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Mon Oct 5, 2020, 11:03 AM

The Banner of our Times

We are lucky enough to have a lake behind our house.

Of course, like most of the lakes in the suburban communities around where I live, I wouldn't say it is exactly pristine nature; we share the lake with a couple of dozen of other homes, all of whose yards you can look directly into. And the lake itself isn't even natural, but rather dredged for the purposes of retaining water which we in turn can use to water our lawns.

But even so, it's still a place of calm for me. You can walk out behind our house and find quite a surprising variety of wildlife. Many water birds--from ducks to egrets to herons to storks and spoonbills. Lots of fish and turtles of various sorts. A couple of times we've even been lucky enough to spot the rare alligator.

And multiple times a day, I'll go out and take in the scene. Usually it's for the benefit of our one-year old poodle and the relief of his bladder. Like most one year old dogs, he's typically rambunctious and playful for much of the day, always wanting a ball or toy to be thrown or to be chased around the house. His trips to the lake are his one big exception. Even he seems to get an immense sense of placid enjoyment out of our surroundings. As I guide him on his leash, he'll inevitably pull me towards the edge of the lake, where he'll simply prop himself on the grass and do nothing more than sit and quietly contemplate and appreciate the scenery around him for several uninterrupted minutes.

He gets it too.

You'll know whenever Trump is in town, over at Mar-a-Lago not an hour away. You'll know it because of the amount of re-directed air traffic that flies over our house because of the air restrictions around the Madman's golden palace by the sea. I don't mind the planes themselves; they come and they go, as airplanes always do. I do, however, hate that it serves as a reminder that the human embodiment of everything that is wrong with our country has taken up if not actually in our literal backyard, then in our figurative one. I wonder when it will all change, where I can talk about the days in past tense where our country was ruled by someone so callous, narcissistic and destructive, and how I could feel his presence merely by the amount of planes that flew overhead. And how good it is that such is no longer the case. But we still have not yet reached that magical "past tense" stage.

But Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago yesterday. Instead, Trump was at a military hospital outside of Washington, DC, he himself being treated for a disease that he had so foolishly disregarded to the detriment of our country and to the endangerment of millions. And so, I was able to walk my brown-furred boy down to the lake undeterred by conscious thoughts of the Madman, where he promptly took his usual seat for his moment of zen.

I shared in the moment, spotting something I originally thought was a baby alligator. (Alas, it turned out only to be a softshell turtle.)

Everything felt good and right at the moment...good and right until I could hear the distant hum of a propeller powered airplane from far away.

It did not fly right over the house to distract my dog's attention, but rather far enough in the periphery several miles away. But as far away as the plane might have been, it was not so far that I was unable to see what the plane was towing.

It was a banner, a banner much like you sometimes see at the area beaches at times when area beaches were still packed with a captive audience for whatever product or message was being sold. And my distance vision still being fairly good (knock on wood), I was able to make out enough of the banner to understand what it was pushing.

I could see a flesh colored figure, topped off with what appeared to be blondish hair. Beside it was red, white and blue script. I could not make a 100% positive ID on either the person or the text, but I knew enough about the cult of personality displayed on so many boat and car parades that has infected this country to know that this was--without a doubt--a Trump banner.

And at that moment, I began to feel something, and quite a sad feeling it was. I began to feel the way I know so many people who live under the heel of autocrats both hard and soft, that they could not even enjoy a simple moment of quiet nature without their thoughts being harshly interrupted with the reality that they do live under that heel. A totality of society. A perversion. A cancer.

I immediately thought back to a political cartoon from the Los Angeles Times' David Horsey from late 2015, before Trump was even president but when he was already commanding the airwaves as a candidate with his toxic presence. It depicted a fictional dystopian future of an imagined Trump Presidency. Giant banners with his name on all street corners. Giant portraits of Trump everywhere. Underneath, frightened immigrants and foreigners were being pulled away by brownshirt-like squads.

In 2015, it still all seemed like a hyperbole. It seemed like an exaggeration for maximum effect, the United States devolving into totalitarian fascism centered upon Donald Trump.

And perhaps the cartoon still might be a bit of an exaggeration. We have not reached complete totalitarianism yet. We still have an election that we hope and pray will reflect our democratic will, as opposed to being a sham exercise much like what elections have become in Putin's Russia.

But it is far less of an exaggeration these days than I would ever wish to feel comfortable. To see one man's name printed on flags--flags usually being objects that are supposed to symbolize things that are greater than any one person--and then waved around in massive parades above the flag of our own country, if our own country's flag is even there at all. The ever present depictions of the Madman, some to seemingly comical extents not befitting a frail 74 year old man, even though those displaying the image seem entirely sincere in their God-like devotion to the man.

The fact that I can't enjoy a simple, quiet moment in the backyard with my dog without having it forced upon me who is in charge of this country and all the hell he has brought upon it so far, and how far too many of my fellow citizens seem inexplicably enraptured in a cult of worship of such a toxic Madman.

The seeds of totalitarianism in this country have already been planted, and we all wait to see whether it will wither and die, or alternately choke out all that we have so meticulously cultivated for our harvest.

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Reply The Banner of our Times (Original post)
Tommy_Carcetti Oct 2020 OP
regnaD kciN Oct 2020 #1
Tommy_Carcetti Oct 2020 #2

Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Mon Oct 5, 2020, 11:07 AM

1. You live in a "stand your ground" state...

...so wouldn’t it be legal for you to shoot down that plane if it flew over your property?

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 5, 2020, 11:38 AM

2. Not sure where the law stands as to that.

But the legislature being what it is, anything is possible.

Except ex-Felons being able to exercise their civic rights after returning to society, I suppose.

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