Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Mokopuna..

More drivelling and thinking on Thomas Paine. He wrote for us all, I think, when he penned tese words: "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
It goes without saying that he was banging on about the armed conflict the fledgling United States of America (a descriptive term he coined: it became a name not long afterwards) was waging against its oppressors, the British government and King.
But I have a grand-daughter and a grandson-by-proxy. It seems to me that I have a responsibility to ensure that they mature into a world that will nurture them, instead of a world that is poisoned by the greed and stink of growth, profiteering, sweatshop labour, slavery, and poverty.
When Obama asked the American people to work hard to rebuild their nation over the mistakes of his greedy predecessor's vileness, he was applauded. When he actually set out a a plan that would ask them to actually do something concrete and make a few trivial sacrifices, they turned their backs on him.
I've been watching "The Pacific", and reading the companion book. Sixty years is not a long time ago, yet I have to wonder if those people - the servicemen who went away to struggle and die for our freedom (an Idea, rather than a Thing) - would look at us and say that their sacrifices were actually worth it.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people died brutal deaths for the notion that their children's life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were worth their deaths.
And, inside a generation, we have spat on their graves.
The Old Testament tells how Moses led his people away from slavery, and toeward a promised land. In the middle of their long march (he must have been a lousy navigator) he climbed a mountain to commune with his god. Munching merrily on a magical herb, he enjoyed a quiet trip inside his own skull. By the time he came back, a little worse for wear, he found that his tribes had turned their backs on all he had worked so hard for, and were busy worshipping some other odd god. He went crook at them, and kicked them in the arse.
The bourgeousie and the working class have turned away from sacrifice, and toward excessive instant gratification. Each generation seems to compete with its predecessors in the effort to outdo them in consumerism. We have forgotten what it's like to look fore than two years ahead. Two months, I should say. We see our grandchildren, our mokopuna, and we neglect the fact that we have to fight for them today. Our arses need kicking.
"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
Listening to: "The Very Best of Otis Redding". Cool.
Reading: Kinky Friedman, "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch". The man is a genius.
Paper Heroes:

They let the firearms lie there. 
The group had followed Charles down a curving 50-metre corridor, before entering a wide, sprawling room. It had taken the three  newcomers a matter of moments to dress: Justin Grey, the small Texan, had dressed in expensive ranch-style clothes: denim trousers, black shirt, finely tooled boots, long yellow neckerchief, and black J. B. Stetson hat. Hanno had been satisfied with his more exotic garb: the thick leather jerkin, leather wrist-guards, thick silk purple trews held up by a broad belt, and animal fur boots. And John Prester, more prosaically, in a pair of baggy camo trousers, black tee-shirt, and combat boots.

Blunt noted with pleasure that this room had corners, and colours. Like the room he’d woken up in, though, this one had no windows to the outside world. Along the wall opposite the door they entered stood a bar, as yet unmanned, and a wide table laden with cold meats, salads, and breads. Another long table carried the weapons: Blunt and Whistler’s rifles and gun, four more swords, a fancy gun-belt that held two pistols, an enormous knife, a composite bow and quiver of arrows.. Blunt was dizzy with the new sensations: music that came from nowhere, strange paintings in the wall, this small, fussy man who had led them there. Blunt stopped at the food, picked up a chicken leg, and watched as the small cowboy buckled his own gun-belt on. The Texan stood, flexed his hands, then drew the pistols so quickly that Blunt blinked. He watched the small man repeat the performance, then turn away. Grey looked at him, and grinned.

“Well, Colonel, some things haven’t changed. But if these here Colts are mine, damned if you cain’t spit in my eye and call me a Yankee.”

“Yankee, eh? We called you Jonathans. But I do know of Yankees. I met a fine one once, in France: he saved my life.”

“Well, I never did hold with the notion that there weren’t any good Yankees. Yours was in France, so that made him better than most.” Grey grinned, and held out his hand. “Shake, pardner. I don’t know whut’s going on here, but you and your two big friends look like you’re handy in a scrap, f’sure.”

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly, the manna which was consumed in the desert is theorized to have been a type of psychoactive mushroom still native to that area. Thus, it was a case of mutton and mushrooms for breakfast, and then... oh wow... man... look at this pebble, isn't it interesting? No wonder they got a bit lost along the way. Like you, I cannot believe that the future of this planet and its people is anything but bleak. Fortunately there will be no products of my genetic material to see it.
    I shudder to think what sheer weight of numbers will bring about, and then there's the less attractive side of human nature... Consumption (can't something) be done about it?