Every Friday over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel I’ve written about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11. This first post is the Prologue of Through the Darkest of Nights. It is an intensely personal story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption, and contrasts the protagonist’s idealism with the apathy and moral decline of a nation that has lost its way.
Self-righteousness and self-delusion are so entrenched in conservative America’s collective consciousness that half the nation is literally insane. Facts mean nothing to them. The self-delusion and propaganda of these people and their leaders dominate political discourse. They are a lethal threat to the survival of America and the world, their leaders are as dangerous as they’ve ever been, and despite indications that their power and influence are declining, they have already inflicted so much damage to our political system, our economy, and our media that America’s journey out of the darkness is going to be a long one . . .
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb, we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father’s heart? Which of us has not remained prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? ~Thomas Wolfe
I am no one.
I am everyone.
I am the lover you never met. I am the child you never had. I am your past and your future. I am your life and your death. I am nothing, but I am everything. Urgency burns within me like an unquenchable fire, the anguish of betrayal sears what’s left of my soul. Yet I still hear the timeless whisper of hope. Remembrance of freedom in a not so distant past sustains me. Hope of freedom in a not so distant future summons me. It compels me to journey across America, to bear witness to what I have seen, and to condemn what must be condemned.
What will become of you, if you join me on this journey? I cannot say, that is for you to determine. You are the one who will either accept what you see, or condemn it. It is your experiences, your thoughts, your memories, your shame, your fury that you must either act upon, or turn away from, in the false belief that turning away will deliver you of your pain.
I am reaching out to you.
I am challenging you.
Can wisdom yet be found, or is there no wisdom left in this world?
We need to find some wisdom, and we need to find it soon. There is no time to lose. Each minute vanishes into the past as quickly as it came, bringing you and I and everyone we know another minute closer to death. The relentless passing of time is my enemy, it is your enemy, it is the enemy of us all. Time cannot be conquered. It never has been. It never will be. It can be used wisely, or it can be squandered, thrown away minute by minute until there are no minutes left.
We are being deceived. Every day. With impunity. Deceit. So pervasive, so intrusive there is no escape from it. It is called marketing, it is called profit, it is called politics. It is called everything but what it is. It is unleashing unspeakable evil throughout this suffering land and across this dying world. Deceit. Never acknowledged by the deceivers, never exposed by the packagers of news as they look down upon America from their towers of glass, and decree what will be told and what will not be told.
Across America, people are asking for justice, but no one hears them. Shattered soldiers are weeping, but no one sees them. Millions are suffering, but no one comforts them. Politicians announce their crimes from podiums, but no one confronts them. Corruption. Degradation. Hypocrisy. Off the charts. Coast to coast.
Heed this warning. Heed it well. If you join me on this journey across this broken land of shame and pain, what you see will disturb you. It will shock you. It will haunt you. But if you are an American, you will walk beside me. If you feel betrayed, you will walk beside me. If you are a seeker of truth, you will walk beside me, and together, we will make it through this darkest of nights and see the light of truth shine upon America once again.