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On A Highway Out Alone

When is the progressive movement going to grow up? When are we going to quit scribbling on signs and become the Artists of Resistance this world needs, sculptors and painters of a political Renaissance, Michelangelo’s of a new era of idealism and human accomplishment?

This isn’t a diary, it’s a vision of our potential, a dream of what we have to leave behind, a dream of the years behind us and the years ahead of us, a dream of what we’ve been and what we must become.

Last night I dreamed about you,
I dreamed that you were older,
You were looking like Picasso,
With a scar across your shoulder.
You were kneeling by the river,
You were digging up the bodies,
Buried long ago.

We’ve been kneeling by the river of civil disobedience, afraid to cross it. We’ve been digging up the bodies of past failures, counting the fallen instead of being worthy of their sacrifice.



Last night I dreamed about you,
I dreamed you were a pilgrim,
On a highway out alone to find,
The mother of your children.
Who were still unborn and waiting,
In the wings of some desire,
Abandoned long ago.

Single payer is still unborn and waiting, campaign finance reform is still unborn and waiting, economic equality is still unborn and waiting, every child of reform we’ve longed to nurture and raise is still unborn and waiting. But the consequences aren’t unborn and waiting, they’re full grown and raging all around us. Ask yourselves why.   Ask yourselves how this will all end, ask yourselves what the final questions will be . . .

Were you there at Armageddon,
Was Paris really burning?
Could I have been the one to pull you,
From the point of no returning?
And did I hear you calling out my name,
Or was it forgotten long ago?

When those final questions are asked it will be too late for answers, no one will be calling out my name, or your name, or Jane’s name, or the name of anyone in this elementary school we call the Netroots. We haven’t done anything to be remembered for, all we’ve done is scrawl a few words of protest on blackboards no one else ever sees.

The activists of the Sixties tried to fight back. They did that much at least.

Last night I dreamed about you,
I dreamed that you were riding,
On a blood red painted pony,
Up where the heavens were dividing.
But the angels turned to ashes,
You came tumbling with them to the earth,
So far below.

To the earth of Nixonland, to the earth of the Reaganites, lit by the bonfires of a new Inquisition, ruled by the gods of profit, barren of idealism, stained with the blood of human dignity.

Last night I dreamed about you,
I dreamed that you were dying,
In a field of thorn and roses,
With a hawk above you crying,.
For the warrior slain in battle,
From an arrow driven deep inside you,
Long ago.

No arrows have been driven into any of us, but we’re still kneeling by that river, afraid to cross it, haunted by the consequences of crossing over, haunted by the consequences of not crossing over, kneeling there with the same unspoken questions in our eyes . . .

Will we suffer at the end,
Will there be no one to remember?
Will we banish all the old ghosts,
With the terms of our surrender?

Don’t ever surrender, it wouldn’t banish the old ghosts, we’d become ghosts ourselves, lifeless shadows in a dead world with no dreams left to dream, no words left to write, except perhaps these last ones for all the Netroots children who could have been Michelangelo’s but settled for scribbling on signs . . .

Last night I dreamed about you,
I dreamed that you were weeping,
And your tears poured down like diamonds,
For a love beyond all keeping.

Poured down for everything.
For the world we could have saved,.
For the angels turned to ashes,
For the ghosts we became,
And the dreams that turned to dust.

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Isaiah 88

Isaiah 88