AFTER PRAGUE

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I am overcome with a premonition of history repeating itself in the fall of the American Experiment. So many voices have warned that the Experiment is on the brink, but they will not stop the fall. The top is too heavy with power, greed, and control.

From the Museum Kampa Exhibition, Prague, April 12, 2017 —

“21st August, Wednesday, early in the morning. The army, the people, tanks, confusion, astonishment, anger, and fear. Few could have imagined that twenty years after the war, in times of peace and ‘normal’ life, without warning, without any legal acknowledgement, troops of alien, albeit allied armies, could enter the territory of a sovereign state. . . . The intervention by troops of the Western Bloc was unrealistic; the spheres of power had carefully been built up over the course of many years. Society was mobilised by several living ‘human torches’ (Ryszard Siwiec, Jan Palach, Jan Zajic, Evzen Plocek) and there were also protests and strikes. However the process of repression . . . couldn’t be prevented.

“Many works of art were created in direct reaction to the occupation, while other works appeared in the second half of 1968 and throughout 1969 that reacted to the absurdity of the occupation, the shock and the disappointment, . . . and represented intense reflection on an incomprehensible event that couldn’t be accepted by a sound mind.

“Disillusionment — The process of ‘normalizing’ conditions, in other words eliminating all the reforms that had been adopted in 1968, began immediately after the occupation. Moreover, 18th October was the day on which the Treaty on Conditions of the Temporary Stationing of Soviet Troops in Czechoslovakia, which was consequently extended to more than twenty years, was approved. It seemed, for a moment, that nothing was going on. Or that it would quickly pass. . . . Nevertheless, it was the swan song of free culture.”

In Czechoslovakia, hope came and was dashed by incomprehensible regimes, regression, and repression. Now, around the world, repetition looms. Smiling leaders limit potential, refuse individuality, command and punish while aggrandizing themselves. Their admirers applaud them and see no harm because their beautiful riches make them right.

The current leader of the USA said he “would be the best for women,” and continued:

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.”
“I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
“Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

He said these things, and they were published before he was elected. He thinks of women as property, as objects to be used. He brags about his sexual assaults. He believes he is entitled to abuse others because he is rich and famous. He is a sexual predator and he disavows the importance of his actions because “boys will be boys.”

He represents my country, the country which in the past has professed itself as fair and just, as a haven for all, as a sanctuary for all religions, safe for children and women and immigrants, the country where one can strive to greatness no matter one’s background, where protection of the law is equally applied to all . . . unless one is elite and then one is excused because “boys will be boys.”

His egocentric arrogance carries over into his approach to non-white people, non-christian people, non-american people, and particularly to non-wealthy people. Workers, women, people of color, “foreigners” and even animals may be used, lied to, touched, stolen from, manipulated, or murdered, because they do not count as valuable beings, only as things at his disposal. I refuse to accept a person with this attitude of supreme entitlement. I am baffled by those who accept him, even those who profit by his actions.

My words are redundant. I have said them for almost two years. I am tired of being angry and aghast. It is exhausting. There is a limit to such feelings. The alternatives are acceptance, pretended ignorance, rationalization, or escape. Me, I do not seem to explode, as Langston Hughes said. I am festering syrupy sweet. I hold my breath. I run, but cannot escape my country.

I had been envisaging progress in the last 50 years, but I was naïve, as citizens today prove. Under this regime, we are caged zoo animals, already habituated to the current situation, acting as if it is normal. Our free space gets smaller and smaller, and it is eliminated when the zoo administration wants to squeeze out a few more dollars for itself. We are isolated and powerless. Groups of us are prevented from intermingling. We cannot provide for ourselves, cannot protect ourselves, and we have lost our instincts and nature.

This is not the first zoo administration. We are far from unique. The highly-developed culture of Persia with its fine arts and sciences toppled. It happened with Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Indians and Mongols, Africans, and a list of others.

Each time egoism destroys a culture, a new government rises out of the ashes, with the toxic Phoenix of egoism reborn, waiting for its chance to take over. Control, power, and wealth are not given up voluntarily. They are narcotic. There is never enough for those who ingest it, and they use others to get more. They will kill this American Experiment. The Phoenix feeds upon the middle and lower classes which have no power, no time to think, no way up except manipulation, lying, stealing, using and abusing others, denying laws, all in imitation of the egoism of the rulers.

We are workers, thinkers, artists, lovers, eccentrics, sellers and buyers: the French and Americans, old and young, the Germans, Muslims and Jews and atheists, women and men of all persuasions, Chinese, Africans, and Peruvians, to name a few. Some imagine, “We are best and special,” but the truth is, we are the same. It is the egoist in the role of leader who is different, the one who says “boys will be boys,” waving off concerns about ethics, family, respect, liberty and equality.

The current egoist makes my stomach heave. He is like an abusive husband. Community and family members stay with him, smiling, making excuses, saying they love him, waiting for the good man to emerge who they know is hiding behind the façade. They say they can control him, that there is no harm being done. They stay and smile, despite the insults, despite the blows and bruises, but they cannot hide the horror.

He continues, not because he is good or powerful or right, but because he tricks others into thinking he is more important than they are. He says he is “the man,” he is “the one,” and he says it often enough, that others lose energy to contradict him. He says they need him, and finally, they believe it, even though he is not Goliath. He is the merely the king with no clothes.

For me, forget his treason with Russia, forget his IRS evasions, forget his nepotism, his lurid greed and misuse of federal funds for personal pleasure, forget his desecration of precious land and water, forget his obvious stupidity, limited attention span, and illiteracy, forget his aggressivity and impulsivity, forget his subversion of laws and the constitution. All of this would have been of no consequence, if the country had rejected the “boys will be boys” argument in the first place, before the election. Too many did not take note of their nausea in response to the rapist attitudes of this predator. They did not reject this so-called man. Now it is too late. His type, hallmarked by his misogyny, is institutionalized and will spread until the contagion kills us, even if he disappears.

I do not see a thread of hope for the American Experiment. I am not sure there will be enough air or water or land left for a new human zoo to arise after he kills us. Please, others will have to hope for me.

 

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