Friday, June 24, 2011

Morphing Norman Solomon with Martin Luther King

Read your recent piece on the 10 commandments flap down south and was thoroughly bemused and entertained. Was that your intention? I thought to myself: now here’s a guy w/ a considerable reader constituency, who from time to time has just, gotta fling some mud around w/ the good ole boys on the “left” (whatever the “left” means anymore), sort of an in house mud flinging Animal House thing. And I’m thinking… this has got to be some form of writer’s gestalt. An angry catharsis of brilliant cynicism packaged in insightful satire, creating true comic farce, meant to elicit laughs to the rafters from the in house audience. And that’s just about it Norman.. Lights out. Act’s over. As we leave the scripted theatre, all of the faith ful left feel goodly righteous in our view of how all the Ashcrofters are still stuck in the bullrushes of Mosaic law, while the soulless Murdochs run froth at the mouth into the media markets of middle America.

Excepting ideological content though, the style of your message titillates the same limbic registers that FAUX news is so brilliant at drawing out. Your form would fall under the heading of writer’s “sit down” comedy. It’s angry. It’s reactive. But, let Cl inton brilliantly remind -the other day in a church, “Those the Gods destroy, they would first make angry”. Ok, ok, I say. Not all that comes forth from silver tongued Solomon needs be full of those expansive wisdoms meant to bridge the chasms separating reasoned men fixed in their philosophical embattlements. Like so much limbic news purveying of late- from the news print l eft and News Corp.TV right- some measure of the written form may as well be so much low end gratuitous out gassing. Out gassing for its own sake. So be it. I felt good. Entertained…. You sold your piece. You reiterated my inner angry voice through the published media. I could rest smugly w/ the notion that at least one writer out there understands me and gives voice to why I rail at all the FAUX news pumped through our screens. Yes, I felt good. Too good for that matter- about how wrong the Murdochs, Bushites and their ilks are in their World view.....

Then, outta the blue I thought of Martin Luther King’s 1964“I Have a Dream” speech… I wondered how his gift for poetry, oratory and vision might have woven these same commandments, together w/ Jeffersonian cadence into a speech 40 years hence- speaking to these troubled times.. How he might have elevated the present world debate to higher ground. Maybe cresting to a place where partisan acrimony had no shadowed quarter for the illumined brilliance of his inspiration. And then I had a dream… sort of a day dream… What if he, transubstantiated to the here and now, had morphed into a Solomon –King test cross and was given the task of editing your piece for an address at the Lincoln Memorial. What, given the same material, might he have said? You see, Martin Luther King not only had dreams but inspired them. And so it went:….

1) “We live in times that make of us unwitting smelters of these golden calves, these false idols, that steal fast away our better angels. It is at task for each of us to once again reach our own headwaters where we might slake this false thirst of material wanting by cooling these smelting furnaces by the water’s source. And from these virgin springs renew our founding promise. We bend before these false gods, though we do not recognize them in our midst; for these money changers have slowly become us our daily occupations. And so I say to you: cleanse your vision w/ these waters that you may see these false idols amongst us. For only in recognition can self deliverance come.

2) Honor thy father and mother, and theirs and theirs. Honor our foremothers and forefathers who kindled and cradled this great dream in infancy. For this, our living history always becomes something better than what went before. That from our stumblings, for they are many, may we learn that our failings and their redress commits our striving to attain those heights our fathers and theirs and theirs dreamt for us beyond the many graves on the prairie and the village greens. And when we do this we honor our own folk and our neighbors near and far, we forgive them their trespasses, for they are ours as well. For what has become this spirit American, once wondered prodigal in the old world for the many iniquities of religion, race and economic repression that so blighted that old world and whose vestigial seeds we still work to cull in this, the new.

3) Thou shalt not kill. For no greater purpose can ever be met by the extinguishment of human life either by one man to another or the higher scales of killing by those who would do our bidding in the name of nation, creed, and country. That this nation never pre-empt the presumed intentions of other peoples by initiating policies of war. For pre-emptive war only collectivizes a policy whose lethal manifests only leads to the taking of life. How, in violation of this most sacred commandment, can our leaders ask a just God’s blessings for this nation? But still from higher ground the rarefied air affords us clarity to understand our leaders are but fallible in their humanity, and, in good faith, may seek these measures in the name of defending our cherished way of life. We must not be contemptuous of their intentions. They do not see that drawing on these old precedents, these blood anointed tests, can only lead to less security; can only lead to more danger for our childre n and theirs.. We must forgive them, they know not what they do. This is the past from which we have come. We are now at a divergent branch of history.. - and we must move to take the road not yet taken, but wanting much for wear- a new territory leading to a peaceful promised land……

And so Norman it went like that, this day dream. And so I must take you back to your oft used Camus quote on “words, not munitions as stronger than weapons”, and hold you to it; and then ask that you put this elevated axiom to everything you write- as acid test. These times are far more desperate than we yet can see. And so they require an incumbency of all who sense the early portents. An incumbency that must ne eds seek to speak w/ passionate reason, inspiring the so needed change. Your always admiring gadfly, (now living in Manassas, Va) Dave Warren, X Nantucket carpenter


Blogger WarrenProject said...

wonderful writing Dave.

5:01 PM  

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