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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Freedom Whence...brooding feelings and the world's struggles


I recently finished reading American Uprising by Daniel Rasmussen.  As a follow up, I looked up a few reviews. Some provided critiques of the author’s age a few others lamented thin-ness of historical research in some points of the narrative. True the author is young. True he went to Harvard, but I did not find anyone who disagreed with the author’s main presentation of facts, and as a student whose US history courses were not nearly 25 years ago much of the insight was new to me.

Especially intriguing to me was the fact that the fledgling US government played a persistent role in asserting slaveholder authority and preserving status quo in slave-holder states in the early US. It was also refreshing to see the enslaved people given agency, creativity, and drive. This explains and contradicts the “life was good for slaves” as well as “the meek slave myth” and forms the context for a narrative of revolt and the wave of escaping of slaves from plantations as the Civil War continued prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.

A few parallels between our modern economic situation and that of the historical New Orleans environs described by the author also caught my eye. The plantation systems’ reliance on debt to finance the land and the slavery which made it possible with its connection to lower taxes and a different role for government in these areas compared too much of the country. Hmmm? Financial Crisis anyone? The relative underdevelopment of transportation, education, and other infrastructure are also illustrative in the low tax plantation focused world. Do we see any of this today?   This inspired me to write the following poem.


A heavy brooding feeling has stayed with me some days after the reading of this book.



A brooding feeling grows.
Drawing the mind down
Into the darker abyss
That lurks beneath will
A thousand histories of stupidity
Call out with their dream of forgetfulness.
Do what you do.
It is what it is.
That is the way the world is.
The numb dreamer within
Lies gulliverian among innumerable ropes.
Routine is decreed truth
Law and power are deemed right
Does a rebel inspire?
Does a martyr?
A CEO?
A lover?
Clouded by the mist of time
We seek our past in the future
Unwittingly creating paradoxes which
Our ignorance name “Truth” and “the way it has always been.”
You look out and forget that you see yourself
A wrinkle in the dream makes the face strange
A ruse that makes a fence out of a mirror.
The dreamer’s delirium threatens .
How long can you destroy yourself?
Nearly 52 years to the day. Did Abe celebrate the anniversary
With trembling pen?
Giving what he had no right to give or withhold.
Did he know the slaves were setting
Themselves free before the emancipation deemed it so?
Beginning the march toward peace
That would continue eight score and ten years hence.
When will I be free?


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