Like the Shroud of Turin, its facets and details are only made visible when viewed in the negative light. A brightness highlighted by the absence of light, details hewn out of the darkness and illustrated by the stars in the night sky above. Light is not the enemy of the stars as the stars are made of light itself. But it is that same light that blinds us to all that goes on around us in daylight; the night sky is always there, we are just blind to it.
We accept the image of the reflection unquestioned, but we never look at the gray side of the mirror just to be sure. We are plied upon for our emotional response to allow millions who have entered this country illegally to be allowed to stay. We must be compassionate, caring and comforting but in the gray side of the mirror there are millions of our own people sentenced to prison until George W. Bush is a geriatric for the crime of smoking the wrong kind of cigarette. Where is our compassion? What image does that reflect?
We look at the poor in America as deserving of their poverty, a well-earned punishment, a noble and just institution, a sanctified institution, our own peculiar institution. Just as the American Southerners once looked on their own peculiar institution, they saw nothing wrong in the mirror. They never dared, even when challenged, to look into the gray side of the mirror. They had to accept the image of the bright side that they were successful because they were smarter and wiser and more industrious. Their wealth was a self-serving justification of their own superiority, they couldn’t possibly look into the gray side of the mirror.
It was too frightening even to comprehend because their fortunes were built on misery, suffering, blood, depravity and slavery. So we admire ourselves in the mirror today, we are much better now. Don’t we look nice, a black man running for President, a woman running for President but what do they say that should make us admire ourselves so? A Chinese man labors in a coal mine without breathing apparatus and an Indian man labors with a cutting torch and no welding goggles. Chinese teenage girls work 18 hours a day making Barbie dolls, Doctor Barbie, Hollywood Barbie, Rock Star Barbie, but in the gray side of the mirror it's only Slave Girl Barbie.
Is it really any different? Only the size of the plantation has changed and the names have been changed to protect the profitable. But their arguments don’t change; the industrious succeed on their own merits because of their superiority and the weak fail from their own moral deficiency. The fallacy of saying a crop failed, blighted by drought, because it didn’t try hard enough or it lacked moral training or its genes were inferior from the start. That the one or two plants that did grow and bear fruit are proof positive that all the others were defective. They wouldn’t dare look into the gray side of the mirror, too well-educated not to understand but their education was by the comfortable book not by the uncomfortable beating. Their education was on the bright side of the mirror and they were taught not to fear the gray but to ignore it. That it’s only an illusion, a myth, like a unicorn or a leprechaun.
Like the illusion of a free country, a free country where you can marry anyone that you happen to fall in love with or that any boy can be President. Fanciful, childish, ridiculous notions, illusions like free and fair elections. Clinton beats Obama in New Hampshire despite exit polls and McCain defeats Huckabee in Virginia despite exit polls. Polls that, before the year 2000, were never wrong are now regularly wrong as lie begets lie, reflected in the shiny side of the mirror. Look into the gray side of the mirror and ask yourself, why do the candidates who most represent the status quo, the power structure and the insurance companies, the ones most out of step with the aspirations of the American people, always win?
Could it be that we are voting only for our own reflection? Seeing the world only as it is presented to us when we know damn well that it is not so. The reflection that engulfs us, overwhelms us, overpowers us and castrates us. Light's full spectrum is turned upon us to disintegrate us with magnified rhetoric and melt us with sophist logic. Those outside the spectrum are seen as agitators, instigators, traitors, terrorists or the enemies de jour.
They are accused of igniting class warfare, a nonsensical and insulting premise because, in the gray side of the mirror, Taft Hartley was Pearl Harbor, the PATCO strike was the D-Day invasion and NAFTA was Hiroshima. On the shiny side all is peaceful and bright, on the gray side casualties and blight. The war is over and they’ve won, well almost. But, like Stalingrad, we hang on, fighting from the ruins of the tractor factory, not for Stalin or for our leader or the party, but for ourselves and our dignity.
So, we must step out of the cave and free ourselves from the fetters of the reflected illusions. Adjust our eyes to the world as it is rather than accept the Hollywood, pre-paid phone card illusions. Easy credit, easy debt, increasing struggle, sudden death, the illusion that they are giving you something, when all they are giving us is fetters. Smoke 'em if you got 'em but f**k you if they make you sick. Billions for nuclear fuel, little or nothing to reach the schools, invade a country in 90 days and two years later Federal money reaches the city of New Orleans.
A dysfunctional Goth girl, cutting herself with razor blades because of the image that she sees in the mirror. A dysfunctional country still thinking it's John Wayne, unable to understand why it hears the rasping sound of Vader’s respirator in its ears. Unable to understand why the crowd boos or the cow moos or even understand the news. Lost in their own reflection, beyond defection, beyond detection, beyond recollection.
A mirror smashed is seven years bad luck but for those of us looking into the gray side, we’ve been there and done that. You can’t threaten our future with superstition now, for we have none! The falling shards will not cut us for we are already shredded and fractured and fragmented. Those are our lives down on the killing floor and maybe you can see us there then, perhaps that is the only way to make them see us. By smashing the mirror and in doing so we extract only reciprocity, the destruction of one class by another. A leveling of the playing field, the levy waters seeking their own level.
Evil is done in the name of power and profit, reciprocity is done in search of justice and only assisted by the hammer of vengeance. The slave master killing the slave is evil, the slave killing the slave master is justice. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a pound of flesh is the price of American arrogance and callousness towards its own people.
A number easily covered fifty times over, a hundred times over in Iraq alone. It is all too frightening for them even to comprehend because their fortunes are being built on misery, suffering, blood, depravity and slavery. But much more than the slave masters of old they don’t need us anymore. They turn us loose like chickens to scratch in the dirt saying, "Relish your freedom!" You see, they have new slaves, improved slaves, slaves that don’t talk back or form labor unions. Slaves that don’t complain about the environment, too busy to worry about their children’s future. Slaves ignorant of the past and buying into the boss man's promise of a better tomorrow. Better until they find newer slaves still, who’ll work longer, work cheaper, complain less and die quietly. "Do a good job now and the company will do good things for you boy, there now, that’s a good boy!"
Perhaps I’m overwrought, from looking into the gray side of the mirror; it has that affect you know. Maybe I should watch television or listen to main stream radio, that will calm me down. I could watch Law and Order where constitutional rights are portrayed as just loopholes for the evil maniacal villains to escape from the justice dispatched from the hands of saintly prosecutors. Maybe I just need another dose of Hillarybarbitol or Dr. Barrack’s Soothing Syrup to quiet me down. Maybe if I just ignore the truth I’ll be much happier, but the gray side of the mirror won’t let me do that , so you'd better make it a double dose.
"I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than for what I don’t want and get it."
(Eugene V. Debs)