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.
Late evening sunlight sparkles off the surface of the Concord River as I stand here on the Old North Bridge where Sarah and I first met. I wanted to come here one last time before Shannon and I get married . . . to commune with memories beyond forgetting, to remember Sarah, to remember what she meant to me, to promise her I will always cherish her memory, to tell her I will always keep her in my heart.
It’s peaceful here, the silence of the countryside is just what I need right now. I close my eyes for a moment, savoring the tranquility all around me, thankful for this interlude of quiet reflection after three hectic weeks in Connecticut helping Ned Lamont defeat Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary. As we phone-banked and canvassed, as we went going door-to-door in small towns across Connecticut, Shannon and I met housewives and retail clerks, students and teachers, truck drivers, waitresses and other quiet heroes who stood up for America in this election, who sent those Beltway warmongers and their war profiteer cronies a message–get out of Iraq, do not pass Go, do not collect five-hundred-billion more dollars. Get. Out. Of. Iraq.
The patriots who took a stand here on Old North Bridge against the war machine of a global empire would have stood with them. Sarah would have stood with them. They made history, but America will never know their names. They will never be interviewed by the corporate media, they don’t own any Halliburton stock, they’ve never been wined and dined by K Street lobbyists, they’ve never received a million dollar tax break, they’re just average Americans, but they wrote a shining new page in American history that no one else could have written.
They knew what to write. Their votes for Ned Lamont are an indictment of Joe Lieberman and George W. Bush, an indictment of every craven politician in Washington who sent thousands of young Americans off to die for a lie, for Halliburton, for the stockholders of Exxon/Mobil and Shell. They’ve seen the tragedy of 9/11 exploited, they’ve seen American soldiers betrayed by their own leaders, they’ve seen New Orleans ravaged because of criminal incompetence in Washington, they’ve seen $500 billion dollars torched to ashes in Iraq, they’ve seen big oil and drug companies rake in obscene profits while working Americans struggle to survive until their next paycheck, they’ve seen massive NSA spying, endless corruption, secret prisons, torture, and combat veterans like Paul Hackett slandered for speaking out against Bush’s crusade for oil in the Middle East.
They know tyranny and injustice always claim the same victims–the poor, the powerless, the little people. Sarah knew it, I know it, Shannon knows it. So like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, Shannon and I have been posting every day on Daily Kos, ConyersBlog, and other progressive websites across the Netroots. That’s where we’re taking our first stand against this dark age’s Divine Right Decider, that bridge of cyberspace is our Old North Bridge, it’s where America’s Second Revolution is beginning.
We’re outnumbered, but so were the defenders of this bridge. We know a long hard struggle lies ahead of us, but so did the defenders of this bridge. We see the same threat of tyranny they did, we hear the same lies the masters of oppression always tell, we feel the same revulsion when we see the blood of the innocent on the hands of the mighty.
Those high and mighty lords of war and their puppet politicians ridicule us, they say we’re isolated and alone. But we aren’t alone. Everyone who has ever longed for freedom is with us, everyone who has ever walked among the forsaken is with us, everyone who has ever fought for justice is with us, everyone who has ever defied tyranny is with us.
No, we are not alone.
We believe in what America once was and will be again, we believe in justice, we believe in democracy, we believe in people power. We believe in patriotism, we know what it is and what it isn’t. We’re white collar workers and blue collar workers, we’re employers and employees, we’re teachers and students, we’re fathers, sons, mothers and daughters. We are the heart and soul of America, we are her future, we will not forsake her.
We will not submit to corporate tyranny, we do not need anyone’s permission to defend our rights. We cannot be silenced, we cannot be intimidated, we cannot be outsourced, transferred, or fired. We will defend our rights as the men on this bridge defended theirs, we have not forgotten our birthright of freedom, we will not give up our liberty.
We know what’s at stake, we know every voice matters. Silence is complicity. Silence is national suicide. Silence is global suicide. Time is running out, the clock is ticking, resistance matters now more than ever before because oppressors do not change, they never change. They have called themselves Pharoahs, they have called themselves Caesars, they have called themselves Tsars and Kaisers and Fuhrers.
In this dark age, they call themselves Republicans. Their hearts are black. Their souls are empty. Their ideology is bankrupt. Their occupation of Iraq has become a bloodbath, their tax cuts for the rich are a loaded gun aimed at the head of the American economy, the blood they’ve spilled flows from the prisons of Iraq to the prisons of Texas. They are criminals, their lies cannot wash the stain of their crimes from their souls.
The reality-based world is closing in on them as the 2006 midterm election approaches, their deceit can no longer conceal their treachery, their photo ops and sound bites and slogans can no longer deceive an American electorate embittered by six years of their lies, betrayal, and criminal incompetence. Their ideology of greed, their rampage against the middle class and the poor can no longer be peddled as compassionate conservatism, because they shit on compassion, they shit on the middle class, they shit on the poor, and everyone knows it.
No one remembers the names of the defenders of liberty who fought here on Old North Bridge. Our names won’t be remembered either. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that some Americans are finally fighting back, some of them are finally standing up, some of them care enough to speak out and keep speaking out so our descendants just might be able to live as the Founding Fathers of this nation meant them to live–in freedom, with liberty and justice for all, liberty and justice even for the little people, liberty and justice that cannot be bought and sold in the corridors of power.
Sarah longed for that future, she hoped America would overcome the darkness, banish it, and walk into the dawn of a new era of ascendant democracy. But in her last weeks of life another plan was unfolding. It was conceived in cynicism and carried out with treachery. It swept the plans and hopes of millions of little people like us away, leaving only shattered fragments of democracy behind in a land of fear and madness.
But we’ll restore democracy, Sarah, one day at a time, one American at a time if that’s what it’s going to take. Our cyberspace bridge will span the world, it will unite Seekers of Peace in every land, we will work together to banish war, this year, next year, every year, until the warmongers are swept away, until their war machines are dismantled and their weaponry gets hauled off to junkyards where it belongs.
I feel your presence, Sarah, on this bridge where we met. As I stand here in the fading sunlight, in the stillness of the gathering twilight, I think of what might have been. In the hope of a progressive dawn soon to come, in the hope that a new age of freedom will be born, in the hope that the peaceful future you longed for will come to pass for all the world, I promise you I will carry on, that Shannon will carry on, that we will never give up, that we will build a Bridge of Peace into the future, so the world can walk across it and leave war behind forever.
I feel your hand in mine, Sarah, I see your loving smile, I know you are happy for us. Your life on this earth ended far too soon, it ended amidst the chaos and carnage of 9/11, but you did not seek peace in vain, you did not love in vain, death did not take you away, you will always be with me, so we will not say goodbye here, not on this bridge, not anywhere, not ever. For us, for all those who find love so enduring it can never die, there are no goodbyes.