Read My Apocalypse: Dead Reckoning

The Ship of State—especially that of the United States—may have begun as a lithe and limber craft back in the day, but it is now more of a battle group with attendant oil tankers, nuclear submarines, and a long affixed line of garbage barges. You don’t turn that one easily, even when you are Rooling Roost Grand Poobah Gold Epaulets Sprayed Orange Comb-over Admiral President Donald J Trump. Attempting to veer sharply or reverse course could set off a string of mishaps, with the Ship of State aground or sinking and scuttled.

Here we go!

My father was the navy man, not I, but he helped me understand the idea of dead reckoning, that is, tasting the air, looking at the horizon and the sky, remembering the map, thinking about time gone and direction traveled, imaging the destination, and intuitively, experientially, setting a course forward, a strategic line of sight toward the port, the beach, or the portage trailhead (he took me paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness frequently, a massively confusing welter of boreal forest-ringed glaciated lakes stretching across the Minnesota-Canadian border).

Our Ship of State is about to be handed to a man who will give an entirely different, darker, more deadly meaning to dead reckoning—a reckoning from Mother Earth, a reckoning from Cosmic Justice, a reckoning that may well include nuclear apocalypse, climate Armageddon, and financial plunge to the bottom. Mr Trump, capsize is more than fitting you for the gold-braided admiral hat.

Sometimes a different sort of fleet is needed, one that is clean and collective, more like a million sailboats and a hundred million kayaks, using the hive mentality to achieve a dead reckoning yielding a sustainable, equitable, just and inclusive voyage toward safe harbors for all, not luxury liners for the few served by armed battleships. Dr. Erica Chenoweth and others help us envision that, a vision of people power and clean power, not polluting power predicated on armed robbery of resources.

My old paddling buddy Davy was on a short 19-mile Lake Superior crossing from Grand Portage to Isle Royale, kayaking with his uncle. They were hit by a white squall, a sudden blast of very high wind and tall, rough waves. With just a minute or two notice, they rafted up, slapping together a human arm/kayak paddle strongback across the decks of their boats. They held on for dear life, were tossed like a mouse by a big cat, and rode it out right-side-up.

We the people were hit by a different sort of white squall with this election, wouldn’t you agree? While Trump did about the same with white voters as did Romney in 2012, the rest of us failed to raft up and that white squall tipped us over. We are scattered and broken-hearted.

This is when we dig deep for our connections to each other and begin rescue operations with a better strategy going forward. If some Muslim sailboats keeled over, we need to rally around them and use our creative selves to set them right. If Native activists are being brutalized to make way for polluting pipelines, we need to raft up with them and prevent that. If immigrants from Mexico are forced into hiding, our homes and churches should be sanctuary islands.

When we think, love, and act together, our mass wisdom can exercise a dead reckoning that will set us on a course that will work for all. That is the wisdom and commitment we need now and into the coming period. We can do this.

More articles by:

Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

March 22, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Italy, Germany and the EU’s Future
David Rosen
The Further Adventures of the President and the Porn Star
Gary Leupp
Trump, the Crown Prince and the Whole Ugly Big Picture
The Hudson Report
Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons and Debt in Antiquity
Steve Martinot
The Properties of Property
Binoy Kampmark
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Surveillance Capitalism
Jeff Berg
Russian to Judgment
Gregory Barrett
POSSESSED! Europe’s American Demon Must Be Exorcised
Robby Sherwin
What Do We Do About Facebook?
Sam Husseini
Trump Spokesperson Commemorates Invading Iraq by Claiming U.S. Doesn’t Dictate to Other Countries; State Dept. Defends Invasion
Rob Okun
Students: Time is Ripe to Add Gender to Gun Debate
Michael Barker
Tory Profiteering in Russia and Putin’s Debt of Gratitude
March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us