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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mysterious workings of the mind ...

I'm utterly fascinated by what happens when the mind is free and unencumbered by the need to be objective or even fair. That last post reached far back into the subconscious to dredge up thoughts long-thought dead or at least consigned to the memory box marked "insignificant."

Not needing as much sleep as when I was younger, I've gotten into the habit of setting my little bedside radio to Air America and dropping off at some point without turning it off. I'm sure that my mind continues to pick up words and phrases long after real consciousness has settled on "dim." It was probably for this reason that I wasn't aware until last night that yesterday was the anniversary of the Ohio National Guard's attack on the student demonstrators at Kent State that resulted in death for several. I must surely have heard some reference to that during the night before. This would surely account for the mindset when I wrote the last entry.

The reason being that -- on the summer following that awful event in Ohio -- I (and co-incidentally, my son, Bob) spent a week at mountain campgrounds in Colorado Springs with the Intercontinental Conference of several hundred Liberal Religious Youth; a group largely sprinkled with members of the SDS. A number of those college students had been involved in the demonstrations at Kent State. Bob and I met without being aware that I'd been invited as one of five workshop leaders from the artist community. He'd arrived from the Monterey Peninsula where he'd been visiting with our mutual friend, poet, Ric Masten and his family. Ric had also been invited to lead a workshop. It was a week I'll never forget. I felt privileged then. I feel privileged still to have been included in the history being made by the youth of the time. Though I must admit to some feeling of awkwardness around my having spilled over from my own generation into that of my teenaged son. I can recall the embarrassment that I felt when we discovered one another in the crowd on that first evening. We've never really discussed it. We shared the same convictions about the anti-war movement, and had certainly collided at other times while acting upon them. Perhaps this was no different, but I wonder now in looking back.

The meeting was held at Colorado Springs because it was the site of a major speech by President Richard Nixon, and the students were planning disruptive demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience at the Air Force Academy where that speech would be delivered. We were in the thick of the Vietnam War, and protests were mounting. These student activists were battle weary from having also been in the bloody street struggles against the Chicago police -- struggles that resulted in the arrest of the Chicago 8 and the wildly theatrical trials that followed. This was the Chicago National Democratic Convention during the summer before the spring of the Kent State's tragedy.

Those stirring 'roun the campfire conversations were heavily sprinkled with references to the Illuminati, the Skull & Bones Society, the annual arcane Bohemian Grove celebrations, the Tri-lateral Commission, etc., and had not yet reached the time when the Evangelical Southern Baptist takeover of the Republican party or the domestic terrorism from the Far Right -- before the smoldering hate-inspired militia movement had come into being. This was long before Iran-Contra, the Salvadoran-Guatamalan or Nicaraguan takeovers, the assassination of Allende in Chile, or the invasion of Panama to seize Manuel Noriega, and Watergate. This was long before Timothy McVey and the bombing of the federal building in Tulsa. It was before disaffected militarily-trained young white Nazis had surfaced in numbers large enough to cause concern. And this was long before September 11th, and the changing face of terrorism to that of the middle easterner.

Yesterday's post was heavily laced with Vietnam era paranoia, admittedly. But it may be speaking to a time when the seeds were being planted for all that has followed. Perhaps it was this that my active mind was trying to weave together into some kind of logical pattern ... I don't know. I'm aware of the continuum, the clear progression from then to now.

What is clear is that nothing is wasted. Experiences long dormant continue to claim their portion of the cortex and can wreak havoc if not recognized for what they are. Sometimes they're cautionary and, at some subconscious level, move us back from the edges where danger lurks. Sometimes they distort meanings and create disembodied fear that can't be identified or related to anything or anyone with reasonable accuracy, but account for edginess and sadness that defies understanding. Strange ... .

This morning I heard a long discussion on Democracy Now about the takeover of the Republican party by the Christian Evangelical Movement. The voices were those of two members of the protestant clergy; religious conservatives who share the concerns of the rest of us about the power being wielded by the forces now controlling the legislative process. I began to realize how intertwined were my thoughts yesterday with those being expressed this morning. There is a relationship that I haven't quite figured out yet, but I will. It's all of a piece.

The return to power of the cast of characters who brought us the Central and South American undeclared wars and the Iran-Contra scandals is frightening. The coming together of the names that figured so heavily in times past with the awful events of the present is sobering. To see Watergate figures now popping up as pundits (Liddy, North, etc) is more than disconcerting; it's ludicrous! To have Wolfowitz, Negreponte, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, now buffered by the likes of Zel Miller, Frist and DeLay et al has got to be upsetting to those of us who've lived through the previous crimes and realize that there isn't the time for us to do it all over again. To watch the effects of their work upon a nation's electorate who has either forgotten or has never known this history that we're now re-living is the most troubling of all.

The new coalitions formed for the purpose of deconstructing this government's processes and procedures -- including the Constitution and Bill of Rights -- threatens our continuing existence as a nation. They have the power to destroy the underpinnings of democracy, itself, robbing the world of one of the most successful models for governance in modern history. We now sit at the pinnacle of that power -- and its misuse is catastrophic under present leadership.

I'll probably spend lots of drive time trying to figure out the code; the mind-messages that may make sense of what's spewing from my fingertips ... matching some of what is stored in muscle memory to those wisps of thoughts that defy logic and solutions -- but that stubbornly refuse to die.

...and though I'm tempted to delete yesterday's writings, I choose rather to let it stand and try to understand it against the background of what the next few weeks will bring. I'm beginning to look for the prophetic in the mundane ... an intriguing pastime that waxes and wanes as my personal life becomes more or less complex. This involuntary re-playing of old tapes that have been archived somewhere in memory will continue to spillover into the now, I suspect. The fight to not get blindsided by them may become more and more critical as the years pile on and fears of approaching dementia begin to stir. I find myself wondering about the inevitability of that -- as do most who've lived into these advanced years.

So far that fear amounts to little more than, "...now where in hell did I leave my keys?"

As I said, it appears that little is ever wasted.



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