Back in 1965-1971, when Allen Ginsberg wrote the poems that made up the collection entitled The Fall of America that was published in 1972, he was referring to that time as the autumn of the republic.
…same electric lightning south
follows this train
the Fall of America
signalled from Heaven
– Allen Ginsberg
Things have changed, however, as the latest Nobel laureate in literature told us two decades ago, and I believe that now is the winter of America (as would Ginsberg were he still alive).
America has fallen as surely as the leaves from the trees.
The republic is dead. All that remains is disposing of the carcass to the highest bidder. Negotiations have already started.
Go back down,
Back the way you came,
Can't you see that flash of fire ten times brighter than the day?
And behold a mighty city broken in the dust again,
Oh God, Pride of Man, broken in the dust again.
– Hamilton Camp
The Founding Fathers’ great experiment has foundered on the rocks of greed, power, and arrogance. We thought we were special, exceptional, and chosen as a people. God had spoken to us and our destiny was manifest.
Sadly, we turned out to be just like everyone else in this world.
This morning as we awoke from our long sleep we expected the nightmare of the previous evening to dissipate. To our horror, it was no dream. It was real, and it wasn’t going away anytime soon – if ever. In that moment of naked lunch, we became scared to the bone – for our children, our grandchildren, our country, our planet, and ourselves.
Yesterday’s step toward national oblivion should have come as no surprise to those who post and converse here. After all, we have dedicated our lives to studying that moment in Dallas in November 1963 when the rot entered the system and the cancer began to grow in the body politic.
The last person who thought he was the president – the real president – was violently taken away from us by the people who took over our nation for their own benefit. To most eyes, the system seemed to function as it was intended to. Democracy had been preserved. That was the important thing.
Candidates ran for office. Elections were held as they always had. And the winners took office and worked for their constituents. America was different; it was no banana republic.
Something didn’t seem right, however, and the whole mess began to smell like Hamlet’s Denmark. It soon became clear to some that although we had retained the forms of democracy, the substance had been lost.
Our leaders, it seemed, had learned a lesson that the Russians hadn’t and that was: you can give the people all the rights you want, but if they have no power what can they do?
I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand
Today, the cancer has metastasized to incredible proportions and the nation is on life support. Don’t believe me just look around.
Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide
Got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.
So what are we to do? Your answer is up to you. Whatever you choose to do, though, take time to remember a less cynical world when a president could be taken at his word when he told his audience, as Harry Truman once said:
"There are 14 or 15 million Americans who have the resources to have representatives in Washington to protect their interests, and that the interests of the great mass of the other people - the 150 or 160 million - is the responsibility of the president of the United States, and I propose to fulfill it."
He made good on his word for almost a thousand days. We can only wait and see whom Trump serves.
Me? I’m going to follow the advice of that Nobel laureate again
…so go joshua
go fit your battle
i have t' go t' the woods
for a while
i hope you understand
but if you don't
it doesn't matter
i will be with you
nex' time around
don't think about me
i'll be ok
While I’m in the woods, I’ll strap myself to a tree with roots