Friends, liberals, Americans …

Every now and then I see posts on social media that just make me sad. The latest are the ones about the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar in which a president who looks a lot like Donald Trump gets stabbed to death. Apparently, liberals love it and conservatives hate it.

As someone who remembers the history of Rome and has actually read the play and watched it several times … this is completely backwards.

Caesar (in Shakespeare’s play and in real life) was a competent, well-meaning leader who strengthened Rome and its republic. He was murdered by anti-republican cowards who immediately installed a dictatorship which led directly to the fall of the Roman empire.

Caesar was the hero. Mark Antony’s speech was a masterpiece of calling out cowards and liars who had betrayed their country and its legitimate leader.

For a liberal to praise this play, he must condemn his own kind. For a conservative to complain about it … is to admit he missed Shakespeare’s point.

I tend to believe that, as so often happens, young, politically idealistic liberals designed a scene based entirely on appearance and emotional impact with no concern for its actual substance and meaning and conservatives jerked their knees to the style without realizing the Shakespeare was speaking for them.

But what do I know. Maybe if Shakespeare were alive today he’d be writing plays with antifas heroes. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. The only real lesson here is that art is wasted on people whose idea of subtlety is holding up a severed head, setting trash cans on fire and chanting.

The stuff nightmares are made of …


It came in the mail today. Another package from the Wong Trading Company of Oslo, Norway. This time, instead of documents and photos, it was a wooden crate and inside the crate … a stone. Tentacles taking a longboat. Death in dark water. A Nordic nightmare carved into stone.

And a note from the girl who sent it … and all the other packages. She found me through my daughter. And I have her name, a confession of sorts and a warning. A warning that the museum had her on video taking the stone. They know who she is now. They’ll be looking for her.

They probably won’t find her. She went into the dark water with a rune carved in birch, a ship filled with automatic weapons and a ritual. If she was successful, it’s all over now.

If she failed, the dreams will begin tonight.

Fine. I’m a Shadow.

I’m getting a really strong Babylon 5 vibe from this election.
When I say this, I’m talking Trump vs. Bernie.
Trump and Bernie are both outsiders. They both represent real, actual people and not just the ruling political parties who only care about perpetuating their own power and corruption.
Both are genuinely good people with genuinely good goals. I know a lot of people will say they’re so opposite that there’s no way that is even possible, but it really is.
Bernie supporters aren’t blocking highways and throwing feces and urine at police in Cleveland. We all know those are Hillary supporters … the same Hillary supporters who helped create chaos and commit massive voter fraud to keep Bernie off the ballot.
The shame is that while the Republicans failed to keep Trump off the ballot, the Democrats succeeded in their plot against Bernie.
Let’s face it, an election between Cruz and Hillary would have been a waste of everyone’s time. You’d have to choose between supporting the status quo or stopping things from changing.
Trump vs. Bernie would be about two equally valid and moral ideologies. And that’s what brings me back to Babylon 5. When I talk to a Bernie supporter, half the time, I feel like I’m talking to a Vorlon.
For those who don’t remember a big part of Babylon 5’s plot revolved around the endless battle between the Vorlons and the Shadows, two ancient races who represented good and evil … except at the end, it turns out that’s not what they represented at all. It turns out that the being that created both races had meant for them to look after emerging civilizations, but they’d had a falling out over the best way to do it.
The Vorlons saw themselves as shepherds. They wanted to help and protect everyone. For most of the series, they were portrayed as the good guys.
The Shadows were portrayed as constantly attacking people and being against everyone. But it turned out, the reason they did that was they believed if you fed and clothed and protected a race, it would never evolve. It would remain at the level of a well-fed pet forever. The Shadows believed that rather than fighting for the oppressed, it was better to teach them how to fight, or create conditions where they’d either learn or perish.
That is essentially the difference between liberals and conservatives. At least if you strip away the over the top rhetoric and outright lies that people in the mainstream establishment tell about their enemies.
The truth is we need to learn to work together.
Bernie is right. There needs to be a basic standard of living that we will not allow any of our people to fall beneath. It is our responsibility as Americans to take care of other Americans.
But Trump is right, too. We can’t allow people to live their entire lives at that basic level without making any effort to improve themselves. And we can’t help people who aren’t willing to do basic work of coming here legally.
Our current system is broken. Trump can’t fix it. Bernie can’t fix it. Hillary is the rust that’s destroying it.
The only hope is for Bernie and Trump supporters, the actual people of America, to come together and find some kind of middle ground.
You help us close the borders. We’ll help you make it possible to send every legal citizen who wants to attend college to go to college.
We’ll help you proved a safety net for people who need welfare. You help us make sure that net doesn’t turn into a trap they spend their entire life in.
We’ll help you see to it that police who murder innocent people are dealt with immediately and harshly. You help us see to it that criminals who attack the police are dealt with just as harshly.
We both agree that either all lives matter or no lives matter. Anything else is just partisan politics and that’s what’s killing us both.

Still fighting Ozymandias

Conservatives fight liberals the way Indians fought cowboys. They win a fight. They celebrate. They move on. Every issue is re-evaluated every time.
Liberals fight conservatives like the cavalry fought Indians. After each fight, they build a fort and dig in. Their only interest is in more forts and more territory.
You give them civil rights, they want gay rights. You give them gay rights, they want transgender rights. You give them that and, yes, they will want more. Because each new generation wants a new fort and more territory. They will always look for something to champion and the causes will become more ridiculous but they will never abandon it.
The people patting themselves on the back for making the ladies room safe for men today … will be grownups in 20 years who’ve become conservative and they’ll resent being called bigots by the kids who are pushing to legalize pedophilia or bestiality.
It’s not good or bad. It’s just the cyclical nature of the universe. If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re still a liberal when you’re 40, you have no brain.
And like all civilizations, ours will become more liberal and more progressive. Like the Romans, and the Greeks, and the Sumerians. Like the Aztecs and the Mayans. Like the Egyptians. Like all the other dead cultures who showed promise in their youth, then progressed so far they destroyed themselves in an orgy of tolerance.
The good news is that what replaces us will be magnificent. Of course, it will be built by conservatives and capitalists. The Napoleans, the Alexanders, the Khans, the Washingtons. The people who understand that the true test of a machine is what it produces and not how well it tolerates rust.
Then that, too, will fall apart when it has worked so well and produced so long that people with no fear of starvation or suffering will become obsessed with making life better for people who contribute nothing and the expense of people who created all.
Morality, ethics and honor can fall out of fashion and they can be outlawed but they will always exist and in the end, they are the values that will be needed by those who have to rebuild from the rubble left when liberalism fails … as it always has and always will.
Politics come and go. Movements come and go. Nations and civilizations come and go. But the people are forever. We have witnessed the rise and fall of Ozymandias a thousand times and we still gather to tell of the time he thought he ruled us.
We always have and we always will.