Monday, November 21, 2011

November 22

Tomorrow is the date in 1963 that President Kennedy was shot.  Every American alive then can tell you where he or she was at the moment they heard.  We are getting old and it is history.  But the hatred that may be the real story of that day is not history. America has always had this deep vein of hatred running through it.  I saw this weekend a local production of a play about the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.  The hatred goes back even farther than this.  It is rooted in our Declaration of Independence and our central lie that all men were created equal.  We had slaves, all thirteen states had slavery.  Slavery defined us and it still does.  At bottom, the hatred aimed at Lincoln, Kennedy and Obama is about the feeling that while we are slaves - to all kinds of forces beyond us - we have none.  It's about powerlessness and the inch-deep popular culture that cannot really sustain us.  It's about not really controlling ourselves or much of anything and not knowing what to do about it.  It's about being owned and having nothing we can really own.

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