I have a dream: I’m in a tunnel, and spot FDR, Yeats, and Conrad in the dark, commiserating.
As often these doomsdays, I’m martini-numbed; and, thus emboldened, I wobble over to humor the men out of their pain. (I’m feeling no pain—or less than usual, anyway.) I hear: FDR: “November 8, 2016 — a date which will live in infamy!”
Yeats: “Things fall apart — the center cannot hold! Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world!”
Conrad: “The horror! The Horror!”
The men are resolutely, miserably dry-eyed — entombed by unshed tears, exactly as I have been since that infamous date. I ache for them to fully let go: to inspire with not only impassioned words, but with tears, and maybe even an embrace, enfolding all of us.
Instead, they shut their eyes against the tears.
Suddenly, Paul Revere gallops in on horseback, bearing Patrick Henry, who exhorts: “Now is the time for all good men to—”
With the advantage of both evolution and insobriety, I interrupt, “And all good women! And, after Parkland, alas — but also, maybe, at last — all good young people!”
They nod. But, rather than determining to come to the aid of their country, and the world, each man frowns resignedly, says, “No — I can’t,” and trudges off alone.
Disconsolate, in an illuminated area I notice Florence Nightingale, nurturing wounded soldiers and many others and promising free health care forever. And Sojourner Truth, enrolling multitudes of black and immigrant voters. Every eye shines with hope and determination.
I approach and ask, my voice nearly breaking: “I’ve let you be in my dream; if I can — please—be in yours…?”
I wait tremulously. Then the two women smile, open their arms wide, pull me into an embrace, and together say: “Yes — you can.”
And, finally, the tears come.
Coup by attrition
This past weekend, Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, fired Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe barely 72 hours before he would have been eligible for his retirement, apparently depriving him of the pension he earned over the course of a dedicated 21-year career.
The reason given for the firing was that the inspector general found McCabe had “not been forthcoming…” and Sessions felt that was a perfectly good reason to terminate the veteran FBI agent. That’s pretty rich coming from Mr. Sessions, who himself has been less than forthcoming when questioned by the Senate during his confirmation hearing and the House Judiciary Committee afterward.
In an administration filled to capacity with people who are known publicly (and sometimes by their own words) to be liars, prevaricators and cheats of every stripe, it seems the height of disingenuousness to terminate McCabe as Sessions did.
But this is all a piece of Trump’s coup by attrition. Since he has taken office, the candidate who declared, “I alone can fix it,” has fired staff and heads of departments, left countless positions unfilled, named shockingly unqualified candidates for the posts he has filled, thinned the ranks of aides and credible advisors within the White House, and neutered the vast majority of Republicans in congress, rendering them unwilling to fulfill their sworn oaths to uphold the laws and constitution of this land. All this while Trump seems determined to surround himself with media personalities whose egos are superseded only by their shameless sycophancy.
It is most unsettling, to say the least.
Deidre J. Byrne
Tague for Assembly
The town of Saugerties is struggling to survive the New York State economic down turn. The people of Saugerties have been very loyal to long time businesses and have welcomed many new ventures. It is important that our town makes the most of every opportunity to strengthen our local economy. We have an opportunity to do that this April 24, 2018. That’s the date of the special election for New York State assembly District 102. Saugerties has some of the highest population of people and business in the whole assembly district. It is important to elect a person who understands the challenges of running a business in Upstate New York. Chris Tague is an “Upstate businessman” and he wants to be our Assemblyman. He has owned his own dairy farm and he has run a multimillion dollar corporation. He knows the value of a dollar and he knows how to help others be successful too. As Town Supervisor of the Town of Schoharie, Chris has brought new business to the town. Chris Tague knows both business and government. We need a representative like Chris Tague who has the experience to do the job from day one. For a strong Saugerties, we need a strong leader. Chris Tague is that leader.
Gaetana Ciarlante, Vice Chairman
Saugerties Conservative Committee
March For Our Lives
Thank you to those of our local schools that allowed students to protest peacefully on March 14 for changes in our nation’s gun laws. They recognized that student safety can not be guaranteed on campus as long as access to deadly weaponry is left unchecked by society at large. It’s for this reason that the Stop School Violence Bill, which the House voted up on the same day (hoping no doubt to be seen as doing something) has to be acknowledged as but a baby step that, of itself, cannot prevent the daily toll of gun violence. For that, we need serious reforms in our gun laws, which will unfortunately not occur until after we show at the polls this November and replace the gun lobby’s stooges with politicians who prioritize humanity.
In the meantime, let’s continue to applaud the energy of those Parkland, FL students who survived the MSD Valentine’s Day Massacre and decided, Enough! Not only did that energy inspire the National Student Walk Out, not only has it forced the legislature in Florida, long considered ground zero for the gun lobby, to enact meaningful changes in that State’s gun laws, but it has also created the March For Our Lives. This coming Saturday, March 24, parents and other concerned members of society can join students in protesting this nation’s appalling litany of gun violence — especially where innocent youth are concerned — and demand that our national politicians act upon our concerns. There are marches and protests planned in Albany and Poughkeepsie as well as NYC, Washington D.C. and around 800 other locations across the country. Please visit MarchForOurLives.com to find an event near you — and consider following the example of Lyft, which has offered free rides to the protests. A powerful show of peaceful force this Saturday will hopefully further nudge this nation towards sanity. Our children’s lives genuinely depend upon it
A spiritual solution
A gun did not kill 17 people in Parkland, Fla. A troubled young person and a culture and a social system was and is responsible for this and the many tragedies which we witness each day. We witness the manipulation and misdirection of our youth, whose innate desire to challenge evil is used to further political and social objectives, rather than addressing the root cause of our malaise. We present fame and fortune as the goals of being a successful person, ignoring and denying the development of our spiritual nature as the true definition of a human person and experience. We have uprooted the valuing of noble achievement, predicated on the Law of Love, in which we witness the dignity and worth of each and every person and accept our responsibility for loving and helping our neighbor. We allow ourselves to be conditioned to ignore the teaching of random acts of kindness and the value of a kind word or smile offered to a stranger as the center of our activity as a human being. Instead of helping our youth and ourselves to pause and appreciate that so many tragedies can be avoided, and a society and self raised to great achievement, we allow our attention to be conditioned to false narratives and definitions of self and events. We need to return our educational systems and parenting to focusing on the spiritual as well as the material nature of the art of being human and engage each other in conversations and loving experiences. Perhaps then we can help and save alienated individuals from the evil acts to which they turn.
Paul Jankiewicz, Ph.D.