So I have a friend. Let’s call him “Bryan.” “Bryan O’Hara.” Yes. That’s his name.
And Bryan O’Hara (my friend), has been doing what he calls “taking a good hard look at his home country lately.”
Now, rest assured, I, like you, wanted to run for the hills as soon as his toadhole squeaked out that opener, knowing a rant forthcoming, but stayed my fright and gave him listen. Perhaps you might as well.
He laid it all out for me in a conversation by the fire. A cat in his lap, a cat in mine.
I’ll try to relate it as best I can:
In short, my friend lamented to me what could be characterized as a binary postulation, if I may.
The “1” in that binary was that Bryan really really loves his country. He’s always loved it. *Made* love to it, if you will (and you will.)
Heck, Bryan learned all the patriotic hymns, saluted the flag, believed real hard in the Constitution and all the trimmings, and was even such a Yankle Doobie Danny that he once came an Abraham-Lincoln-beard-hair’s breadth away from joining the United States Army™ in 1991, before his obstreperous optimism and completely unjustified ego launched him, cannonlike and irretrievably, down the path of Failed Filmmaker, and into the middling, sorry, childless, Godless life he leads now.
The “0” in my dear friend’s binary?
He says that as he looks around his country now, from his easy chair, and his flask, and his fleeting memories of a life-gone-wrong, he sees some heapum disturbing things.
He sees the country he loves excusing pedophilia.
He sees the country he loves making peace with treason.
He sees the daily gunslaughter of our citizens, the murder of our beautiful black and brown and gay brothers and sisters, the rape of our clean air and common wilderness, and the ceaseless undermining of human decency and human nature, and the impending increased difficulty to organize or communicate, as our internet folds into the oligarchy and becomes just another pay cable tv channel.
He sees Nazis. He sees jackboots. He sees a world on fire, and a red-hat movement being led by a man passing out more torches, and a vast, somnambulating, quieter movement that just nods in ignorance and praises the fact that “at least the other party isn’t in power.”
At this point in my friend’s lament, I had to pause. Relighting my pipe, I leaned forward and gave him a staid look from my only left eye only, and inquired:
“Surely, friend, your country can’t be as bad as that. Surely you’re that failed filmmaker and you’re lashing out with stories you never got to tell, yea and verily? Tell me your words are hyperbole, and do so with haste.”
He relit his own pipe, which was the same as my own, and leaned forward with his own one left eye, and replied, in a chilling baritone:
“Nay. The fall of the Republic is nigh.”
After allowing me to stew in a long moment of reflection and existential horror, he continued. I shan’t prattle further, but paraphrase:
My friend Bryan O’Hara is no Ken Burns, and is no Harry Seldon, but he’s a devoted student of history and a keen observer of human behavior (and a pompous braggart and pseudointellectual, if I might add to that dossier).
“It’s one thing to actively work against the laws and ideals and mores that compose the idea of a country,” he says, “But it’s quite another to affront, by repeated, magnified lies, a human being’s very cognition.”
That affront, says my friend – the affront that we are not seeing what we’re actually seeing – that facts are fiction, and fictions, fact – is the lie that will undo my friend’s beloved country, and mine.
Not the gun deaths of our children, not the irreversible ruin of our wild places, not the North Korean nuclear warhead exploding a mile above the Port of Los Angeles just because our Grand King has a small, orange penis.
No, we’re not getting out of this one, dear readers. This is different.
As the great Italian poet Jimmino Morissoni once wrote, “They’ve got the guns, but we’ve got the numbers.”
But the problem is, the numbers? They’re are all a’slumbers.
So, in short (or as the case may be, in long), my friend sees a choice before him, and I type this Magna Carta to implore you to assist me with your words of advice, so that I may, in turn, assist him in his selection.
Should my friend grab a machete, rise up from his easy chair and his flask, and join with his brothers and sisters in the streets, and take scalps in the new American Revolution until the fascists are dead and their seed is burnt and their monuments and their Fascist legacy is purged forever from our fragile little globe?
Or should my friend reject rank tribalism, aspire to the heights of humanism, and find a nice flat in Vancouver? And if so, what are some good neighborhoods?