Trimming the Ritual Fat

19 Jan


A State of the Union Address is like a public execution. The longer it goes on, the less is said.


I had a dream that I sat listening to a senator as he tried to explain to me just how the United States Constitution, the President and the media were all three persons in one yet, at once, three distinct persons. He told me never to fear when the President left after a State of the Union Address, for the media would come as a teacher and would remind us of all things that the President had said.


True freedom would be to do away with this convention called ‘borders.’ But then, I’m afraid, the casualty would be justice. Alas, we leave our borders up in faith that we’ll find this phantom, justice, somewhere among us.


Taxed for existing. Fined for dying. I trust that a statesman will one day come who will find a way to tax those who do not exist, as well.


The State often demands monetary payment for an ideological reward. One fee grants you ‘safer streets.’ One premium grants you ‘better education.’ One bill grants you ‘better national security.’ If only they could stick to the one tangible thing they offer in exchange for money—a nice coffin. But then, even this, I don’t really get a chance to see either.


I had a dream that everyone traded guns for knives. Battles grew fewer and fewer and so did the number of men who fought them. Soon, strict rules were set on how and when the opponent should be killed, so as not to ruin or corrupt the meat when he died.


It is quite appropriate today that the electoral voting system would grant us leaders who act as symbols of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ rather than their agents. After all, the Electoral College is merely a symbol as well.


A ‘symbol of hope’ or an ‘agent of hope,’—So long as ‘hope’ is the common denominator, the people don’t care which of the two they wind up with.


They tell me with terrible wonder in their eyes how there live people in North Korea who think that their Eternal President created the world. I say, so what? The west believes it is still creating the world with no end in sight.


Bloated vocabulary is a refuge to tautology.


How vulgar our common, over-used sentiments are once they finally pass over the lips of our statesmen and spread throughout the whole public discourse as though it was some new mandate to start using them. Just imagine what a disaster it’ll be when they get a hold of the word ‘love!’ But then, democracy rescues them from having to be so frank.


Constant recitation, repeated phrases, mimetically solidified beliefs transferred through intonations of voice and gestures of the hand, interpretation of the words of dignitaries and foundational texts, manias of crowd-emotion and group-think at public rallies sparked by a few words cushioned in all the unquestioned sentiments of The Party—Does this not all belong to the ministry of The State?


That there are only two forces at play in the country, that there is always a little conservativism in the heart of the liberal and always a little liberalism in the heart of a conservative, that the powers oscillate in a never ending cycle and that either a Democrat or a Republican will always be in charge, even though these two categories rest so adjacent to one another that the lines sometimes blur—this is the one Manichean heresy that America will allow into her good faith in mammon.


The state asks us to carry through ritualistically with the husk of an ideal, all while knowing that it is a husk. The illusion is in their promise that the husk will always be far more costly to clean up.


Men who love their nation perfectly well are often accused of being ‘unpatriotic.’ I suppose this is only a few syllables shy of what they really are. ‘Trimmers of ritual fat.’

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