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September 21, 2021


Is Mom Dead, too?

In the 1960s, the United States of America was home to a hundred million monarchies, lorded over by moms and dads who wielded absolute power over their children, ruling as if by divine right. Anti-war and anti-draft movements were full of mothers who were willing to do anything to keep their baby boys from being fed into the war machine like so much coal into a locomotive.

Americans concluded the second world war in 1945. We never came home from war, however; without the Euro-phobic FDR in the White House, we failed to return. Without a single vote cast by a single American citizen, the arsenal of democracy was transformed into an imitation empire. We re-modeled ourselves on the regime whose greedy lust for power produced Common Sense, the pamphlet and user's manual the United States of America is rooted in.

We established a democratic republic to take the place of nepotism and inherited power, which are as sensible as tweedledum and tweedledee and all other English nursery rhymes.

It is as if the country that had been called upon to drop what it was doing at home - plenty good, some very bad, so that it could rescue the world from itself, simply claimed ownership of the thing it had rescued. (Red Cross lifeguard training warns that drowning persons try to drown their rescuers)

Midway through America's make-or-break decade, April 1966, Time magazine published an issue with a cover designed to shock:


As a leading organ of the business roundtable, Time thereby copped out loud to the obvious truth. Back-to-back global holocausts are all the evidence any reasonable person needs to illustrate the bankruptcy of the global god business.

After all, Franco's Spain, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany (and France), were heavily Roman Catholic. And, of course, so was England, before it quit sharing with Rome and re-branded itself as church and state.

The crowning glory of human evolution is the social construct we know as the family. No truth is more self-evident than this: absolute authority over every baby born vests in the mother and the father, because their love for each other produces the everyday miracle of birth.

As dreamy as that sentence sounds to you, please consider what a fairy tale you will need to dream up to convince yourself that authority over people is vested anywhere else.

The Constitution of the United States guarantees us the right to believe anything we want. People choose to believe that you can take what the pope tells you to the bank, so long he says it on Peter's chair; other people believe that their tribe is the teflon one and all other tribes have bad stuff stuck on them; others pitch the idea that if you die while killing a certain class of strangers, you will have metaphoric copulation over and over and over and over.

The point is that the job of answering the questions that make children afraid of the dark, the job of telling the fairy tales that prepare children for the metaphoric death of sleep, is the parents' job. The state, since it would contain an unlimited number of mutually exclusive propositions and divine edicts, from Zoroastrianism to Q-anon, must have no truck with any of them.

Henry VIII not only got away with wife-killing and murder but he scored good seats in heaven, too, because he was church and state. We, in the new world, have gotten as close to him as we want, and it was right in the damned White House. It was a successor of Henry VIII's who burned it to the ground. There's your original 9/11 - and that bin Laden roams free today.

All animals have the same number of senses, except human beings. We were singled out for the gift of common sense, the thing that allows us to create common wealth, which alone enables the peace and security that guarantees a good night's sleep.

Common sense is the original viral pandemic, thank god!

Thank you for this fascinating comment, Bud Dilyn. Probably it should be the post while my little poem should be the footnote.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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