday night; a gathering of souls with still enough strength to bellow out a loud agreement. The fullness of the music swelled to match the heated high pressure of the transformed prairie. If you yell out in the night during Kansas City’s womb-like heat, you really mean it. The temperature inside all of us (and outside) was probably about 99 degrees. We’d had a bit of a cold front pass through the night before, you see. And no, your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected.

The awareness that we are being lorded over by those with no concern for our well-being has never been more pronounced. The left, the right, the tragically hip- all have different beliefs about who and why, but that basic truth is entering a greater awareness.

The money is there for the banks, but not universal healthcare, for bombs, but not efficient mass transit.  US rape kits sit dusty on shelves, but labs will check for DNA on chains used during the important crimes (such as holding open a subway exit to allow riders free fares-evidently an Occupy activity). And they will report that this DNA matches a murdering ne’er do well with the wailing vigor of a street corner newspaper peddler. Shows that those occupiers are dirty losers who not only crap on cars, but also like killin’. But it’s a whispered retraction when it’s found that a lab worker just cross contaminated with the recipe for himself (twice I guess- or I suppose he’s a murderer…. right?).

Our safety is their highest concern when they feel us up at the airport, but not so much when they taint our water with fracking fluids. Our well-being is a moving target, of course. I remember when Rapiscan was just a small upstart selling boxcutters. Okay, maybe I made that part up. Metaphor!

But we simply are just farms to them, and all of the livestock has commercial value. Even the poor have potential to tap, in that food stamp SNAP cards can be pilfered from by the likes of JP Morgan Chase. If this isn’t a parasite, I don’t know what is.

I’m just waiting for one of the candidates to present the fullness of their agenda in condensed form, something along the lines of: “To Serve Man”.

But if you have trouble with this reality- well, then they suggest antidepressants. Sure, sometimes they blur reality enough that those a bit unhinged anyway might conjure horrific violence, but such is the cost to keep the machinery oiled. And the fear of each other only helps keep us from coming together. Odds are that the person next to you is a scared child inside, too- not a brutal killer, but perceptions are skewed by 24 hour terror coverage. Those who live in fear don’t generally rise above stifling acquiescence. And they like it that way.

So much solace is found in numbness-sometimes provided by those chemicals, and sometimes from electrons. The visceral awareness that we are being subjected to strange and unnatural lives is fairly painful to contemplate. Even more difficult is the realization that our byzantine wanderings are built to extract from us, nothing more, until the day we die.

But moments can startle you. I didn’t expect a Midwest crowd to so strenuously assert that it doesn’t matter at this point who is elected. That’s a first step towards clarity. Febrile utterances of truth. And even as those who hold the strength and the wealth continue to bully, there is no reason to cede dignity to them by pretending they are legitimate. You are not a populist when you do the bidding of Wall Street, and you are not a man worthy of a peace prize when you joke about drones. Also, not needing a job is not the same as being unemployed. Go hold down some gay guy that needs a haircut, oily bastard. You are both despicable and none of us deserve your likes.

We are the decent, those of us who view each other as souls, not raw ore to be extracted from.

And then he sang:

“There was a dream and one day I could see it. Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.”

Kathleen Peine writes out of the US Midwest and can be contacted at kathypeine@gmail.com or at the website paintedfire.org

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail