Heavy Horses--A Rock and Roll Epistle
By Richard Girard
"Iron-clad feather-feet pounding the dust,
An October's day, towards evening;
Sweat embossed veins standing proud to the plough,
Salt on a deep chest seasoning.
Last of the line at an honest day's toil,
Turning the deep sod under;
Flint at the fetlock, chasing the bone,
Flies at the nostrils plunder.
The Suffolk, the Clydesdale, the Percheron vie
with the Shire on his feathers floating;
Hauling soft timber into the dusk,
to bed on a warm straw coating.
Heavy Horses, move the land under me;
Behind the plough gliding--slipping and sliding free:
Now you're down to the few
And there's no work to do
The tractor's on its way."
"Heavy Horses," Jethro Tull
Heavy Horses, (1979)
I have the great good fortune to have been blessed with the constitution of a Clydesdale, and excellent surgeons.
My surgery was in reality a twofer: a hemithyroidectomy for a growth on the right half of my thyroid; followed by the fusion of my C4, C5, C6, and C7 vertebrae. The growth, some three inches across in its largest dimension, was benign, but it had to be taken out before the neurosurgeon could perform the fusion of the anterior cervical vertebrae, whose degeneration threatened me with paralysis or death in the next two to five years.
Now, two weeks after my twin operations, I feel sufficiently functional to sit down at my computer and write again. I just can't spend hour after hour doing so yet.
As the movie poster from Hammer Film's Dracula Has Risen From the Grave-- which shows Christopher Lee's Dracula pulling the stake from his undead heart--states, "You just can't keep a good man down."
As we approach the 2010 election, I think that the time has come for all of us who remember--or at least have learned--our nation's history of half a century ago, to take counsel on events from that time and place. We must once again embrace the ideals underlying certain concepts like "cloth-coat Republican," and "New Deal Democrat," and wear them proudly in public, as well as in private. We must understand that only dictators, fanatics and madmen never compromise in the realm of politics. To quote the father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, "All government--indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act--is founded on compromise and barter." (Speech on Conciliation with America, March 22, 1775.)
Take that Grover Norquist. Your comments equating bipartisan politics to date rape are as out of touch with political reality in a republic, as your desire to make government small enough to drown in a bathtub is. I have one question for Mr. Norquist and his ilk: are you madmen, fanatics, or do you simply favor tyranny?
I keep hearing various right-wing pundits state that the sole hope for our nation's economic future lies in the creation and maintenance of high tech service industries and cutting edge technologies.
So, how are we supposed to create and maintain this utopian vision of the conservatives, without the basic industrial capacity that is required to build and support these technologies and services? By magic?
Dependency on uncertain foreign suppliers is not the answer, as was clearly demonstrated by the OPEC oil embargoes in the 1970's. We are the only industrial power that does not produce the steel and machine tools required to maintain its own basic industrial requirements. Those cutting edge technological jobs will be increasingly automated, requiring fewer people with better training and education to run the machines. What is not said is that these machines will still require people to mine the minerals, refine the ores, forge the metals, form the components, assemble the parts, drive the semis, etc., not only to manufacture and distribute these cutting edge machines, but to build and maintain the equipment required to build those machines.