Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Great Big 'Ol Train Wreck....

   As a kid, I used to watch as my paternal grandfather recited dramatic performances of poetry: Gunga Din, Casey at the Bat, and The Ballad of Casey Jones were his favorites.  His crowning moment came when the mighty Casey took that last great swing....and struck out....for there was no joy in Mudville that night.  But, he seemed to enjoy Casey Jones imminent demise at the throttle of his locomotive almost as much. I never stopped to think about the fact that what these tales are focused on is failure.  They seem to make failing almost heroic and just a little glamorous. German culture has long esteemed the concept of noble failure, the 'Heldentot' or 'Hero's Death'. Samurai culture is also embedded with the same idea, that to fail is noble if it is done with great courage and self-sacrifice.

Having just re-read Casey Jones for the first time in many decades, it strikes me how this widely acclaimed engineer seemed so intent on wrecking his train.....all because the 'southern mail' was two hours late. As I read it now, it makes no sense at all.  The point of carrying the mail is to get it to its destination.  Yet, here is this 'man among men' who has been told that the tracks are somewhat unsafe....washed out road-bed....and his fireman (the poor bloke who shovels coal into the boiler) has warned him they would leave the tracks if they don't slow down.  And, the great engineer's response is to peg the throttle and go as fast as the locomotive can go. Wha?!!!

Well, here we are, in the early decades of the 21st century, and we have another mad engineer at the throttle. None of what is going on now makes sense when any reasonable criteria of 'normality' are applied.  It is all tinged with the stomach churning feeling of un-grounded insanity.  This latest debacle of separating children from their parents--a crazy-making, melding of lies, cruelty, and deflecting of any responsibility--is just one more warning....a 'red' block-signal, saying, "Stop the train."  But, just as Casey ran the last four block signals so does the madman in the White House ignore any idea that there are rules and guidelines for decency and that his job requires the frequent and skillful application of both wisdom and compassion.  We don't elect a president to be a constantly lying buffoon, a bully, a gangstah, a self-aggrandizing peacock of a figurehead who wishes he could have adoring subjects....just like his new BFF, one of the most despicable dictators on the planet.  At least, we never did UNTIL NOW.   [ASIDE: Anyone with even a small brain knows that Kim's 'adoring' subjects are so terrified of being hauled off to a concentration camp that paying homage to their 'Dear Leader' is just a survival strategy.]  It is another one of those 'red block signals' that Trump aspires to be like Kim......or Putin.

So, one minute he says he is powerless to stop the implementation of a policy that not only did he create and put in place, but which he did by simply telling his staff what he wanted. For all I know, he did it while he was tweeting on the toilet at 3 a.m..  And, the next minute he blames it all on the Democrats, saying it's the result of their foolish (read Obama's) policies and laws.....which the merest effort at fact-checking proves to be just one more of his lies.  And another minute later, he makes a big show of his magically returned power by rescinding the policy, signing another 'executive order' with his childishly out-sized signature, like a kid would do on the refrigerator with a magic marker.

It is of no bother to him, apparently, that he just demonstrably lied multiple times. And, if that stops being important to us....we will have surrendered to a world where the truth no longer matters and lies become true simply because 'he said so'.  Oh, dear God!!! Where is reality in that kind of a society? Suddenly, everything becomes a vast grey miasma of half-truths and lies.  There is no longer any firm ground in an endless swamp of misery.

We now find out that this big show of 'compassion' on his part, does nothing to solve the terrible situation of 2300 children who have already been taken from their families.  Some of them have already been flown as far away as New York state, even as Kristjen Nielsen, the DHS Secretary, denies that the kids are suffering.  She has developed the same ability to tell bold-faced and disprovable lies as her boss.  And, she was apparently raked over the coals by him when she was seen as being somewhat less than 'all in' on this policy to begin with.  The fool made sure she would act with the indifference and cold-hearted efficiency that he so admires.  That is his version of being 'strong'.

Here's the thing: it is beginning to least to me....that we might indeed have another Casey Jones at the throttle.  I believe he has and continues to paint himself into a corner, an untenable position from which there is no easy exit.  Yes, of course, he has his much vaunted 'base' of those sad souls who will support him all the way to the end.  But, I seriously doubt if many of them understand that so much of what he is doing is aimed at either his becoming another world-class dictator, on the throne of a thoroughly subjugated state.....or a good ol' fashioned TRAIN WRECK. Just before the trains are about to collide head-on, Casey Jones tells his fireman to jump for his life and to tell Casey's wife and kids that he loves them.  When I read that an hour ago, it finally struck me: some people need tragedy, feed on failure, are drawn to it like the proverbial moth to a flame.

I think he's absolutely capable of running this whole thing right off the rails and...should it come to that....blaming everybody else for sabotaging him and his sick goals.  Hmmmm...why does that sound so familiar?  No, not the crazy engineer, oh, of is exactly what Adolf Hitler did as the Third Reich descended into chaos and rubble.  He blamed his generals, called them traitors, and he blamed the German people, said they deserved to die in the flames of the Twilight of the Gods, the Gotterdamerung....despite the fact that millions of them had already died, and/or committed murder and mayhem for him as he pursued his insane destiny.

It boggles the hopeful mind to even consider the possibility of what will happen when Donald J. Trump runs the whole kit-and-kaboodle smack-dab into an oncoming train.  That could take the form of starting a nuclear conflict, pushing for trade wars that lead to economic collapse...or a variety of other scenarios.  I have this impending sense that he may actually be more drawn to that kind of tragic scenario than he is to seeing America actually thrive by being a country and a people who practice the ideals of compassion, love and kindness.  In his feverish mind, such a country would be too weak and vulnerable to survive. Never mind that we have survived for all these generations being the country that people admired and could count on for support....and I don't mean just do-re-mi....when needed.  We are the people who died on Normandy beach, Iwo Jima, Belleau Wood, and way too many more battlefields to list here. And, we did it for all people, not just to serve our own goals and needs.  Don't believe it?  Ask any older resident of Normandy....or so many other places.

We have a chance to stop this train, however.

If every single American who cares about our country, who cares about human lives and even the planet at large, and who sees clearly that Trump is indeed going to run the train off the tracks.....GETS OUT AND VOTES....then we may have a chance at avoiding what is beginning to look and feel like our very own Gotterdamerung.



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