This Opinion is special to the Mirror by Chas
Lately, I’ve been watching the weather. I have been looking up towards the sky. I’ve caught animated weathermen hawking their brand on my big flat screen. I have been walking about, outside, feeling winter enclose me. All these things have become one large, automatic charge. These changes are real, tangible and felt. I have been watching the weather.
America is at a cross road. We as a people, are at that cross road as well. We have yet to define who we are. The closest we have come, was during the years nineteen forty-one to nineteen forty-five. Collectively, we rolled up our sleeves and set out to a determined and ultimately successful purge of fascism, racism and hate. Purged from two other nations, that is. Not yet from America. That fight was left for other generations. America is at a cross road.
During the sixties, the cracks began appearing. Sons, declared fit for combat, were sent, not as volunteers but as draftees, half-way around the world to fight a civil war in which we had no cause, no justification, no dog in the fight. Only that specter of Communism was used to lure these young men to their deaths. A specter that was created out of failure and lack of understanding between nations and economic philosophies. And from this war, a gap between those that had fought in a seemingly gallant and well-intentioned war and those who were now sent to die in what seemed a senseless and wasteful war appeared. It widened, until those who held the power and made the laws unleashed their dogs with guns and killed young people in the streets and on the campuses. During the sixties, the cracks began appearing.
Behind the scenes, unscrupulous deeds were being done. Plans were laid to disrupt other countries in their personal progresses. Popularly elected officials were overthrown and replaced by ruthless and inflexible rulers. Strength and power ruled the day. Certain portions of the populace disappeared. Others were rounded up, tortured and made to confess to crimes that they had had no part of. Then, they too, disappeared. Behind the scenes, unscrupulous deeds were being done.
Then came the promise in the form of acting. Many great communications came from on high. New laws and a new prosperity would rule over the people. The hospitals for the mentally ill and those challenged by life’s everyday machinations, were emptied. These same people had nowhere to go, but to the streets. Suddenly, the money for programs to educate young children dried up. Programs for veterans of that faraway war diminished. They, too, were abandoned to the streets. A new drug appeared to offer hope and clarity to the poor and disenfranchised. It was the same drug that some of the rich had used previously for creative and physical stamina. But, it was expensive as presented, so the poor revised it. They revised it to make it cheaper and more accessible to their own. This drug became rampant and found its way into the bodies of young mothers and into the communities of the very, very poor. Many of the former hospital patients used it as a way of coping. It was of no benefit to anyone and only brought misery and ultimately death to many of its users. It was a false promise of hope. It was only a promise in the form of acting out a big lie.
I have been watching the weather. Today, the weather is cold and rainy. I have been watching the sky. Endless sets of clouds among a background of grey looks down on me. The air is too full to rain just now. But, it will rain soon. I know it will. I can tell by the patterns of things. Plus, lately, I’ve been watching the weather.