Hey! Look What I Found!

I was walking down the street last night when I happened to glance into the gutter and see something shiny. I bent down and picked it up and took it over to a street lamp and that, combined with the illumination of the moon, gave me enough light to really examine it.

You know what it was? It was America, but this shiny thing was all new! It was, upon close inspection which it appears few have bothered to undertak, a new shiny America without George Bush and with a crippled Republican Party!

I turned it over and over in my hands, trying to understand. It had the same America shape the you see on maps and stuff, but it was totally different! You did have to look closely because the changes….which were undoubtedly there….were still subtle.

Amazingly enough, even in this New America, even without a crazed religious zealot at the helm and even without a Praetorian Guard of Rubber Stamping Religious Zealots (See: Schiavo, Terry) forcing every insane “divinely inspired” whim down the throats of the American People with the help of a Propaganda Arm that basically was a State Information Service dedicated to, as one of its star propagandists put it in a recent speech, denying facts and creating an alternate, fictional, reality:

What Fox did is not just create a venue for alternative opinion. It created an alternate reality.


It seems hardly anyone else has found it though, this shining thing, this new America. Maybe it only exists in possibility still, in potentiality. Maybe I am just dreaming it? It seems real though, I have distinct memories of things changing. But who can really tell in a world where there are, apparently, two warring realities? Is there a new America? Or are we still living in the old one? Am I dreaming? Or is it everyone (but a few) who are still dreaming? Or could it be that we are, at this odd moment, stuck between dream and awakening?

After eight years of living in a dream world, world of of fantasy where Islamofascists were swimming to America with their curved knives between their teeth and bearing backpacks of burqhas in which to dress American women, after eight years of a fantasy world where there was a man with a beard sitting on a throne in the sky directing our President as to which Muslims to wage a crusade against, after eight years of an alternate reality where the best way to help poor people was to take money from them and give it to the rich, after eight years of a world where the way to make Healthy Forests was to cut them down and give the money from selling them to rich people, after eight years of insisting the way to get Clear Skies was to blow the tops of off mountains and then burn the coal that was found to pump massive amounts of smoke into them, where the best way to keep America healthy and strong was to deny us health care, and the best way to follow the Sky Fathers imprecations to love thy neighbor was to discriminate against and hate that neighbor, where the best way to keep the Sky fathers Children safe was to kill and torture other of the Sky Father’s children…

DID We The People finally…..FINALLY… wake up from that alternate reality? I have distinct memories of something like that happening… Well ok, maybe not really wake up.  Maybe we sort of rolled over and hit the snooze button, when the alarm had been going off for quite awhile. We were pulled out of the dream, just enough to do that? But no, we haven’t woken up all that much at all, it seems. We just did wake enough, it seems, from that long dream to stop the alarm going off….and then rolled back over and went back to sleep.

And, it seems, went back into the dream, nay, the nightmare, of the last eight years. The nightmare of torture while the President said we don’t torture, the nightmare where letting Americans drown was praised as a heckuva job, the nightmare where we had to invade a country RIGHT NOW for reasons that didn’t exist…… It almost seems as if we don’t want to wake up. That this nightmare of colorcoded fear is somehow comforting to the American psyche, as if all of the paranoiac, obsessive fears that we, the most privileged people in the world….. are somehow the most persecuted people in the world, fulfill some deep psychic need we have to rationalize and explain away and somehow absolve our many. many. many. sins. We dream of small black children in chains and of a free man in buckskins riding his pony across the plains and a burned and naked Vietnamese girl running down a road, and a pyramid of naked brown men in a jail stacked in a pyramid and smeared with shit while we point at them and smile….and while we are horrified….we are also fascinated with this dream, this nightmare.

Who knows why we dream what we do, but we do….over and over.

But…perhaps….some day… enough of us, enough of our collective consciousness will wake to the alarms of those few people who always yelling in our dreams, always yelling for us to wake up. We seem to hear those voices, every once in a while, but the voices of the nightmare then rise and drown them out when some new fear appears in our dreamscape to take precedence. But maybe, perhaps, some day, we will hear those yelling voices over the din of fear and war….  and we will not hit the snooze button of unconscious denial once again. Who knows when, who knows what it will finally take, after all of these horrors, to shock ‘us’ into wakefulness. Nothing has worked so far, no nightmare horror of all of those that we have had to choose from, so far, has done the trick. Nothing has, as of yet been SO horrifying that we can turn away from the fascination of those horrors and listen, finally, instead, to those small yelling voices telling us to….wake up!

But perhaps, if we are lucky, we may one day rouse ourselves from this fascinating nightmare, stumble through our day of servicing the nightmare machine…and then, while strolling at night under a full moon and breathing the fresh night air, find ourselves searching aimlessly for something, something new and good, and then happen to cast our gaze down into the gutter and find that shining thing in the refuse. That shining new America that is still for now, lying in the gutter, waiting to be found. The people who had been heaping refuse on top of it for years, to hide it from us are gone now, and a too gentle breeze is blowing the pile of refuse slowly away….but it is apparently still hidden. No one seems to realize that it is now waiting there to be found. Few, it seems, even want to look for it, many wish to deny it exists. But it is there, it is waiting. If only we could wake up, if only we were aware of it, if only we made the small effort of venturing out of our ‘safe’ houses and wandered a bit outside….perhaps we could find it one day, and then, finding it waiting in the gutter, shining with possibility, straighten up with it in our hands and say, all in one voice…

Hey! Look what I found!


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  1. Photobucket

  2. the Knights ought to get together for a beer.

    Talk about their illusions and the pyramids of old.

    Then maybe the Knights wouldn’t have to pick up swords

    for the next evolution.

  3. speech at ’08 Dem Convention

    is excellent for renewing inspiration.  If anyone else wants to embed the video, please do.  I still haven’t learned how, so I can only give the link.  

  4. Great one.  However I think the best fit for the Bush era Praetorian Guard is Blackwater….Oh excuse me “Xe”.

    Great essay

    • RUKind on June 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    It’s been an ongoing nightmare for huge percentages of the population from day one. The original inhabitants, the waves of immigrants starting with the Irish, slave trade, indentured servitude, debtor’s prisons.

    America has been one very long running nightmare for generations of millions. At the same time it’s been an ongoing dream for what we’d call progressive, populist, liberal, change agents.

    We still teeter on whether we’re a nation of laws and not men. Basic human rights are constantly violated. We imprison a greater percentage of our population than any other modern civilization.

    We have privatized our military, intelligence gathering and analysis, and our prison construction and operation. What do you expect?

    The time has come to rise up – non-violently – en masse and let the Establishment (the power behind the red and blue) know that, as we used to say int the day: “THERE.IS.SOME.SHIT.WE.WILL.NOT.EAT!!”

    The anti-torture demonstration coming up next week would be be a good place to put your body where your keystrokes are. Pass up the day at the beach, the lake, the barbeque, the lawn, whatever. You can always do the the next day.

    You need to show up to grow up.


    • Edger on June 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm

  5. no good utube of this, or the version by Raul Malo, which is quite lovely…

    Long ago, far away

    Life was clear

    Close your eyes

    Remember is a place from long ago

    Remember filled with everything you know

    Remember when you’re sad and feelin’ down

    Remember turn around

    Remember life is just a memory

    Remember close your eyes and you can see

    Remember think of all that life can be


    Dream love is only in a dream


    Remember life is never as it seems


    Dream love is only in a dream


    Remember life is never as it seems


    Long ago, far away

    Life was clear

    Close your eyes

    ~Harry Nilsson

    • kj on June 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    of writing to wake up to this morning.

    i am partial to stories about dreams.  dream characters are some of my favorite people in all the worlds!  @;-)

    and while some make their points by yelling “awake, awake!” some are not just gatekeepers and alarm turner-upppers.  some dispense and/or apply bandaides after the battle. some seem to be nothing but subversive flitterbugs.  some make friends with the dreamers and once in a while, give them a cup of coffee without sugar, just to see if they can remember the taste. and some just watch, and wait, and appear only once in a great, great dream.  ohhh… fascinating!

    so many characters.  so many dreams.  i think it takes all the characters we can conjure.  

  6. It’s out there, we just have to see it.

    🙂  Great essay B.

  7. Like your namesake you often fill me with compassion, for myself and all who share the here and now, and those that brought us here. After spending so much time fighting and yelling trying to wake up myself and others it’s good to find a shiny coin even if it is a dream. It’s a much better dream then the dream we have been sold.

    Some wake up slowly and prefer the confections and sugar plums, whipped up by the other dream machine. Some days I just want to be in my own dream where people take care and love. Underneath the pile of fear the coin is still shiny, we just have to keep sweeping. We have removed some of the refuse and at least those who forgot it was even there, see a glimmer of light.        

  8. The end to the Iraq and Afghanistan war.

    The cessation of warrantless wiretapping and illegal domestic spying on the citizenry of the United States.

    The restoration of our civil liberties.

    Accountability for the war crimes of the Bush administration.

    And oh, did I mention, a fuckin’ job yet.

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