You try to bite lines, but rhymes are mine
Youse a sucker MC in a pair of Calvin Klein
Comin from the wackest, part of town
Tryin to rap up but you can't get down
You don't even know your english, your verb or noun
You're just a sucker MC you sad face clown.
-- Run DMC
When my mother and my daughter both tell me the same story about politics, as rarely as they speak on it, I know that the circle of propaganda is complete. Everybody knows the story, and the memes and the jokes and the conclusion, but not my conclusion. My first reaction was "How do you plagiarize a cliche?" This, especlially in an environment of journalism in which every scandal is called something-gate. Aside from the hypocrisy, one wonders exactly how it comes to be that such platitudes as one should expect from books like "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" should become a critical talking point when it's already self-evident that the electorate is producing chumps as their front-runners.
My second reaction was a bit more thoughtful, but still mostly downcast and critical.
It occurred to me this afternoon, as my mother switched from the RNC to the Christian channel, that America is packed to the gills with ideologues who for the life of them could never agree in principle to the following:
..forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil...
I just understood that in a whole new way, which is that the third and fourth phrases are continuations of the second and first. Which is to say that on the whole, vindictiveness is an evil temptation. You need to forgive those who break your heart. The forgiveness one might receive is dependent on the forgiveness given, and yet we are sorely tempted not to forgive but to blame and to punish. This is the evil from which we must be delivered. It is our forgiveness that allows us to be forgiven.
This is one of the places I can go that political partisans cannot. American politics is vindictive to the point at which there is fault to be found in the smallest details. Today most everyone in America has been instructed on how to be extremely cynical.
I have found a bit of hope and enlightenment in words I haven't written, but would gladly say to anyone with trust that they would be taken in the spirit they are given. If you'd like to throw them back in my face, that's OK. I forgive you.
I still have the overwhelming feeling that we have failed to sustain a class of dialog and a spirit of debate worthy of the intent of democracy, and thus have delivered ourselves into a world of rapacious mendacity. I want to withdraw, but I am compelled to remain in the public eye with as much public spirit as I can muster. I understand completely how the fortunes of the nation depend upon a common understanding of the lived in ways of elevated sensibilities. In that common understanding we must discriminate between the good and the better, and know that we must all strive to be better, while acknowledging all that is good and revering that which is truly great. Greatness. Not merely achievement, nor simply excellence. Not knowledge but wisdom. This must be our aim, or we will destroy it all, the good, the better, the excellent and the best, for to neglect the great is to denigrate and ultimately lose the process by which greatness is created and sustained.
I know we are questioning now whether or not we are even capable of greatness, and in many places we seem to doubt the very existence of greatness. Human imagination will triumph, and it will triumph in words and ways that will echo across the ages, if we would but seek them.