William Shakespeare, A Mere Shepherd’s Son

“However wickedness outstrips men, it has no wings to fly from God.” 

In classrooms and on campus,

They Persecute the Bard, William Shakespeare, anew

A move is afoot to shear Western Civilization of all its golden fleece. I’ve been opposing this for years now, but the move is unstoppable. The wicked Queen of Neoliberalism demands fealty, and she will have it. 

The litany of crimes accusing William Shakespeare spew from the usual, artless, trite boilerplate. He is a giant in the Western Canon of world literature, and far more deserving than most of his peers on that catalogue of greats. The Bard is one of the most powerful poets in any language who ever lived by grace of God. 

And what a beautiful soul! Sigmund Freud’s many psychological insights did not arise from study of his patients, but rather from study of Shakespeare’s plays. Such was the intimacy and the insight achieved by the Bard!

Cries of “white supremacy! Colonialism!” resound through academic halls as they fly against Shakespeare. In sorrow, however, the Bard himself would never have been surprised. For one, he was too attuned to our nature. For another, he was too much a victim of it in his own life. 

 

If you look for William Shakespeare in Elizabethan society, you will find him standing outside of it, on the margins, in the shadowy haunts of actors and theater people. London’s men of letters mocked the Bard for being a “mere shepherd’s son” who dared presumptuously to pen verse, for William was of low birth and beneath their station. (That, and jealously, for the Bard had more raw talent then all of them put together!) 

Shakespeare was also almost certainly a Catholic. No one can claim this for certain, we simply lack information, but this is most likely the case. Both his mother and father were Recusants, so he sprung from this bed. We know that he did read Latin, using a Latin text of Plutarch as grist for his storytelling. How did a mere shepherd’s son, with no classical education, know Latin? That’s the mark of a papist! Furthermore, at his height Shakespeare purchased the Blackfriars Gatehouse, a place that figured as a haven and even a stop on an “Underground Railroad” of sorts for Catholics of the day. For, you see, to be a Catholic was to be an outlaw. The evil queen, Elizabeth, would have you disemboweled for this crime. (That gatehouse did figure prominently in the Gunpowder Plot as a safehouse).

And Shakespeare got out. He made his money in London, cashed out and bought the biggest house in Stratford-Upon-Avon. He fled from that London society which never accepted him; he took his wife and they disappeared into the obscurity from whence they arose.

Some white privilege, no? Look for it, look for the hints of his faith that the Bard littered throughout his verse. Will you find them? Will you find the real Shakespeare, peering at what unfolds before him on the stage, from the shadows? 

Pendulum Theory is a lie. It was introduced to me by one of my favorite college professors, back in 1989 or so. We were in his office; I was lamenting about the climate on campus where extreme liberal progressivism had run amok with everything. He told me to take heart, explaining how the course of history moved. Passions and ideas oscillated from one extreme to the other, he claimed, in almost Newtonian terms of actions and equal-and-opposite reactions. Only twenty years prior when he was my age at the time, the climate on campus was precisely the opposite. Conservatives ruled the faculties and the students struggled against that rubric. Plus, twenty years prior to that in the 1940s, liberals ruled the roost, and the conservatives were the “up and comers.”   Given time, he assured me, this struggle would turn the opposite way and swing back, much like the swing of a pendulum. This oscillating interplay, from one extreme to the other, was by nature good! The inputs from each extreme contributed to compose a wiser middle course. The swing of the pendulum was the mechanism used by civilization to keep its bearings, this was the check and balance of wisdom. And thusly we move through time, ever upward, ever onward, regulated from excesses by the swing of the pendulum!

That sounds good, no? And this man’s life work was the study of history, so we have it on good authority, don’t we? But alas, it’s just not true. Or, at the minimum, you may die before the corrections occur. My professor witnessed a pendulum swing in his lifetime on campus, with a 20-year periodic interval. Oh but I haven’t. College campuses today are even nuttier, even more indefensible than they were back in 1989 when we thought we were witnessing Peak Insanity. No! The nuttery had not even really begun then!

I hear expressions of Pendulum Theory expressed all the time. Even today someone cited to me the fell movement of the avenging pendulum! Or more often someone expresses the hope that things will “even out” in the end because they must. Most often I hear this hope expressed in the context of our two-party political system in the USA. The Democrats win power, but they go too far. In response, the Republicans gain power and correct the excesses, but then they go too far. So, the Democrats win back power, but … ad infinitum. It’s a never-ending cycle of corrections. The boom-bust cycle of business is explained in this same way. First the exuberance of a boom spawns malinvestments. These leads to a bust, in which accounts are cleared, setting the stage for the next boom. Etc. 

These cyclical appearances and manifestations are the great seduction of Pendulum Theory, for what is time on Earth but cycles? Everything occurs in cycles. God can make perfect cycles, but Man always tries to cheat them! Why didn’t sanity ever return to the college campus? I submit that in 1993 Bill Clinton pushed through a program that guaranteed $4,000 per year in student loans to everybody. Immediately all tuitions were suddenly at least $4,000 per year (mine was only $1000 all the years before), and this began a vicious cycle of its own with ever-expanding loan guarantees and tuitions. We blew a bubble in higher education right at the top of leftist insanity on campus, and this has only served to ensconce the wingnuts at the helm. You can forget all that talk about universitas, for they have the gavel and they will smash you with it. In business we blew a housing bubble in the 1990s, too. It popped in 2008 so we blew another! We’ve got a welfare state structured on Ponzi finance, and a Wall Street that’s built in the assumption of continual market growth forever, while whoops our people didn’t reproduce. So, the government imports additional populations, dooming our heritage culture. Man in his hubris is always fighting against that pendulum swing, with all his might.

Observers say don’t fear, that a Day of Judgment is coming. It’s very fashionable today to say, “What can’t last won’t!” and call that wisdom. Perhaps it is true. Yet when the corrections do come, I do not think they will come with the gentle action of a pendulum’s glide. No, it comes like Vesuvius erupting when bubbles pop. Things would have come like pendulums if we had let them, then things could take their natural course, but Man will not allow it! 

But it gets worse. Pendulum Theory assumes that Man is moving somewhere towards something, meanwhile two equal and opposite forces vie to influence that direction. One force pulls always to the left, let’s say, and another always to the right. Through the addition of forces over time, Man should always remain roughly in the middle. But he hasn’t, has he? We move ever leftward. All forces that tug us are in fundamental agreement, they only differ about the velocity of our movement, not the direction. Each force, to our left and also to our right, accept the foundations of the Enlightenment and therefore the idea that man is trudging along through history progressively achieving perfection and justice through law. When Q Shaman and his Merry Men broke into the Well of Senate, they were warned that this was “the sacredest place” and what did they do there? They prayed to God, and this is seen on all sides as an outrageous sacrilege. Piety is made sacriligious! For it is misplaced. Laws. Not prayers, laws! That sacred Well of the Senate is where the laws that make men perfect are crafted. There, and at the Supreme Court — which by the way should not be making laws, oh but it is. It is making the holiest of laws, in fact, supreme ones conjuring justice and rights themselves! In the Declaration of Independence it was God endowing you with rights, now it’s nine crazed lawyers in committee. They come out to the court robed like priests, even, handing down their tablets like Moseses. These are the great engines of the Great Idea Nation, some kind of noble City of Man that we’re always told is up on a hill somewhere as a beacon guiding humanity itself towards justice and deliverance. What is this but Babel?

As an aside I’d like to point out this was never the plan, except for maybe John Winthrop’s plan, for our founders were never consumed with such hubris. But nevertheless, it has become the plan and this could not be avoided. Thanks to that damned pendulum, we have moved along with all forces pushing us along the path ordained by the Enlightenment. We are in an Enlightenment Bubble, we have been for hundreds of years, and we will, each of us, likely die in it. 

As a further aside, what does that Latin say in the pendulum pic above? It says, starting from the 12 o’clock position and going around clockwise: “Time flies irreparably, while we are carried around as captives by narrow passion, but it flies —-” (the last word is blotted out by the sun! I think the word is ‘interea’, which would mean ‘meanwhile’)

 

 

Historical Ruins of St Marys Abbey Church with Dark Shadows, York, England

Occasionally a book will come along and shake up everything you have always believed. You harbor false assumptions, because you were taught them and encouraged to believe them, and in you they remain unexamined. Once in a great while if you are lucky and — importantly! — you continue to read books, one of them will slip through your transom and run amok uprooting countless things you securely believed. William Cobbett’s book, A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, is such a book for me. I have briefly recounted the life of Mr. Cobbett here in preparation if you don’t know of him. I found his book to be earth-shattering, upending even how I interpret our situation today, and how I greet the morning’s news each day now. What happened during that long, painful process we call the Protestant Reformation was a nasty, mean, cruel business. Evil won. It absolutely did, and this victory persists until this day. We are all much the worse for it. 

Set aside the book’s extremely boring title! It is enough to make you pass over it as you peruse through a stack of books. I was turned to it via recommendation, and never would have thought to consider it otherwise. The text is no sober, boring plod through a history. To the contrary, Mr. Cobbett writes in pulpit stemwinder style. However, his style is also reminiscent of the Latinate style more common to 18th century British writers than from 1824, when Cobbett wrote the book. He was a grammarian after all, and these elaborate grammars might be a little challenging to modern readers faced with 400 or more pages of them. But you will get used to it once you get the hang of it! Anyway, Cobbett remains always engaging with the reader, and very often quite comic and entertaining, so this is extremely rewarding.

To Cobbett, the Reformation was a lengthy process that unfolded over hundreds of years. There was not one Protestant Reformation affecting England, there were five. The first was that of King Henry VIII, the next that of Queen Elizabeth, followed by the one we know as the Glorious Revolution, and then the American Revolution, terminating at last in the French Revolution. Cobbett’s view is decidedly English, considering very little of what went on upon the Continent. He covers many episodes mainly in France, and the Spanish Armada, and a few other episodes. Martin Luther, John Calvin and the like do make appearances, but as for the view of things from the Continent? Cobbett leaves that to the continentals. 

I have joked elsewhere on forums that what really began the Protestant Revolution was Henry VIII’s girl troubles. Like all good jokes there’s more truth to that than it ought to warrant. Sadly, it is the case! The Protestant Revolution in England really did begin with King Henry VIII’s girl troubles and no other basis for his actions existed whatsoever, despite what anybody might say to the contrary. At that time Britons were everywhere Catholic, as they had been for the previous nine hundred years, and there was little impetus to abandon that anywhere. The king himself had authored a book defending the faith against Martin Luther to wild acclaim and even achieving the title “Defender of the Faith” from the pope. Ah, but there was the girl trouble! And the trouble was that King Henry wanted to divorce his 43-year-old wife whom the people adored, Queen Catharine, to marry her 20something hand maid, Anne Boleyn — who was, btw, king’s own illegitimate daughter via an affair. And everybody had problems with that but most of all the pope, who would not sign off on it. And so, from these sordid beginnings, was lit the flame that became the Protestant Revolution. And how differently did the Protestants from the Catholics arrive on the islands? On orders from the pope the Catholics first came to England on boats with a mission to evangelize the island through preaching and living by example, while the Protestants got in the house like girl troubles! Fast forward three hundred years to find these very same Catholics to be a singularly persecuted and maligned minority.

Cobbett traces this incredible saga of a determined and rapacious elite who have undertaken a sustained project that is against the will and the best interests of their own people. And chillingly the elites won. The people are left much impoverished, left bickering and set upon each other, while the moral and social foundation, one that had sustained their fathers and mothers for nearly one thousand years, lies undermined and reviled. That is crushing to consider! Aren’t the good guys always supposed to win out in the end? Doesn’t the cocksure confidence we hear proclaimed always from our evangelicals that “God will always win!” apply at least to religion itself? For in the business of the Protestant Reformation, as William Cobbett reveals undeniability, the evil ones prevailed. Cobbett paints shocking portraits of all the major players. Everybody knows that Henry the Wife Killer was always a problem, and boy was he ever, but he’s not more tyrannical than just about every other player involved (including non-regents!). You will see the ugly side of Queen Elizabeth, for example, and it is not a pretty sight. Much of what Cobbett reveals is simply not covered, glossed, or unmentioned altogether in the standard educations of today.

For example, I looked up the Wikipedia entry for Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer was made the Archbishop of Canterbury by King Henry the Wife Killer and immediately emerged as a lying scoundrel and monster almost without parallel in human history. He conducted a reign of terror for thirty years under three regents until Queen Mary mercifully gave him a taste of his own medicine and burned him at the stake for his shocking litany of crimes. At first Cranmer burned Protestants at the stake. Then for a time he bundled them in twos, Catholic and Protestant in one hurdle on their way to perish together the flames. And then at last only Catholics. Yet Wikipedia finds this to say: “Both sides [Protestant and Catholic] can agree in seeing Cranmer as a committed scholar whose life showed the strengths and weaknesses of a very human and often under-appreciated reformer.” O can we? What? You see, this is what we face: people drawing smiley-faces on indefensible evil. Well I guess you could say that at any given point in his long career, there wasn’t anybody Cranmer wouldn’t consign to the flames, as long as it advantaged Cranmer. So there is a sort of an equanimity to be found! This is what we are dealing with and continue to deal with. The victors write the histories and they do tend to absolve their side.

Of course we must always put things in context. If it is possible in the first place to lead an unblemished life, how much harder is that to do as king, or queen, or president? Or as some kind of attendant in these realms? Jesus Himself observed about the eyes of needles and camels, making the point perhaps that the crush of worldly concerns and delights, all those things that money and power carry with them, weigh against the prospects of living a just life. What else could explain this wild assortment of scoundrels that we have here surrounding this Protestant Reformation? Everybody has heard about Queen Mary, aka “Bloody Mary”, the Catholic daughter of King Henry the Wife Killer who sought to undo the damage her father’s evil had done. Mary burned 200+ knaves alive at the stake in the fabled Fires of Smithfield, providing the rationale behind the sobriquet of Bloody Mary. Would that any of the fiends in the Reformation’s Dramatis Personae had executed so few! But no, Mary is called Bloody Mary while her half-sister and successor, Queen Elizabeth I, is called “Good Queen Bess.” Cobbett marvels, as I do, about how he was taught as a boy about the mighty deeds and heroic goodness of Good Queen Bess and the dark ignominy of Bloody Mary, when all that melts away the very moment the first light of inspection shines on it. For Queen Elizabeth was a wicked monster, and Mary shed the least blood of any regent from her era. If I had to face any of the foul demons from the catalogue of female monsters and I had my pick, I’d pick Grendel’s Mother over that evil Queen Bess. Pick an opponent with some honor! 

Inversions like this everywhere were the order of the day in the Reformation, and staggering hypocrisies. Cobbett’s take on the Glorious Revolution has to be the most shocking inversion he chronicles. Here we have a rightful English king, James II, the last Catholic king of England, who was dethroned and run out of England as William and Mary, who were Dutch Protestants, were installed on the throne. Now, what was this business all along about the true danger of the papacy? A Catholic, you see, is a man of divided loyalties and therefore suspect, because where is his allegiance? Is it to the pope or to his country? Why, at any moment the papists might run off a rightful English king and … install a Dutchman??? The engineers of the Glorious Revolution indeed had a mighty problem on their hands, so they ginned up a war to fix it, a war upon France since that is where King James fled. Didn’t matter who won, it only mattered to have the war. It was used for internal English purposes. This was pure manipulation by the elites, and it sealed the deal destroying the English monarchy (James is not only the last Catholic king England has ever had, he is also the last from a royal English line). Worse, and critically, the war was also the excuse to introduce usury finance and the Bank of England. At last, the fait accompli!

Cobbett is incisive about the psychology of a gnawing problem. How to explain the extreme prejudice that persists against Catholics? He observed that in his day you might be a Methodist or a Presbyterian, or a Quaker, or even a Jew who is not a Christian by any name, and face scant to no persecution. English Catholics were carved out for a special, particular animus, why? His brilliant insight is that the Catholics were the ones the crown robbed outright, and that is your explanation. If you rob a man and he knows you did, you have a big problem in him. You could beg forgiveness, but this would acknowledge your crimes. You could restore what you have taken, but this also acknowledges your crimes. Or you could just keep him beaten and powerless in submission and maybe even destroy him — and that is what happened.

Cobbett frequently references a concept that sounds a bit alien to us, that of “natural leadership”. He spends very little time explaining the particulars of it, it was a topic that he had written about at length elsewhere (I’m told). It was also not uniquely his idea. John Adams, for example, wrote of it as did many others from that era. I don’t know where the natural leadership idea came from, or where to look for exposition on it. It’s a concept that seems a piece with the natural rights discussions we find stemming from Descartes, Rousseau, Locke, et al., but a topic that’s fallen out of purview and fashion. The concept revolves around the question of who is going to represent and advance the interests of a group of people. I guess Modern Man, Evolved! thinks he has that figured out and the answer is whomever he elects to Congress or Parliament or whatnot. So the matter is simply a settled one and therefore not considered much anymore. Cobbett, who was a member of Parliament for a time, did not think the matter was “in the Done Bucket”. He used to rail against the absenteeship of lords on the basis that this deprived the locals of their natural leadership, a necessary function for the health of the community. To Cobbett one of the greatest tragedies of the Reformation was that it deprived the people of a large measure of their natural leadership. Not only did it remove the functions of the clergy and the church from the lands, but it also quite often established absentee lords in their stead. 

Before the Reformation, every county in England had churches, monasteries, and abbeys, church hospitals, chapels, schools. Each one of these institutions had lands by which a considerable number of the people lived as tenants. The church made a good landlord, her rents were low and they were also stable. A new abbot did not come with fears that a new lord naturally brought! A maxim of the day was, “It’s better to be governed by the bishop’s crosier than the monarch’s scepter!” Furthermore, if you had a need or an issue the abbot or the priest was on-hand and accessible. And critically, the great majority of the funds that the church did collect were spent locally. The church provided schools for the children, care for the sick, aid for the poor. The crown and the nobles did none of this! You sent your payments off you lord and your never saw benefits, meanwhile the church was investing in your parish. Never in England at any time were you more than five miles away from help, from sanctuary, from a meal or from shelter. England did not have her infamous Poor Laws and her workhouses before the Reformation. No need existed! She was also more populous.

Look at that picture above, it is the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey in York. This was one of the grandest abbeys on the isle. Thomas Cromwell, a monster of King Henry the Wife Killer, dissolved that abbey, robbed it, and blew it to smithereens with gunpowder. I don’t know who came into possession of the remains, it may have been Cromwell himself or some other droogie of the king. But whoever it was that took possession probably raised rents as an absentee landlord and never even came to know the people, for that was the pattern. The monks were beggared; church, hospital and schoolrooms blown up — and the books and records! That abbey possessed 750 or so manuscripts carefully guarded through the ages by the monks. Only 35 of them remain, the rest disappearing and unknown to us. And the local records also lost. One function of the monasteries and abbeys was as a repository of local registers. Births, deaths, real estate transactions, taxes — records of names and events in the lives of a people. Blown to smithereens! This was the pattern all over the land. This was the Reformation, folks.

It was a money grab, foremost, an outright robbery that impoverished the people and enriched the nobles who joined with the corrupt monarchs. Oh, but what about the theology? The theses on the door, and the indulgences, the idolatries, the no less than five sola’s (explain to me why there are five SOLAs, btw?) and whatever else? Well why indeed did nobody notice that while the learned doctors were arguing about where to put the altar, that the king was making off with it? Welcome to 16th century PsyOps. It was the money, honey.

England made her deal with the Devil. She got her usury-backed modern finance to fund her bloody British Empire. And that is the worst thing that ever happened to her people, maybe to all the people of the West as a whole. 

 

 

Now! At the top of the world! Then now, imprisoned, condemned. What can be learned? Should one even bother to learn now or why not give in to despair? These were the questions of one Anicius Manius Severinus Boethius. Or just “Boethius” as he is known.

He is the Last of the Mohicans in his way. He’s the last of the Ancient Romans, his Latin writings are the last ones we see from the Roman Age. The Roman emperors were already “a thing of the past” when Boethius came along. He became a Roman noble celebrated for his learning, in the service to the famous Ostrogoth King, Theodoric the Great. Boethius de facto ran the place! But from this height he fell out of favor and found himself imprisoned awaiting death.  From here, Boethius uncorked his great literary work, The Consolation of Philosophy. It would become one of the most important texts for the next thousand years. St. John’s Revelations appears at end of the Bible, The Consolation of Philosophy appears at the end of Roman Literature. These two works are each a terminus, and they are both the two greatest and most influential examples in world history of “prison literature”.

Donald Trump along with his 75,000,000 or so supporters track with Boethius. As does the fate of anybody who might call himself today “a Heritage American.” Why? Because of the fall! From such a height to such a depth, from favor and power to isolation and even persecution (don’t dare deny the persecution, neoliberal!). We can learn from the fate and sublime writing of Boethius! 

Prison literature here we come, baby!!! Much ink has been spilt already from St. John’s side and discussions of his text, and much, much more is sure to follow! So let’s talk about Boethius!

The basic concept is simple. Boethius in his cell reaches for his quill and calls upon the poetic muses, those of the arts and of the sensual. But then a woman appears and she is Philosophy, who banishes the passionate muses and nourishes Boethius. Philosophy calls Boethius back to the pursuit of goodness, back to the cause of virtue. 

Forget revenge! Forget your anger! Forget your sorrow! The passions don’t matter and they pass.

Forget riches! Forget power! The worldly things don’t matter.

Pursue goodness and virtue!!! The point of it is, you’ve got to do work on yourself. Empowered with this faith, you set to work on reason. Re-evaluate yourself, re-focus yourself on the good.

Even in a prison cell, even with nothing left to you, you can do this. 

And you must! St. John’s commenters will exhort you to pray. And that is good and well met! But do more. 

Heed Boethius. 

Work on thyself!

Arthur Miller’s famous play, The Crucible, melts together two of the Left’s favorite hobby horses: the Salem Witch Trial and McCarthyism. Rebellion against a harsh, theocratic order by a group of heroic freethinkers is the narrative context of the play. Rebels are heroes, they are in the hot seat or in the crucible, facing the ideological rigidity the enemy.

Everybody can tell you now that these days an inversion is going down. The liberalism of old is melting together with tyranny, changing into today’s rigid neoliberalism. Today the neoliberals are becoming the tyrants placing everyone else in the crucible. Many who languish feverishly in the cauldron perceive the gathering heat and speak of resistance, here and there, in flavors of warfare. One said 3G warfare, the next 4G, and now 5G warfare! Warfare now appears like cell phones!!

All eyes are trained on Donald Trump. He has less than a day to act, from within his own crucible.  Will he submit or fight? The new order is coming, will it be alloyed with the neoliberals or those doomed in the pot as the cannibal stew? 

 

 

In their 1984 movie, Stop Making Sense, The Talking Heads turned in one of their greatest performances with their song, “Life During Wartime.” The song is dark in subject, but hopeful in spirit, set facing perhaps an apocalypse. The speaker frantically runs through strategies and copes, while refraining to hopes which are dashed by the chorus of “I ain’t got time for that now!!!” Through it all singer David Byrne’s impish and charming gyrations flood the performance with masterful frantic energy. I remember well seeing this movie in the theater as a teenager, after my  good friend Todd told me I’d love and so we went. He was right! It makes a big impression!

If we in America are not facing an apocalypse of sorts right, that would be hard to tell from here in the Washington, DC area. A metamorphosis has occurred! We have gone from a sleeply, cliquey town filled with villainy to an occupied camp filled with villainy! Our world of roadblock, suspect vehicles, and the sense that things just might run off the rails fit nicely with the lyrics:

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
Packed up and ready to go
Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway
A place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I’m getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, lived in a ghetto
I’ve lived all over this town

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain’t got time for that now

Transmit the message, to the receiver
Hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas

You don’t even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading
Everything’s ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nighttime
I might not ever get home

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd Club, or C. B. G. B.
I ain’t got time for that now

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
Somebody see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones
Ain’t got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can’t write a letter, can’t send a postcard,
I can’t write nothing at all
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
I’d like to kiss you, I’d love you hold you
I ain’t got no time for that now

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
we blended with the crowd
We got computer, we’re tapping phone lines
I know that ain’t allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle, so many times now
I don’t know what I look like!

You make me shiver, I feel so tender
We make a pretty good team
Don’t get exhausted, I’ll do some driving
you ought to get some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions
Then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day
whatever you think is best

Burned all my notebooks, what good are
Notebooks? They won’t help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace
The burning keeps me alive
Try to stay healthy, physical fitness
Don’t want to catch no disease
Try to be careful, don’t take no chances
You better watch what you say

That last part about not wanting to “catch no disease” and “You better watch what you say” really hit home in these times of COVID and of all the thought-policing going down!

With this tension in the air here one thing gnaws at us, imparting in most the sense that our status quo will change this week. Believing as he may for whomever or whatever force, with dread or wonder, each citizen perceives a paradigm shift in our lives and a divisive one. It’s arriving this week, with a bow tied on it!

This inauguration is unlike any that we have ever had. These affairs have been grafted to the civic and social life of the city. These are grand, celebratory occasions, modeled as a triumphant procession down Pennsylvania Avenue in throng-lined parade and viewing stands. Hundreds of thousands of celebrants line these things. Each state delegation among fifty throw their own ceremonial formal balls, and there are others, and tickets to each are coveted. Washingtonians spare no expense in preparation, in the planning, in the execution of the effort to get out there and put themselves forward in all this. O but not this time!!! This event is markedly not one “of the people” nor does it involve the life of the city.

This is comparatively a secret ceremony within an armed camp with patrols, with only a select few deemed privy. Why, a cynical alien might appear before you here, and as a stranger to Washington reasonably ask you this: “What happened, did they steal an election or something?”