Through the Darkest of Nights: Testament XXIV

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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 a 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.  But most of all, it is a search for identity and meaning in an empty world.

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

All installments are available for reading here on Docudharma’s Series 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.

Through the Darkest of Nights


    I’ve never been here before.  I had to come here.   I’ll be going back to D.C. tonight, Shannon and I will be staying there until Election Day, but my need to touch the past, to summon meaning from it, to feel the urgency of what must be done have brought me here.  Shannon told me to stand where seekers of peace once stood, to stand where tin soldiers killed them and stained the ground with their blood.  She told me to remember them, to remember their names, to remember their idealism, courage, and sacrifice.

    In 1970, on the 4th of May, four young Americans were shot to death here.  Two of them were killed for speaking truth to power, two of them were walking to class and became collateral damage when Nixon’s tin soldiers filled the air with bullets.  On that day of horror, on that day of death, on that day of tin soldiers and blood on the ground, Kent State University was a battleground.  

Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming

We’re finally on our own

This summer I hear the drumming

Four dead in Ohio

    We’re still on our own, the drumming of the corporate war machine can still be heard, it’s never stopped, it’s louder then ever before.  I hear the drumming of madness, the drumming of fascism, the drumming of tin soldier drummers all across this battleground state, always drumming, never stopping, drumming for the corporate war machine, drumming for the latest lying leader of the GOP, drumming lies, drumming lies, drumming lies so the truth can no longer be heard, so John Kerry can no longer be heard, so voices of reason can no longer be heard anywhere in this wasteland of Republican corruption and deceit.  

    Every warmonger, every hater of the truth, every rightwing hack who can find  a drum and a couple of sticks to pound on it with is pounding away.  But no one is pounding louder than the retired burners of Vietnam villages who call themselves the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.  Across Ohio, across the Midwest, across America, they’re filling the airwaves with the drumming of slander, the drumming of character assassination, the drumming of mindless fear of the truth and those who speak it.  They’re on the last search-and-destroy mission of the Vietnam War, their guns are loaded and John Kerry is their target.

    He didn’t get shot enough in Vietnam so they’re going to shoot him again, he didn’t bleed enough, so they’re going to make him bleed some more, he spoke truth to power in 1971 and is doing it again, so they’re going to burn his presidential candidacy to the ground, just like they burned village after village to the ground in that hellish war.

   In this year of horror, in this year of death, in this year of tin soldiers and blood on the ground, Iraq is burning, the Constitution’s burning, the Bill of Rights is burning, the smoke from the flames is thick in the air, but most Americans don’t want to see it.   They’ve been conditioned to ignore it, they’ve been deluged with propaganda and all they see is slogans.  Support the Troops.  Kerry’s a Flip-Flopper, Democrats are Obstructionists.

    It’s the 4th of May today, every day’s the 4th of May in George W. Bush’s Amerika.  Lies are filling the air instead of bullets, but they’re just as deadly.   Lies kill, they destroy, they rip our humanity away, they rip peace away, they rip our lives away, they rip the past and future away.  The corporate media drops lies like napalm, the pilots of the airwaves are always on patrol, ever watchful for the truth to appear, and when they see it, they target it and burn it to ashes.      

Gotta get down to it,

Soldiers are gunning us down,

Should have been done long ago.

What if you knew her

and found her dead on the ground,

How can you run when you know?

     Democracy is dead on the ground in Ohio.  The tin soldiers of Blackwell, the tin soldiers of Diebold, the tin soldiers of the corporate war machine have seen to that.  It’s dead on the ground in America, the tin soldiers of BushCo are on a rampage, they’re locked and loaded, their fingers are always on the trigger, they fire their lies and reload, fire and reload, fire and reload.  If you’re a seeker of peace you’re a target, if you speak truth to power you’re a target, if you try to register voters you’re a target, if you try to join a union you’re a target, if you warn about global warming you’re a target.  

    Jeffrey Miller was shot to death here, his voice was silenced.  William Schroeder was shot to death here, his voice was silenced.  Allison Krause was shot to death here, her voice was silenced   Sandra Scheuer was shot to death here, her voice was silenced.  They were silenced, but the peace movement wasn’t silenced.  As darkness fell on that day of horror, on that day of death, on that day of tin soldiers and blood on the ground, a sign draped from a Kent State dormitory window sent America a message, just in case it still had a conscience, in defiant words from the heart and soul of every grieving seeker of peace . . .      

They Can’t Kill Us All

    They can’t kill us all, but they can lie to us all, they’ve been doing it for decades and they’re still doing it.  They can take our freedom away, and they’re doing it.  They can take our Constitution, our government, and our civil liberties away, and they’re doing it.  They can take our hope away, and they’re doing it.  They can take our future away, and they’re doing it.

    With lies.  With a government packed with liars from top to bottom, with a media packed with liars coast to coast, with an all out war on reality even Kafka couldn’t have envisioned in his darkest nightmares.  Pathological liars are recruited to run as Republican candidates.  Conservative think tanks train aspiring young Republican liars to lie with unsurpassed skill and bright-eyed sincerity, in TV studios that echo with lies, in the pages of Regnery books packed with lies, in every federal agency and at every level of government.

    Talk radio Republican liars invite amateur Republican liars to call in so they can lie to each other on the air and spread the latest Republican lies to millions of avid Republican listeners, who need their daily fix of lies so when it’s time to trade lies with other Republicans after church they’ll be able to hold up their end of the conversation. They’re the drummers of lies, the drummers of fascism, the drummers of madness, not one of them has drawn a sane breath since the first rightwing talk radio station went on the air 20 years ago.

    We have to take back this country.  What has been lost can be found again.  What has been taken away can be reclaimed.  Democracy’s dead on the ground, but love isn’t.  Not yet.  It lives on in Shannon’s heart, it lives on in my heart, we aren’t going to give up, we’ll never give up.  We have each other, we have love to sustain us, we know the power it has, we know when love is nurtured and shared it grows stronger, and when love is strong enough anything is possible.  


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    • Alma on June 25, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I had chills and tears through the whole thing.

    One of the most emotional installments yet.

    • RiaD on June 25, 2008 at 11:31 pm

     , ,

     , ,

    i’m in tears….devastatingly awesome

    thanks ♥~

  1. I just caught up on reading the last few chapters–it’s powerful!

  2. Do you actually commit a specific block of time each day in order to deliver this complicated and compelling series or do you go on “runs” where you write and write.

    Just being…. well…. nosy.

    Thanks Rusty….

  3. Recollecting Ohio State — I recall how absolutely shocked everyone was — it was NOT believable!  It was horrifying and horrified each and every one of us!  Doesn’t happen — not in America!

    Now look — now look where we’re at?  

    Beautiful segment, Rusty!  Beautiful!

  4. Who’s the narrator of this one?

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