DRONES (19 December 2021)
I like to think I’m as well-versed about America as anyone.
I’ve got Ginsberg’s poem down pat, chapter and verse.
and am at least half as sentimental about the Wobblies
as he was. I’ve driven across the country coast to coast
six times, seen everything worth seeing, happy even that we
stole most of the West from Mexico. When I was a kid Dad
took me on a train trip across the USA, stopping to stay
with his old Seabee buddies. I loved SF and vowed to return
to live and did and swimming in motel pools in Arizona
at night was the closest thing to Paradise I could imagine.
I even got to meet Hoss Cartwright on the set at Paramount.
Downsides were a nosebleed Dad suffered at Memorial
Coliseum in LA just after Joe Pignatano homered (an event
in its own right) and bugs as big as rats in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Dad also showed me around DC after drinking lemonade with our
Mormon cousins in Silver Spring, all the monuments and memorials.
We even took a daytrip to Mount Vernon in search of Washington’s
wooden teeth. I became so enamored of Thomas Jefferson that
I wanted to take Jefferson as my missing middle name. (This was
well before his ties to Sally Hemings and slave-owning got him
cancelled.) Growing up, I loved JFK even if he was Irish
(the one prejudice I happened to imbibe), dedicated my (failed)
CO application to MLK, and even drove through Harlem
on the way back from a Knicks game the day Malcolm X
was shot. I mean I was there! Got maced in DC in May ’71,
protested Attica in Albany for God’s sake! I mean, what could
be more American than that? But after Nixon and napalm,
Reagan and the Contras and that nasty sonofabitch Oliver North,
after the world-destroying invasion of Iraq and soul-destroying
betrayal of Afghans, after Trump after Trump after Trump
after Trump (repeat four times for four years) and all the vicious
proud boys and Meth-heads and couch potatoes dressed like slobs with
red MAGA caps on January 6 and delusionals who voted will vote think
their votes for Trump were stolen by Democrats, the forensic analyses
of 20 years of drone attacks in today’s NY Times and the literal
annihilation of THOUSANDS of innocent lives, even during
Obama’s Nobel watch, is altogether too hard to take.