When George W. Bush awoke on Christmas morning, what do you think he found in his stocking? Do you think it was a lump of coal?
In the “reap what you sow” context of Xmas reward, it would have been expected.Did you see the glow from Crawford campfires last August, sending sparks into the darkness like tracers streaking through an Iraqi night? Did you note the brave, sad voices at Kamp Kasey igniting a movement that exploded like an IED from Crawford to the Gulf of Mexico, when the shattered lives and drowned souls of Katrina were scorched by ineptness in New Orleans and Gulfport?
And did you sense the building combustion over a red-handed lawmaker and the lobbyists and government lackeys who supported him? The growing distrust of those who spy and lie to lead?And in the Fall, did you rise when those who fought for flag and country found their backbone, while those who didn’t had to dig through the bones of more than 2,000 dead American soldiers (and countless others) to find a spine?
In 2005, the embers lit by a dangerously incompetent administration finally caught on the dry, red ink of bad legislation and corruption. Policies of torture and the ill-named Patriot Act were called into question. The press, finally smelling the smoke, now has a fire to hold the government’s feet to.But make no mistake – the president still has strong support and a little high water in New Orleans will not bury that; it only brings the crap – the corrupt, power-hungry mismanagement – to the top. When the political waters recede, the pylons that support the president and his ill-advised policies will appear gleaming as all that flotsam of fakery is washed away.
So what can we do now? First, it is time to realize the political and social position we are in as progressives. In my nearly half-century of life, things have never been darker for America. And yet, I am optimistic. I believe that we are still free enough to make a difference.Listening to NPR last month, I heard an interview with physicist John Rigden who had written a book marking the centennial of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. In describing Dr. Einstein’s found appreciation for his Jewish heritage in the years leading up to and during the Holocaust, Dr. Rigden said something along the lines of, “When the things that we hold most precious are threatened, we tend to be moved to action.”
I realized that Cindy Sheehan, Jack Murtha and others had been moved to action because of what they see as a threat to American way of life and our standing in the world. These brave Americans know that it is time to make a stand for our country.
Having brought the energy of autumn’s fires into winter’s rest, we cannot let the flames of reasoned discontent to die. We must drag a net through the muck the administration and congress are hoping will go away, roll it all into a peaty kindling, and fan the flames to keep a vigilant light on our government through the long winter night.
Vigilant, though rising smoke, black and cold, holds a blanket in the air of this necessary winter. Vigilant, though it begs us to curl up beneath its oily veil as if it were velvet or satin, and there – numbed by lullabies of lies – dream of the warm sunshine of dead yesterdays.
Even now, in winter’s sleep, the dark curtain thins, and those who masquerade as paternalistic protectors are exposed as opportunistic controllers. Their large-armed embrace, now distrusted, shrinks away, as they frantically try to hold down the cold cloud with Lilliputian zeal. But the giant has awakened, and already those who would lead them are tossed from whipping tethers. DeLay, Libby, Cheney, Rove, even the King himself cannot keep the will of the people for responsible government from standing.
The pall of their self-destruction is our resurrection.
When the things we hold precious – trusting our government and the defense of liberty among them – are so near to being destroyed, it is a call to rise and make a stand for our country and its future. It may seem obvious, but only when our voices are unified and strong will things even begin to change. Bush set the bar for us, and we will hold him to his words, for his goal is our gauntlet: when we stand up, they will stand down.