Fast Car - Shadows On A Lonesome Road
John Kaminski – firstname.lastname@example.org
"you got a fast car and I want a ticket to anywhere maybe we make a deal maybe together we can get somewhere" -- Traci Chapman, Fast Car
Top speed, headed toward the cliff, you're in the backseat hanging on for dear life, trying to catch at least a glimpse of the madman behind the wheel.
Fox puts these shows on television, and for all the world you can no longer tell the difference between the reality shows and the fantasy news.
I saw both at once Wednesday night in a church on Central Park West, as journalist Seymour Hersh and whistleblower Scott Ritter agonized about a phony war gone wrong before an enthusiastic crowd of New York liberals, but the level of discussion depicted al-Qaeda as an actual foreign enemy (rather than a CIA freak show) and Israel as a helpful ally, and hence never touched on the real issues. At least I got to hug Cindy Sheehan, America's much maligned antiwar heroine.
The level of reality of most of antiwar activity in the United States basically accepts the government's version of 9/11 and focuses its objection on the unnecessary carnage taking place all over the world thanks to U.S. policies, which of course is not a bad thing to complain about. But missing the point about the nature of the war and who is creating the violence -- it's not the neocons, it's the vast majority of the American people who support them who are letting this happen -- guarantees yet another useless and failed effort on the part of America's peaceniks, because they simply do not see the lies that have been told by the White House and TV talking heads have twisted the way everyone sees things.
It's not just the war we need to stop. It's the predatory behavior of a rancid system that regards people as numbers on a ledger sheet. Until why that happens is addressed, the other stuff will continue, no matter how much people complain about it.
So, after you've seen the bloated bodies floating face down in the bayou, "after the torchlight red on sweaty faces," after the bleeding babies in the prearranged pustule of Iraq ... reality is in your face, and now, as the weather goes South, the earth trembles, and your air is no longer fit to breathe, you ask yourself: who is that shadow chasing the speeding car that so terrifies the driver he would willingly drive straight over the precipice than simply have the courage to turn around and face his own inner fright -- because not to do so is to ignore one's destiny, and this destiny is the fate of all of us. How bad could it be to let the universe just wash over you? Especially since it's something you can't avoid anyway, no matter what your brand of magic trick.
We are the passengers in a car speeding way, way over the speed limit. Our lives flash before our eyes, like the guy on the plane to Hawaii who saw the passenger in front of him ripped out through a hole in the fuselage.
With what I was able to understand in my lifetime, it appears that humanity's own shadow has overtaken it. Yeats had it pegged. "The center cannot hold."
And we are all about to be catapulted into a reality we, pampered prodigals of a profligate lifestyle, have never before been exposed to. Odds are that most of us will wither in the heat and die. At least, those of us who aren't killed outright. If not by instantaneous vaporization, then by wrenching diseases that will contort our faces for all time in the rigor mortis horror of a Palestinian child gunned down by a laughing Israeli soldier for sport.
It is the natural consequence of constructing a society that avoids the real issues. I have some sympathy for Mao Tse Tung, whose social policies conceded that man was an unruly criminal and had to be constrained for the sake of peace.
With Mao it was not so much a lust for power as a necessary expedient to quell the unending bloodshed, but as with all dictatorial systems, it merely continued the cycle of violence. With the neocon cabal in the U.S., powered by total control of the world financial markets by a select few, the world government has far less compassion than Mao, as the continuing slaughters following the vilest example of treasonous perfidy ever recorded (that would of course be 9/11, a watershed event in human history when a government's massacre of its own citizens was approved by the masses because of the mind control the media had over them) continue to drench the world in blood.
Such a shadow on the human mind had not been seen since the Dark Ages (which really have yet to end), but even in this glittering technological age, humanity had never been so "in the dark" about what the real value of its collective life really was. For five thousand years people piled up trinkets against the coming night and finally, after years of searching for a safe pair of eyes, invented a friend who could not be defeated, someone who at sometime, in some place, is the one friend you can really count on, invention or not.
Who could have predicted, through all those eons, that following this path of following the dictates of an all-powerful God would lead to a situation for a species that first conquered the wilderness but then became its own wilderness. Look at the planet. See where the wilderness really is. It is where humans have been. The rest of the planet thrives without us.
What is it we were supposed to be doing? Funny thoughts cross your mind when you're pinned against the leather seat by the gravity compression of an accelerating fast car about to crash through a barrier from which there is no return.
First of which is .... what the hell am I doing in this car?
But the matter at hand is ... how can we get the driver to hit the brakes? Before we crash through the last fence.
I myself face this view this morning that when I return home from a short sabbatical that my house could be in toothpicks as the latest in a series of designer storms churns its way toward Florida's Gulf Coast. It is appearing more likely that the new weapon of choice for the totalitarian neocons is environment disaster -- first the tsunami, than various major quakes, and now hurricanes. It's a much cleaner and easier policy than trying to drum up support for wars with no reason except pure, profane profit.
And all of our leaders are in on the scam. Especially the current madman behind the wheel, who utters empty platitudes so meaningless, uncaring, and illogical that one can only conclude this is a suicide mission for profits. Exactly who profits, as we place our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance to our team, remains a fuzzy mystery, as men in expensive suits gaze out from an opulent balcony on a European hillside and smugly ponder their geopolitical gamesmanship.
Meanwhile, we're in the car, paralyzed by our fear, beseeching the driver to get some common sense and stop the car, before it's too late for all of us.
Perhaps a better way to describe the view that confronts our bulging eyeballs is this one. Imagine you're in the cockpit of the large passenger airliner and someone has a gun to your head. In those final moments, you see the people in the windows of a skyscraper gesticulating in uncomprehending panic as the plane closes fast on the face of the building.
This is today's snapshot of our species of individual souls, trapped in the back seat of a fast car with a driver we don't really know and are afraid to ask about, hurtling at breakneck speed toward you know where ...
John Kaminski is writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida currently hiding from the latest designer storm in New York City. Google him.
Last updated 30/10/2005