I think we are in rats’ alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.”
–T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
“There’s a ghost of a moon in the afternoon
Bullet holes in the mailbox (x2)
Too long in the waste land (x2)
And I’m falling behind”
–James McMurtry Song
I saw it coming twenty years ago. At that time, I was on a local school board when a right-wing idealogue came on board with the intention of gumming up our works. His kids were not even in our schools, they were home schooled. He gummed up the works alright. What was routine became no more as he objected to nearly every motion, and his compatriots monopolized the public input section. I see now where people are showing up at school board meetings, and other public forums yelling about critical race theory and other perceived insults to their viewpoints.
It doesn’t stop there. We are so accustomed to watching the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington D.C. that we seem blind to the fact that all across the nation idealogues are taking over local units of government, are stacking the regulators with people they perceive to be in their camp, are passing laws that suppress voters, and throwing sand into the gears of our democracy. They are afraid of losing their grip on power and want to revert to the good old days when white conservatives ruled. They are attracted to authoritarianism and want the return of someone who holds those views, like former president Trump. By doing so the irony is that our democracy will turn into a waste land.
Before a Trump rally in Iowa last week a reporter was interviewing a woman. When probed about her motivation, she stated that she was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. She predicted a civil war. Scary. I knew those people were out there, but I didn’t realize they would be so explicit. Bullet holes in the mailbox.