Febrile Truths

“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

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