( – promoted by undercovercalico)
Every few days over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11. Through the Darkest of Nights is an intensely personal story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption. It is a testament to the progressive values we all believe in, have always defended, and always will defend no matter how long this darkness lasts.
All installments are available for reading here on my page, and also here on Docudharma’s Fiction Page, where refuge from politicians, blogging overload, and one BushCo outrage after another can always be found.
A cold wind is whipping across New York Harbor as I stand here in the twilight shadows of a dying summer day. The light is fading and the darkness is coming. I shiver as I think of the forgotten promise made out there on that island in the harbor where the Statue of Liberty stands: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
That tempest has reached our shores. Believers in democracy are homeless in their own land, we are tempest-tost, we are the wretched refuse of a government descending into fascism. The golden door of democracy has been slammed shut in our faces, the light of liberty is being extinguished. We the People have become We the Outcasts.
I hear footsteps on the cold concrete behind me. Slow, deliberate footsteps. There’s no need to turn around, I know who it is.
“A long road lies ahead of you, Jericho.”
I looked into her eyes and saw compassion, but it did not make my presence here any easier to bear. “This city haunts me.”
“But you have returned.”
“I made a promise. I intend to keep it.”
“I know you intend to keep it. But will you be able to keep it?”
“I’m going to try.”
“We know you will, that is why We have chosen to help you. Trying to make the world better is the first step towards succeeding. Too many people never take that first step, far too many. They give up before they even start. I have seen them drift through life, grow old and die, leaving nothing behind but a grave and a name typed on a death certificate.”
“Who are you?”
“I think you know who I am.”
“I don’t know what to think, about you or anything else. Nothing makes any sense anymore.”
“You have a weakness, Jericho. Your anger is justified, but you must control it. If you do not control it, it will control you. It was a mistake to confront that fool this morning. It was satisfying, I have no doubt of that, but there are more effective ways to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.”
“How can I be effective, what can I possibly accomplish? There are seven billion nobodies in this world and I’m one of them.”
“You matter. Everyone in this world matters. You are not powerless, no one in this world is powerless unless they choose to be.”
A siren wailed somewhere in the night. Some powerless nobody was about to choose to go to jail. “It’s not that simple.”
“It is that simple, submission to abusive leaders is the foundation of all human suffering and misery. Only a very few have not submitted, only a very few have found the courage to speak the truth about what this nation has become, but they are either ignored or condemned as America haters by the ignorant and the haters of truth.”
“I never thought I’d be ashamed to be an American . . . there are so many good people in this country, but most of them don’t want to care anymore, it hurts too much.”
“There are good people, many of them, but they have chosen to be silent, they have choosen to remain powerless.”
“They’re afraid. They have jobs and families to think about, they hope someone else will speak out.”
“Silence is complicity. Silence empowers evil in all of its forms–fascism, communism, authoritarianism, corporatism. These evil systems always inflict suffering upon the most innocent and always empower the most corrupt. No matter which system emerges, no matter where, no matter who the leader is, the process has always been the same: warn that a powerful enemy is determined to destroy the homeland. Project an image of strong, resolute leadership. Wave the flag and load the guns. Summon the generals, give them their orders.”
She looked out across the harbor. Night had fallen but no stars could be seen. The sky was dark and silent, cold and empty. “And then the killing begins.”
“But this is America. How can this be happening? Why is this being tolerated by so many powerful people in Washington?”
“It is shamefully easy to incite fear, Jericho. Leaders have known this throughout humanity’s long and bloody history. Fear is the most primitive of emotions, it is a mind killer. The men and women in your Congress are not immune to fear. They are more vulnerable to fear, for they have more to lose. The exploiters of fear understand that all too well. Years of terrible danger lie ahead, the abusive renegades who have taken control of the government of this nation have descended into madness. Pervasive corruption will shake the foundations of this land, greed will shatter its economy, a war of conquest will be plotted by the arrogant degenerates who have seized power with such contempt for all that is honorable. The Gates of Hell will open, they will strut through those Gates, and this nation will follow them. Justice will be subverted, religion will be perverted, and a city of millions will be ravaged and deserted. Depravity will reap profit and integrity will reap despair.”
“There’s no chance of preventing this?”
“It is too late. The seeds have been sown. What has been sown must be reaped.”
“And I am to bear witness to this reaping.”
“Yes. And you must call upon others to bear witness. And together you must speak the truth, you must honor the truth by proclaiming it, you must condemn those who have sown this darkness. We will be watching. We shall see whether this reaping generates any wisdom, we shall see if bearing this burden of suffering, heartbreak and shame will teach the people of this fallen nation what they need to learn.”