"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible that you haven't grasped the situation." (Jean Kerr)
My name is Perhansa. I admit that I am addicted to seeing both sides of an issue. I am powerless to change. As a result, my life has become unmanageable. I thought about joining a twelve-step program for people who won't take a hard line stance, but I couldn't get past Step One, since the remaining eleven steps require me to confess belief in a higher power. So I realized I'd have to hunker down and resolve my addiction on my own'"many thanks to those of you who so caringly offered helpful suggestions. I think I'm on the road to recovery. Let me explain.
I tried to jumpstart my indignation in a variety of ways. First, I tried reverting back to my existentialist days, focusing on the gawd-awfulness of existence. I hoped for an emotional slingshot into irrepressible partisan anger. For days I recited the following over and over in my head:
"Life is just one damned thing after another. Born naked, cold and hungry'"then it gets worse. Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?"
It felt good'"really good'"for a while. Then I found myself thinking: This is too obvious; I can't get all wrought-up-bent-outta-shape-PO'd by this. I want a revelation, hidden-knowledge, deep-meaning and insight into the heart and soul of righteous indignation'"not this trivial drivel. I want CERTAINTY that I'm right! Well, it didn't come.
Next I tried resuming meditation. I dug out my old meditation cushions and picked a koan to sit with:
"Geese passing overhead, a grey, honking V; what the fudge are we here for?"
I sat for hours. My back hurt. My knees ached. I kept hearing the neighbor's damn four-wheeler going up and down the road. Enlightenment stayed away. My only insight was that this was pretty ridiculous. Satori-schamori! Enlightenment leads to calmness and acceptance. That's not what I want. I don't want peace, I want a big, honkin' SWORD!
So, I sat down to read The Nation. Maybe Katha Pollit could light a fire under my non-condemning arse! Maybe if I repeatedly read about the DOJ shenanigans or Karl Rove's rendition of rap with David Gregory (while Rome burned) I could become incensed enough to call the bungholes what they really are'"fascist pigs! It did help, some. I also read in the Strib that a federal district judge ruled that the Bush administration illegally rewrote the rules for managing the nations' forests and grasslands (duh) and will be forced to return to doing environmental impact assessments (double duh).
Not yet furious, I tried to rise up from the couch but something happened that's hard to explain. The aroma of sulfur seemed to be in the air. There was a sudden iciness in the room. A bone in my neck snapped and something seemed to drop in the very back of my mind. The room went silent and there seemed a pale, reddish light that colored everything. I sat back down.
In my mind's eye, I saw icebergs slowly melting. I saw a great dustbowl settling over the Midwest. I heard the sounds of children drowning in the violent, mud-brown waves of a terrible tsunami, and all the while, I heard W's whiny, nasal little voice in the background, saying, "We can't afford to deal with global warming, besides China and India aren't, so why should we, nana nana boo boo."
I saw rivers turn to sewers with fish floating belly up beside tree stumps, bloated cows, automobiles, red wagons, and oil slicks that washed along in a raging flood. I heard Al Gore saying, "We tried to tell them, DiCaprio and I." I heard a choir of heavenly voices singing, "Hallelujah, the Earth Mother is purging herself of the human weed. Long live the cockroaches and bacteria!"
I heard wailing and gnashing of teeth. I saw women carrying the bloodied remains of children in their arms. I saw a young girl, about seven, smile toothlessly at me and in the next instant she blew herself up. I saw people with the sides of their heads blown away and others carrying their own limbs.
And again, I heard W saying something about what he EXPECTED Congress to do with the PEOPLES' money. I saw students and professors being tortured on brown patchy lawns of universities.
I saw a huge fire burning and demon-like figures throwing copies of Darwin's Origin of the Species into the flames along with Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I saw women walking around in chastity belts while men in long beards cursed them, saying: "Evil is the woman. She leads us into damnation. She leads us to think of nothing but more meat, more sex, more grog!"
Then, something inside me broke loose. I felt warm, salty fluid flowing down my cheeks. I heard a loud, piercing wail rising from within my chest, escaping out of my silent, cavernous mouth. I was standing on a bridge in Norway, looking like a purple and orange ghost, my silent scream echoing in the sky.
Then I heard myself say repeatedly: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." I saw myself walking into the White House. I saw, all together in the same room, W. and Dick and Karl, Alberto and Condi. They were gathered around a piano, singing "God Bless America," except the words were different:
"We screwed America, land that you love; took her money, and her honey, we have trashed her good name in the world'Mined the mountains, paved the prairies, turned the oceans black from coal, God left America to Hal-i-bur-ton!"
I slowly walked into the room. W displayed pallid horror in his squinty little eyes. Condi gasped. Alberto said, "I so do not want to remember this." I looked down. I was absolutely buck naked! On each of my loins was a tattoo. One said, "TRUTH" and the other said, "JUSTICE." I stood at attention, saluted and said, "Perhansa reporting for duty!"
When I returned to myself, I raced upstairs to my computer to capture what I recalled of this "vision." It was so freeing to write this. I think I'm getting better. I think I won't need the eleven steps after all.