"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, May 20, 2016

When I'm in a concentration camp

Painted two years ago, and owned by step-son-in-law Jake Harms.
You won't be able to visit me, or it will imperil your safety.
You won't be able to say my name, or even mail me.
You will have to disavow you knew me.
You will have to affirm, under oath, that you knew all along, I was a traitor.
You will have to join the majority, goose step and salute with cheers to the dictator. 
You will have to "vote" unanimously to disband schools, to destroy libraries, to repeal the Bill of Rights, to censor all art and music.
It will begin in one of the smallest states, and spread, like cancer, an infection of the mind, of the soul, of humanity, by selfish forces of delusion and division, of intolerance and insecurity, and funded by the hunger for power, not for people.
I will understand, because I will be one of the first to be rounded up and sent behind barbed wire for "national security."
I will admit that I used you, deceived you, led you astray against your wishes.
I will deny that you ever agreed with me, and affirm that you were afraid to disagree with me. 
I will die doing slave labor to build a wall in 100 degree heat in a desert compound where there is a cup of water, and a piece of bread every day.
Or I will be executed for failing to bow down, or salute and repeat the mindless sayings of the "leader," or for trying to escape into the deadly heat of the desert.
I hate pain, and that is my great weakness, but I would rather be shot in the back running away than suffer.
But just know, that my memories of you will sustain me with joy; that I will not judge you for staying away, that I will pray for your survival--knowing that this too shall pass--because souls are eternal--that despots and demagogues are not. 
But I will weep for the loss, for America, and freedoms, and decency, and morality--stolen and fueled  because of a "leader's" manipulation of fear, and hatred, and racism, and violence, and intolerance,  and demagoguery, and ignorance, and extremist religion and politics.
They will come for you next. 
I wish this were a fantasy. 

3 comments:

  1. I, too, wish this were a fantasy. Very powerful post, thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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  2. I wanted to mention that your header is beautiful! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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  3. This is a powerful statement of truth. As a historian who has read hundreds of books on 1940s facism, I applaud the courage you regularly live and write knowing so clearly the price truth sayers pay.

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