for Adam Bresson
Because we are neither here nor there
Because our message depends on traveling
Because small towns survive on functional places:
We set out to show what happens with little or no involvement
Mankind learns from history or is condemned to repeat it. We evolve, we gradually move left. Yet our country does not. A small faction says this is not America and that this America moves unilaterally, independent of you or anyone else. In the new America enough of us have confused fear for values to overwhelm the populace. All dissent is quieted, and the rest is silence. What is happening here?
What happens to our schools, these building blocks of America that have been sadly under-funded? They sit idle and without the resources to produce the minds of tomorrow so we in turn do not prepare for tomorrow—only let America champion yesterday’s ideas. What of schools means testing children the same so that those with special needs are stripped of funding because they compete with a handicap, only to become the ones truly left behind?
I see the consolidation of America. There is no sole proprietorship, only ruthless enterprise controlled by an aging board; old money with a vested interest in everything we do. The poor man with dreams of opening a hardware store in his hometown sees that dream die and he, in turn, begins to die inside as his dreams are usurped by the nameless conglomerate—the ghost—and everywhere appears the same logo.
There is no escaping nature. No man or woman can avoid treading water and all must toil in its fields. I forecast a time when our viral instincts backfire…because what good is depleting our host when there is nothing else to go to? What moves us more than earth and water? What of the river’s sheer magnitude? River that runs to watershed, that feeds our food, that empties into the ocean. Industry has deemed our backyards fair game no threat or consequence prevents it from taking out our insides or killing off the salmon.
Our nation was founded upon freedom of expression. What did our heroes fight for: so we could throw it all away? What of this future where religion is tyrannically tied to state, and vice versa, and to deny one is to deny God.
To vote for another candidate is to deny God
I say God cannot be denied for he is in all of us, that he made the expression of denial as he made all things
I say the world is my church and I spit in the face of this manipulation
What of these young men and women in our towns and cities who give off a certain vitality
Gone as the draft has been reinstated
Flown to a country thousands of miles away
Where we don’t know who we’re fighting or why—only that death doesn’t have to be this way
Death in the stifling heat of desert, far from loved ones because a tour was extended
Death because lack of adequate protection means rummaging through the scrap yard looking for a shield
Death for being on the wrong side of a religious fervor
(Another house bombed in the middle of the night)
Death the ultimate waste
There is another way to settle this and it does not involve
spreading the warm blanket of Democracy until we choke on its fabric and are blinded by
When the shaking of hands is preferable to the meeting of a bullet
Why is this war being fought under a guise of compassion?
There are so many “whys” I cannot help but beg the question.
Why can this country not live within its means so much so that
programs such as social security, so that my grandchildren’s
grandchildren can look forward to no benefits—not even one small grant—as
the bill at present is rapidly approaching eight trillion dollars. Why
does health insurance only cover certain cases so that fifty million
Americans must worry about getting sick and hope to
miraculously recover or go bankrupt?
This is cause for alarm
I am alarmed by the Patriot who can know my innermost secrets
My conversations with loved ones
And the numbers to my bank accounts
Who has fixed a giant Cyclops eye in every corner and
Watches me scribble in this notebook
Who has bugged all my haunts and knows that I talk to myself in the car
Why do some choose parties, religious themes, social constraints, and stick to them with the ferocity of a vice. With lockjaws they bite down and won’t let go no matter what happens. They will be there until their time runs out while the world shakes and pleads and stamps its feet to let go.
Why do we not take action?
I am through talking about this
I am tired of talking and am now into doing
Adam Bresson, Nancy Olson, Eric Steineger, and Reggie Ige are through with talking
We sit on the dusty roadside of a highway in New Mexico next to a highly decorated van waving our signs and shouting, “John Kerry for President!” “Unidos Con Kerry!” “Sheet Metal Workers for Kerry!” We hurl our endorsements into an unrelenting sun, a summer sun that beats down futilely on our efforts. We have seen America during our campaign: small towns with wells, one main street, and a soda parlor; where cows outnumber people; where the neighbors know the neighbors and local news travels fast.
We support John Kerry, a man who offers a better solution, who cares about the whole and not just a privileged few, who defended this country as a young man and who does so now, a man determined to leave America better off than he found it.
My friends and I are armed with facts and we encourage debate, but no one stops for us. We hope that it is not too late: that one sign glanced in the rearview mirror of a speeding car can make a difference, can be realized by anyone who allows himself to be open to it; that people look past the refrain and at tradition with discriminating eyes. What was preached at the dinner table twenty years ago may not be relevant right now.
I love my time here and will never be done with this mission.
America we hasten your quick return
We love our country and know
That it can be powerful without calling attention to its power
We are fighting for our future in the year of the insane
Four friends standing in the American desert