I, too, look in the mirror everyday, and I wonder... Will hope ever return to my heart? Will my natural tendency to give everyone the benefit of the doubt? Will my trust in the future? Will the American Dream? (Not the dream of a big house full of toys, and a luxurious retirement -- that was never MY American Dream -- but the dream of ever-greater freedom and an ever-wider franchise...?)
I, too, wonder where I went. I don't even look like myself anymore. I have always been a naturally happy person, always looked on the bright side -- sort of a born comedienne, I suppose -- but I find now that I have become deadly serious. There are times when I have to walk away from the reality of what is happening for a time, because it wounds me to the point of losing control of my emotions.
I spoke to my mother about my feelings (my mother is an independent voter -- she considers herself neither liberal nor conservative, but rather insists that she votes on "the man"), and she told me about her feelings during Watergate. It seems her natural inclination to be hopeful and trusting was torn apart during that time in our national history. She expressed to me that she had hoped I would never feel that death of hope and trust myself. Needless to say, I have, and my mother grieves for the quixotic daughter she birthed and raised, who has now become so disenchanted.
When I was putting together this weekend's site update, I began to gather links to news stories about the Bush administration's agenda. With every new link I added, my heart sunk further, as did my hope for my nation. This agenda is the "death of a thousands cuts," the death of the American Dream, laid out in all its obscene splendor, for anyone who cares to look.
I glance around me, and I wonder, am I the only one who sees the tornado bearing down on us? Of course, I know I am not. I have met people like you, who feel the same way I do. My sadness is that you are not here in my study (the BBBR Bunker, as it were) with me right now, so that I could put a human face to one of the group of people who have become my heroes.
We are the canaries in the mine of America -- of that I am certain. We, who are so sensitive to the smell of injustice in the air, are the ones chirping and squawking ourselves to breathlessness that there is danger. DANGER! And yet, all around us, many people carry on as though nothing has changed. I cannot make them canaries; I cannot turn them into one of us; I can only chirp and squawk and furiously beat my wings, and make as much noise, and as big of a ruckus, as my mind, body, and talents permit.
That is now the meaning and the purpose in my life, and the reason for this website. To be able to say, at the end of the day, that I did not quietly acquiesce to the new America that is growing stronger every day by cannibalizing the America of my Dream. To be able to say that I was not absorbed by this entity that is feasting on the nation that I love. To be able to say that I fought this beast with my strongest weapons: my mind, my words, and my personal conscience.
Failure is not an option for me. When I wrote "Rime of a Political Prisoner," I spoke of America's promise, "That her rulers would be Her People, The People; That promise a ruler makes me..."
It may sound grandiose, presumptuous even, for me to believe that I am a ruler of this great nation, but that is what I was taught, and that is the America in which I believe. I will not abdicate my throne. I will not step down. And I will not permit a single member of the royal family (and that royal family includes every single American) to be denied their birthright.
The 2000 General Election showed us Princes and Princesses, Kings and Queens, denied what is rightfully theirs; denied what was promised them. It showed us the dysfunction in our royal family. Shakespeare could not have imagined a more greedy, base, and repulsive group than that segment of our family which would destroy their own brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, to wear the crown alone.
Perhaps America, like King Lear, cannot bear to think ill of those family members. Perhaps I am The Fool, who through jest, pleading and prodding, is trying to get America to open her eyes:
"...it was the custom of kings and great personages at that time to keep a fool (as he was called) to make them sport after serious business: this poor fool clung to Lear after he had given away his crown, and by his witty sayings would keep up his good humour, though he could not refrain sometimes from jeering at his master for his imprudence in uncrowning himself, and giving all away..." - Tales from Shakespeare, Lamb and Lamb.
And so, like The Fool in King Lear, my emotions and words run the gamut from the high outrage to low comedy. I am dancing as fast as I can. I am trying every trick in My Fool's Book to get Americans to grab back the crown. Some Americans sold it, some gave it away, and some had it stolen from them, but the end result is the same:
A pretender on the throne, the rightful rulers deposed, and the nation of my American Dream in mortal peril.
It cannot stand.
This is The Thing That Should Not Be.
I fight on with you, and I will be at the West Coast Voter March on May 19 in San Francisco, to do my duty.NEXT: THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AGENDA