I Can See Clearly Now

Richard Skinner
Fireworks and Lightning

Literally. I do so love it when I can properly use a word that has taken such enormous and undeserved abuse!

You see, in early June (the 11th, to be exact), the frames for my glasses finally disintegrated beyond repair; no amount of inventive language or copious applications of Superglue and/or duct tape could revive them. Thanks to my own parsimony, that prescription was at least twelve years old, and thus no longer valid. New eye exam required. (The “backup” glasses were an even older prescription — although the frames were just barely wearable.)

So, off to the cheap* mall place for an exam, and a new pair of spectacles. Two new pairs, actually, as I needed one for “computer distance” and one for everything beyond that (I’ve had bifocals for years, but finally realized that they were actually causing a fair proportion of my chronic neck pain as I wobbled my head up and down.) Off to the mall, that is, on the last day of June. Everything has been backed up, including optometrists. I count myself fortunate that the idiot in the State Capitol did not shut the malls down again just the day before; apparently he didn’t make quite such a mess in his pants this time around.

Which is a rather long-winded lead-up to what I’m actually blogging about today. As I was walking out of the mall to my car, an old song — one from my childhood in 1972 — began playing in my head.** “I Can See Clearly Now”, by Johnny Nash, a joyful reggae number about overcoming obstacles and seeing clearly now that the rain is gone. As usual, my mind wandered off to find “meaning” in the lyrics.

Well, I thought, the rain has been falling heavily on our Republic for some months now. Still is, as a matter of fact — the clouds are still very dark, no blue skies visible anywhere we seem to look, no rainbows appearing. The year started with a gaggle of politicians LARPing on the stage of Impeachment Theater. Then the “We’re all going to die!” pandemic. Then “peaceful” riots, looting, and burning. Add in media bias, political corruption, a terrible economic downturn…

Every so often, I watch a podcast (TimcastIRL), with three young people — okay, the eldest is 34, but that is still just barely out of the whippersnapper range for me. Lately, it has been nearly all doom and gloom. The Republic is done for; only a bleak tyranny lies in our future; the Grand Experiment that is our nation is over and done with.

Pardon me, but BULLSHIT!

One advantage of having lived to my age, plus a study of history (especially United States history, far more than is ever seen in even graduate schools these days) is that I have seen this before. Many times. Both long before I was born, and during my own lifetime.

There have been attempts to subvert the dream, ones which started even as our Constitution was being drafted. There were those that seriously advocated replacing King George III with King George I.

There have been horrible and immoral Supreme Court decisions handed down (very few of which have ever been corrected by that elite bunch of would-be oligarchs — note that Dred Scott was not reversed — it became moot only when the Constitution was changed under them).

Abraham Lincoln did assume the powers of a dictator — one can argue that his actions were necessary, but never that they were Constitutional, as applied to the “insurrectionists.”

Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt; only the worst offenders in the quest for absolute dominance over the body politic. Barack Obama was a piker compared to those two.

In my own lifetime, for God’s sake…

The year 1967 was the original “Summer of Love.” The hippies descended upon San Francisco to create their “collective utopia” — one based upon the “equality” of Marx and his vile successors. Yep, violent crimes skyrocketed in that neighborhood; rapes, theft, violent assault, massive drug abuse.

That year was also the year of the “Long, Hot Summer.” When urban centers across the country erupted in violent “protests,” with the usual attendant looting, burning, and more general criminality. Incidentally, fomented by agitators — both black and white — just like today. Except that they were Black Panthers and white college dropouts that were “anti-war.” The latter were about as organized as Antifa — which allows the “historians” of the period to pooh-pooh their existence, just as the apologists do today.

But we have a pandemic, too! Well, yes. The year 1967 didn’t see the quick “one-two” punch that we are reeling from right now — that other punch was delayed until the next year, when the Hong Kong flu struck. Which, incidentally, definitely killed one million people, perhaps as many as four million. The death toll from CoViD-19, hyper-inflated as it is, has “only” reached slightly less than 425,000 — and new deaths are rapidly dropping. (These are global figures.) There were some riots in 1968, but less widespread, even though they actually had some better justification in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Economic troubles? Were you around when another power hungry politician (yes, a Republican again, as though that ever made a difference — see above) took a page from FDR and decided that he could “freeze” prices and wages (twice — they were removed briefly and then reimposed five months later when the real world reared its ugly head once more). Jimmy Carter was responsible for most of the “malaise” that ensued, but Nixon laid the foundations for his later idiocy.

Okay, historical rant over. The TLDR is that we’ve seen this before. For some reason, the Republic, battered and bleeding, came back. It seems that Mother Liberty smiles upon us, even when we are at our stupidest. We’ll come back yet again. When? No idea, quite honestly, but those blue skies will reappear, and we’ll assess the damage, figure out where our roof went off to (as my poor neighbor did a couple of summers ago; big chunk of it sailed right over my house and landed in the back yard — perfectly between the picnic patio and our above-ground pool), and start to rebuild. We still have the foundations, and they are sound. There will be weeds to trim back down, leaks to plug once again, and application of chainsaws and hammers.

In the meantime, rib eyes were on a “gonga sale” again this week, so, on this Fourth Day of July, in the Year of Our Lord 2020, I shall once again follow the ritual of Man, Meat, and Fire and make my smoking offerings to the Goddess Libertas. Following which, the Marine Son shall treat family and guests to a display of colored fire in the sky, in remembrance of the defenders of Fort McHenry at another time in our history when the future looked bleak.

As a “blog friend” of mine (Sarah Hoyt) says constantly — “Be not afraid.”

*****

* I suppose a $450 total bill is “cheap” these days, but I’m at the age where I grumble more and more about “In my day…”. Ah, well.

** Thinking on it, I believe that the mind track that ran was the cover version of the song by Jimmy Cliff; the one used in the (VERY fictionalized) 1993 Disney movie “Cool Runnings.” I do prefer that version, after listening to both of them again just today.

*****

Image credits:

“Blue and Red Brocade Fireworks at Night” – photograph by Laziii Codar, downloaded from Pexels.com. Used under Creative Commons CC0 license.

“Lightning Jolt During Night Time” – photographer unknown, downloaded from Pixabay.com. Used under Creative Commons CC0 license.

As usual, the rather hasty composite image created from these two is entirely my responsibility, not that of the photographers.

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