OK, so I’ve been trying to buy a house, settle into Pittsburgh and finish a novel I’m 3 months behind upon. This means my blogging time has been a bit, well, heavily curtailed.
Then, I was poking around and found a release for a game I’ve been looking forward to.
I watched it once. Then, filled with some uncontrollable storm, I wrote. Not what I was supposed to be working on, not even anything that is going to go anywhere. Might as well post it here.
They say it was a time of flags and glory. They say a lot of things. They never tell you how there were nights where any one of us would have killed for a can of god damned beans. The memories of old men are too good to remember anything but the truth, but when they look down into the glittering eyes of grandchildren too young to remember the sound of artillery it is simply easier to stand tall before a flag than to remember leaning into a bayonet until it pierced the hollow of a throat.
Maybe it is the need to wash the hands in the streams of time, sending the blood away even as clots hide in the fine hairs and under the nails. Everyone knows, at least almost everyone knows. We let the Beast in. We fed him tenderly. We gave credence to his words. We had long lost sight of nature red in tooth and claw. We had replaced help with dependence and reduced mathematics to a popularity contest. Words were twisted in their meaning. America had flown so high that we had lost contact with the very ground underfoot. And the sun was oh, so warm. We forgot that some words, no matter how professionally delivered, should not be heeded. That lies were still lies, no matter how dreamy and how spun from golden sunshine. I can hardly look my own children in the eyes and admit we did it to them, and they very well know. So why should it be any different for anyone else?
We thought the lies built palaces, the lies bought prosperity, but all they did was silence the opposition while loans flowed like a tsunami in order to bring about a fool’s golden age. Pyrite crowns cracked and tarnished as everyone was told that need had replaced work. If you needed, you should not have to work for it, it should be given. If it was not given, it should be taken. That was the dangerous lie: That it could be taken.
You can take any man’s money. What you cannot take is his wealth. Take cash from a rich man and he will be poor. Give it to a poor man, and he will soon be poor again, for he has nothing of real value. The wealthy man builds himself. He is the architect of his own destiny. No matter his level of treasure, the wealthy man will work, innovate, and adapt to build wealth for himself and anyone who knows enough to follow him into the world. That trait cannot be taken, stolen, or redistributed. It can only be crushed. And when Taxing wasn’t enough, and when stealing wasn’t enough, all they had left was to crush the wealthy.
That’s when the guns were loaded. That’s when the knives were sharpened.
At the time I hated them, for making me fight, for making it necessary. Now I think they were just as afraid as I was. But they had been told that when a man climbs a stair, he must, had to, push others back behind him to progress. Failure was a plot by unseen masters that sought to restrict access to the lofty heights of success. So attractive were the lies, so beautiful was this fairy tale that we could not convince them, even unto death, that the staircase was built of failures. Every step was a painful sacrifice. They would never believe that riches can be passed to any, but wealth can only come to the worthy. Least of all, that worthiness could be attained by any who tried, and failed, and tried again.
We, who remembered the old days, who were weaned on the legends of the America That Was before the books were poisoned and leveled and fairnessed into casting us as a bloody handed giant of the world, we remembered being the shining city. At least we thought we did. Everyone knew that the tree of freedom must be watered with the blood of tyrants, but forgot also patriots. Maybe that war was like this one, whitewashed for the sanity of the men damned to its confines until their memories finally fled their broken minds. If we were the greatest evil, then why were we the dream of the world? Why were we once free, and wealthy? Why did evil increase with the number of cameras, the number of prisons, of rules and laws, regulations, billyclubs and bureaucrats if it was caused by freedom?
Begging could be met, demands could be matched, taxes could be paid, but when they beat down our doors looking for what they were owed by right of breath, that was when we fought. And we were punished for fighting.
And from that point, war was not an option, it was a religion. Freedom was our goddess. We who fought it were her priests. We took up weapons -suddenly so clear why they had fought to restrict them- we had nurtured for over two hundred years . We died by the millions. They died in numbers so great we walled up cities as tombs for them, with signs that they never be opened lest the beast be free again to ravage the land. All so a man might earn, might share, but not fear the theft by one or one million. For, in the end, all that is earned is paid for with life, with time. Property law is the basis of all law, for the first property one has is one’s self, one’s life, and one barters time for money. Thus, anything taken is a loss of life. To give one’s life in service, or charity, is noble.
To have it stolen, even bit by bit, is a murder by inches.
But now my children have the America That Was, again. And their children.
And now we must sacrifice more, for we must write it all down. We must admit every lie, every failure, every cursed good intention that lead us to the place where lead rains from the sky and the clouds burn, for if they do not remember - and remember with the clarity we were denied – then it will happen again.
It will all happen again.
General, Ohio Fifth Militia (ret.)
Maybe it is the upcoming election, maybe fears of the coming economic trauma. Maybe the mention of gun control at the last debate. Maybe threats by some to riot if the election goes against them. Maybe all of that. But, for the curious, you are filled with the hopes and dreams, the fears and loves of people who never lived. They dance around in your brain until you tell their story.
That is what being a writer is like.
This is the original song, which I don’t like as much as the blues-ey one.
My Google Fu is getting stronger, I found it!