by David Eide 

The Values That Emerge  

Well, I know I don't have an empire to defend. I have only worlds to know and experience. It is the beginning of renewal. A 30 year cycle that started in '68 is now finished. A new era awaits.

The poet, now up to speed, spoke in the empty park in front of the hypothetical citizen, "Oh you tribe of powerful men and women sequestered in the old mansions of power; the machinery driving through you is transparent and old. The people smell decay on their way to games."

Listening to him were several fornicating dogs and a bum on the bench with his cane. The poet wore a cape. He wore a stovepipe hat as Lincoln had worn. He was excited and conscious that someone was in the park watching his performance.

"Come out you hidden bastards from all this fakery and mask and meet the poet on equal grounds!" The citizen was both entertained and alarmed. "You are snakes that bite us on the heel so we can no longer go forward. We slump to the ground and die." The bum on the bench, who scarcely paid attention to the poet began to cough uncontrollably until his bowels emptied its vast gaseous caverns into the bright blue chilly air.

"Your language and your actions are deceitful! And you drag the poet away as though he is insane when all in all, he is a prophet!"

"You politicians piss in the garden so even the flowers stink of you. The bumblebee comes to sting you on your heart and you laugh. A man comes with an envelope and you feel a secret thrill. Men and women die by the horde and you have no words left."

The hypothetical citizen lay, now, in the cold grass with his head propped on his hand as the poet came closer to him. He had a hideous face and thin legs. There was no doubt in the citizens mind that if this nutcase showed up in a government office they would take him and throw him back into the street. "Don't they know yet that there are eternal liars who are only whipped into shape when the people descend on them? Has that been forgotten?"

The poet wanted a crowd of cheering, clapping people but all he saw was a bum, two fornicating dogs, and a curious man laying in the grass in front of him. A man who seemed amused and critical by the performance as if he was the author of it and the poet a mere virtual clown asked to stand-in and be tested; even take the hit for being so cynical.

And it felt nearly sinister that no one was in the park, even though the poet had the atrocious negative trait of sincerity coupled with a belief in himself. He possessed the nutty truth of a man of the Earth; a primitive mind already passed through the tricks of consciousness several times.

More than once it was pounded into him that he lived a dark fantasy and to grow up. And, in fact, he realized that the system was not going away, it didn't have to go away and, in fact, it only needed a few jolts to keep it alert and awake.

"Ah, what went wrong," he asked the hyptohetical ciitzen who was still on his side, listening and sometimes concurring with the poets words.

"The people are told they are the source of power. Most of them reject that after awhile as a ridiculous notion. A few understand it to be true and try to change the people, inflame them, get them active but all that does is stimulate both the good and bad in them; the intelligent and stupid. These clash in raucaus political moments and the system sails merrily on."

"Besides, life is competitive and adversarial. When one smart one pops up, at least one dumb one does as well. When a cautious old-timer raises his head, up pops the young nihilist. They cancel each other out and the system swims merrily onward into the future.

And isn't it interesting that the dumb ones call the smart ones dumb and the nihilists accuse the cautious of being nihilists?"

"You have two choices then, poet. You either kick the people in their asses and tell them to move on, get up, get on, learn, put away the fascination for dope, sex, and gambling, invest some time back into the political culture or you go to the ruling political class and convince them to treat the people decently but take a tight hold on the reins."

The hypothetical citizen thought later, in a pensive mood, "If the critical mass of people are perplexed by the world, wouldn't the government be perplexed? But, rather than seeing that one reflects the other, they become enemies. And conversely, if the people were absolutely knowledgeable and mature so they ruled themselves with aplomb it is doubtful a bad government would be in place mediating everything."

For the first time he grasped some secret that had escaped him. It is the government that is dependent on the quality of the people rather than the people dependent on the government.

© 2006 David Eide. All rights reserved.

David Eide

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