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Romare Bearden: Tomorrow I May Be Far Away, 1967
"Lead us, please, into temptation and deliver us into the open arms of genuine evil, for we've come to revel in our supreme sense of invulnerability, for our freedom is our power and our glory forever and ever, Amen! Free …"

Our enemies show us who we are, who we become when under extreme duress. Our friends reinforce for us who we intend to be, but our enemies goad us into showing who we're capable of being when we stop trying to please. We never placate or reassure our actual enemies, but seem to seek opportunities to highlight just how evil they must certainly be underneath. We give no quarter, we take no prisoners unless forced to, and then, only begrudgingly. We have demonstrated our willingness to bankrupt ourselves when we're on a WarFooting. Nothing's too expensive then, we'll mortgage the farm and the truck and the cow without hardly considering how we might one day repay the debt. When it's war, we conscript our sons, willingly wager our futures, and forget what we learned in the past. Nothing seems too dear and we inure ourselves to committing unspeakable acts for righteousness' sake. We conscript God and all religions to sanctify our necessary insanity. We are gratefully rarely publicly warring, for we've grown to understand that we can hide what's going on in those distant war zones by keeping the press out and lying to the public about what those invisible tussles might really be about. We have no stomach for war or for the truths it discloses to us about ourselves.

I can tell that we are not on a WarFooting where our Damned Pandemic's concerned.
We're still reassured by rumors and largely insulated from the hot spot realities. Serious battles rage generaled by captains pulling rank to fill in for AWOL higher ranking officers. No strategy emerges when a war consists of only passionate skirmishes. No objective beyond narrow borders could ever emerge to inform the struggle. Real people die, but they die deaths unsanctified by formal recognition. We engage in "police actions", not battles. We might make local headway without ever approaching victory. A dastardly enemy focuses upon fragmenting our response. Repeated insults never coalesce into acknowledged belligerence, knife wounds invisibly bleeding us dry. We threaten ourselves better than any outside force seems to threaten us, though even this is an enemy showing us who we've become.

Anyone concerned about balancing a budget when on WarFooting fails to take their situation seriously enough. Refusing refugees amounts to denial of human responsibility. Failing to confront a mortal enemy must be cowardice unless you're a pacifist who supports the effort non-violently, everyone gets on board. We do not hoard our resources in the distant hope that we might get by without investing them. It's all-in or nothing when on a genuine WarFooting. We might honestly seek peace without deluding ourselves into discounting clear and present dangers. We might well engage reluctantly, but never half-heartedly; not if it's the real damned thing. Our enemy shows us who we are and who we've come to be even when we fail to answer the call, for wars can only be lost, never really won. Once begun, they degrade everyone involved. We should never initiate discretionary wars, for we can never know who they might make us become. Likewise, we should never shirk when anything better than pride's at stake. If our survival's on the line, we should be there on the line, too.

This virus could have been, really should have been, about as annoying as a fly. We might have flicked it off our shoulder had we met it a tad more boldly, but then maybe we didn't recognize an authentic enemy when it was only up grandma's nose. It posed as a minor annoyance, one of those things that affect France or China, and which we disinterestedly read about over breakfast toast. The assault built slowly, staying mostly in other people's lanes. Well, of course Italy's overwhelmed again! Have you seen how they live over there? We seemed so insulated here, separated by oceans and utter ignorance of who we've become, in need of an indecent enemy to remind us who we once were and also who we've become. We'd rather outsource the inconvenience, divide our forces, have each state decide their focus, encourage each to compete while peeing only in their end of the pool. Lead us, please, into temptation and deliver us into the open arms of genuine evil, for we've come to revel in our supreme sense of invulnerability, for our freedom is our power and our glory forever and ever, Amen! Free …

Today being Friday, I'll note on my way out how my writing week went. This was a good writing week for me, one filled with mystery and resulting discovery. I faced each blank page morning clueless about what I might scribble and yet still found plenty to nibble on. This was a foraging week, one which led me to believe again that this patch of woods holds infinite sustenance. Further, this was a week filled with expansive comments where readers seemed to actually engage in conversations around each topic every day. How remarkable is that?

I began the writing week by complaining about my rituals in
Bitchuals. I perform them, but I make some noise.

I was reading Zachary D. Carter's remarkable new biography of John Maynard Keynes, The Price of Peace, and felt moved to rant a bit about economics next in

I then wrote about those systems we cannot seem to understand in
Slipstems. We might know that Our President isn't anybody's systems thinker without acknowledging when we ourselves cannot quite cognitively connect that ankle bone to any leg bone.

I next felt moved to highlight my many minor-stitions in
'Stitions, noting how un-super my superstitions seem, but also how effectively they ward off evil anyway.

I then reminded myself of just how short and fragile life actually is in
Memento Mori.

I noticed how my continuing practicing has yet to result in much perfecting in
JustPracticing, reflecting that I might practice to get better at practicing whether or not I ever perform in front of an audience.

I finished my writing week by confessing that I was healing from a
Healing, a reflection that sparked the very most wonderful confessions and conversations from the readers here.

I end the week noting that we are curiously not on a WarFooting, but still unproductively skirmishing, seemingly only making matters worse for our hesitancy in coming to arms. As a life-long pacifist, I will not discount the fine sacrifices decent people have been making for us and cannot but reflect on how unnecessary these struggles might have been had we managed to take our situation more seriously. We are now in a serious situation, indeed. Three and a half years of a Reality TV Presidency have left us dazed and unprepared. Fortunately, our enemies will always agree to tell us just who we are, especially when we seem especially ready to turn away our slander-deafened ears. We are NowHere, with bells on.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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