thunder of portent
I stopped reading the book “Aberration in the Heartland of the Real” when I got to the point (roughly at page 400) when the author started going into the details of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and mind control. I’d probably felt like I’d hit a wall again of having been “battered and shattered” (the phrase I woke up with in my mind while the rest of the world was beginning to read about Wikileaks Vault #7)(see Fat In The Fire).
It was probably that sense of being personally and psychologically overwhelmed with the depravities to which the human can succumb, which our government can inflict, about which much of our populace can be ignorant or at least apathetic.
I’d been at that same place of feeling battered and shattered before; it’s starting to get annoyingly repetitive.
It started perhaps with the act of getting hauled off by a woman much larger than me who grabbed me by the ear and yanked me to the location and position she wanted me in, whether to see the error of my acts and my failures or to position me for finishing the job of more completely weeding her flowerbed or cleaning her floor, or bringing to the site of whatever next chore she’d picked out for me.
It continued with the act of watching grown-ups discuss amongst themselves, out of earshot of any of their adolescent charges, on that fateful extended weekend in Dallas.
It happened again when Bobby was shot, although at least then there was open weeping. I was in college at the time, and people were less reserved, less uptight, more hopeful of finding a way out of a war that was largely destructive, even of those who never got close to it. How many of us grew up wondering which family would next have to be told of the death of their son? Almost to a person, none of us knew the horrors of what was being done to another people, at least until we were told by citizen leaders who then had to pay a very severe price for speaking of it. In the end, you learn of those in the distance and those in the family who are left to rot to death because of the use of a sprayed poison.
Decades later, I was again shattered and battered with the knowledge that 3,000 souls can be killed in an single act on a morning, televised for the entire world to see, without anyone giving much thought to investigation or prosecution (except those few who signed their name to a petition or exercised the temerity of speaking up on an Internet discussion board).
It showed up again when I revisited that narrative about the bulldozer assault during the Gulf War, no longer cleansed and polished for heroic salutation but later opened for examination in all its brutality.
My feelings of being battered and shattered are, I suppose, a mild civilian form of PTSD. I’ve never been in combat. I’d probably have been the fellow who the general would have had to slap, or perhaps the one who ran AWOL, shrieking. Or perhaps the one who turned to embrace the violence and continue it. I had my moments in ROTC training when I was confronted with milder forms of violent reality, but that was mere pretense; I never saw any blood shed on purpose or by accident. But I had felt enough inside to know I couldn’t go down that path, and I didn’t.
Some would say I was a pussy, a coward.
I have a different perspective.
When one thinks for a bit about the divisions and crises that face the nation today, that pregnant moment of the unknown that hangs inside the clouds of a dark storm building up slowly off in the distance, the sense of impending trouble, a vague echo of my own personal run-up to the election of 2000, the high RPM 3rd gear “blinking red” prodrome before 9/11 which eventually got tamped down and packed down by my own personal medical events wrapped around interpersonal stressors, it raises the possible specter of haunting and repetitive visititations.
I’m no fan of Trump but the Clinton/Obama machinations are enough to make one sick. The Wikileaks revelations are the rumbles of thunder of portent.