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On Our Knees

I have been wrong at CounterPunch 26.5 times. One example: writing that Hillary Clinton would win in 2016. After the election of Donald Trump, plenty of you emailed, chastising me for the mistake. Occasionally, and for a split second only, I wish Clinton had won. More on this later.

Recall another Donald now: Rumsfeld. Then remember when this particular D famously said, “You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might wish to have or want.”

Well, you go to the voting booth with the candidate you have, not the candidate you might wish to have or want.

As business types and politicians announce their aspirations, I don’t see anyone… Wait, what’s that word so many used to describe Obama? Transformational. No, there is no one who would transform foreign and domestic policy enough to remove us from the brink of many precipices—the most urgent of which is extinction.

Did you believe in Obama? Did you think he’d address climate change in any meaningful way to heal our oceans, our soil, our atmosphere? Did you believe he’d hold George W Bush accountable for war crimes? Or like me, did you know as soon as he said he was opposed only to dumb and rash wars and when he tapped Joe Biden as his running mate, that same Joe Biden who said you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, that an Obama presidency would continue the craven Bush agenda?

That same Joe Biden who’s polling higher than anyone else who’s inflicted himself/herself on our consciousness and conscience. Dear God, I shake my head with no, no, no, no, and at the risk of being accused of ageism, I say, “Biden is too old.” So is Sanders, so is Trump, and so is Hillary Clinton—and yes, she has threatened to enter the field if the Democrats move too far to the left.

Too far to the left? Following even a few of Jesus Christ’s tenets is Leftist anarchy according to Republican Congressmen and women and most Dem Congressmen and women.

And old age: I have intimate knowledge of it. When I say that the above contenders are too old, trust that I know whereof I speak. If I have a sleepless night, I’m worthless the next day. My head buzzes, synapses backfire. No onward enthusiasm but instead a day of looking forward to bedtime while dreading a repeat of the night before. If sleep deprived when young, I could dance on tabletops. And did.

Up for consideration: One of my children says if Bernie Sanders isn’t nodding off or drooling, he’ll vote for him, because Sanders has moved the narrative to the left. The other son agrees—told me he’d vote for Sanders even if Sanders were 20 years older.

You go to bed with the thoughts you have, not the thoughts you might wish to have or want. For some time, my thoughts have settled on Earth’s poor health. I won’t be around to witness the bleak landscape my imagination conjures, but my children and grandchildren will. The children, all the little children of the world. This song I learned so many years ago in church loops in my mind, accompanied by foreground images of mass migrations, people moving from uninhabitable areas in search of locations with potable water, food, breathable air. Until these places, also, become unlivable.

I was thinking of wrapping this up until my brain sent a successful signal reminding that I said “more on this later” about occasionally wishing Clinton had won. I really don’t. If Clinton were Madam President, we wouldn’t see nearly as much outrage—the necessary degree required to move us from the immorality of capitalism to the morality of socialism. It’s shameful though that Trump’s naked racism and oozing disdain for anyone but the ultra-privileged are the requisites for an authentic resistance to inequality.

You go with what you have, not with what you might wish you have or want. Go with the knowledge that often you have to be brought to your knees before you are motivated to stand. At this moment in our history, we are on our knees.

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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: missybeat@gmail.com

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