Friday, July 27, 2012

National Lament

I see people, wild-eyed and frothing at the mouth, seduced by the Machiavellian machinations of a political system slaking itself on corporate money, jingoism and ignorance.

I hear what passes for debate today, high-pitched banshee wails, schoolyard insults and idiotic prattle spoken from the mouths of talking heads and partisan puppets, mean-spirited drivel crafted towards inciting hatred and division.

I speak for moderation, kindness and tolerance, but am branded some radical subversive, a socialist, a communist, a freethinker, a liberal, even though I'm not. My words add to the deafening cacophony shouted through every talk show host’s microphone, drowned out by the recalcitrant and inflexible dullards plodding towards their work stations, padding their bank accounts with blood money.

American beauty is withering and dying, shriveling and blackening like a rose petal left in the sun. Its majestic hues turning grey and grotesque, its sweet fruits turning bitter.

We’ve traded hope for harshness, generosity for greed. Once we blossomed, now we decay.

I see people abandoning reason for dogma, tripping over their feet on the way to the altar, stumbling towards rallies with their signs aloft, scribbled in a hideous language barely resembling English.

I see the ghosts of Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan filing into a McDonalds, evaporating at the screeching banality of reality television and the latest tabloid sleaze belching forth from whiskered editors blaring headlines ridiculing the American Dream.

I smell a bonfire of burning flags and Qurans, a funeral pyre for a lost generation scared out of its wits, beaten to submission, tattooed, frightened, miserable. They scream profanities at the full moon, and like some frenzied cultists in a midnight pagan rite, dance beneath Washington’s stone columns and marble edifices.  

Their tongues knotted with lies and half-truths, their warchests brimming with ill-gotten riches, our leaders rush with flaming torches toward Moloch’s open maw, feeding the beast the frayed parchment of the U.S. Constitution.

The multitudes swarm into mass confusion, stampeding each other for the latest iPad, crushing their ribcages for an iPhone or shiny toy, some petty triviality, mind candy for the starving. This unstoppable juggernaut rolls over itself, flesh tearing and blood flowing like sangria into the gutter.

And the owl, watching from its lofty branch, emits a chuckle, as the destitute sportingly descend.

Whosoever holds the golden skeleton key to unlocking our utopia, remains dead and buried, felled by an assassin’s bullet long ago, silenced for all time, leaving his children to wander clueless and blind, and at their own pitiful folly.

Heavy chains around his neck, drowned fathoms down, he is one for the ages, a murky example of greatness felled by hubris.

I see America wrestling with doubt, teetering over a deep precipice, on the verge of extinction. Its poets, artists and writers all gagged, their mouths muzzled for the greater good. Its intellectuals lobotomized and drooling on white tiled floors. Its businesses locked in metal vaults, suffocating and gasping for breath. Its scientists muted by a lack of funding, beakers and test tubes gathering cobwebs.

I see its potential raped and strangled and stuffed into the trunk of a Chevy Impala and driven into the icy waters of the Potomac. No escape for the last generation.

Our final act plays out amid bunting, balloons and a chorus of the “Star Spangled Banner. Confetti bathes the crowd like red, white and blue rain. We move, stupefied, and fall before the crumbling walls of Jericho.

Plagues plummet from the sky, and over the airwaves, and in our quiet, manicured tree-lined suburban streets. Shysters delivering us liberty and freedom packaged in Styrofoam and chocked full of high fructose corn syrup.

We are the scions of our own destruction, the humble few who cower in coffee shops, under tables and in basements. We see the eagle crying as its wings are clipped. We shout out to the mountains not to recede, for the oceans to remain placid.

Yet our dream, like our frail bones, must turn to dust.

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