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A star to sail her by...
29 September 2010 | Ron Pickrell

Posted on 09/29/2010 11:54:42 AM PDT by pickrell

Instead of looking for that celebrity to chart our course, we need to return to looking at our children.

But that is one of those throwaway phrases, right? It is something that can mean anything and so has no meaning.

Except, that it is not.

It is in it's simplicity a signpost to what has gone wrong. No one outside of the Democratic base disputes any longer that something has gone terribly adrift. And most everyone recognizes that this time- we don't have the luxury of a slow, cautious, gentle series of course corrections to see how effectively the rudder still works...and belatedly learn what it is used for.

We're not poring over the nav charts- instead we're horrified to see the very shoals themselves now up close. And that is only what we can immediately see. Like any icefield, the rockfields underneath are far greater and more dangerous than what breaks the waves. As we glance back around the bridge, the captain is preening himself in his dress whites, so far out of his depth that we're are about to be in our depths.

Most everyone is trying desperately to claim something that floats for when everything else is underwater. The problem is that simply staying afloat won't save you from being ground up on the sharp coral. The undertows cannot be bargained with, and desperate men won't respect that your life jacket is not now their life jacket.

The ragged and desperate can still vote, and after the smash there will be more of them than you. Your flask of coffee, your little homemade raft, and your carefully assembled provisions will soon be voted away from you as property goes the way of security. If you think fate is a cruel hunter, say hello to property taxes and levies.

And when the detritus of the ship as well as the survivors finally are washed up past the breakwaters onto a barren beach, the ones who will survive are those who most quickly understand that circumstances have changed.

Those who sit fretting on the driftwood, chastising the greedy corporations to hurry up and come build a new super-liner, irritated that the porters haven't yet begun serving appetizers or at least setting up tables, are in for a killing shock. You can't help them. If they haven't figured it out by then, they are lost.

If you are so overcome by the madness as to take a poll right then and there, you will find that 46 percent of the castaways still have "absolute or substantial faith" that the captain is doing a good job. Over 56 percent, though, approve of the captain personally, and only 31 percent admit to wanting all the incumbent bridge crew replaced with less popular junior officers who actually have experienced successful previous voyages. The problem, you hear whispered, is that they aren't union, and so are unwelcome above decks. You'll find the madness confirmed all around you as the insanity of those polls escapes the ones sprawled among the wreckage, anxious and indignant to vote themselves back onto a luxury liner. Any luxury liner. But only if it has a 'green' engine room. Heads nod primly in agreement at this. You glance out at the massive oil slick from the ruptured fuel bunkers on the wreck, and boggle at their abilities to deceive themselves.

It never occurred to them- and you suddenly now realize that it never will- that the most important vote of all was to have chosen a captain and bridge crew who had at least a clue as to the realities of navigating a harsh and unforgiving ocean. All the free stuff would matter little as you thrash about in the cold and the wet. Overwhelmed in their adoration of the 'dream crew', the masses of passengers didn't notice or have the whit to understand the danger signals flashing at them. That the wheel and compass were dismissed as mere oddities disdained by the postmodern heroes who transcended such artificial constraints as shipping lanes and charts, and who instead spent nearly all quality time in teachable moments, holding court in the olympic-sized pool area. They knew all about water, having once dove into the deep end, before quickly toweling off. Raffles were held as the ship's safes were opened and jewlery and valuables were 'discovered'. Money was raised, then distributed more justly. Bow lookouts meanwhile screamed themselves hoarse, but no one responded in time.

The tragi-comic refugees working to organize a protest against the palm trees are beyond help now. Having invested so much emotionally into the crew and captain before this ill fated ship was lost- they cannot now bring their minds to see what they have wrought. They will insist, until they are too weak from hunger, thirst and fellow depredations, that the course was good but that the ship "just wasn't going fast enough." You can't help them because they are veering over the madness horizon, still flying their colors proudly in their own minds.

Far better to wander over to the small group of men who have hefted several logs into an ersatz desk, and are planning the maritime equivalent of the Flight of the Phoenix.

You notice that they are speaking about how, over the coming years, stone and seashell tools may be replaced with crude smelter-ore implements that could increase efficiency. That many of them will not survive for the privelege of breaking their backs under the hardest of the work, and that those who do, fully realize that they'll have no berth on the next journey. But they offer what they have left in the planning phases, so that someday their children might be able to sail wherever they wish. For now the only thing left is to operate on love.

They have lost those wonderful chandeliers and magnificent staircases, that carpet and fretwork which promised ease and luxury over the remainder of their journey. The deck chairs now wash up ruined, and are stripped for the fasteners and webbing.

Those golden years have lost their glow, and will now be hard and pitiless. Some of them will necessarily be diverted guarding against those who not only will not help with rebuilding, but in fact will undermine that which they cannot understand. People building a new ship for those perhaps not even born yet? Men who sweat, shed tears not for themselves, but for the fact that this will be the best they can hand to their sons, along with the stern admonition about the lessons of history? What's the fun in that? There are no staterooms planned, no liveried servants? If it ain't for you, why do it? You'll shake your heads briefly at them, and return to your work.

Those who not only have lost the idea that life should be about providing for those who come after us, but worse- who have no interest in giving (or allowing) birth to those who would only sap those resouces better spent for fun stuff- will lose direction, lose meaning and often lose their freedom. Once stranded, the island bcomes smaller to them every day. They will spend their remaining days forming interest groups to maintain their fair share of the coconuts against those greedy industrialists who climb up and pick them.

Like the captain who needs vacation after vacation to try to bring joy into his life, but who only succeeds in wrecking the ship of state, the idea that the adoration and support of the rock star skipper and the celebrity crew must be the focus and meaning of life, is an empty conch shell. Pretty but useless when the storm hits.

A fool looks to chose exclusively among those of the elite, for the best promises of what delights and entertainments will be provided by the ship free from charge.

The few, the outnumbered, instead want to know what destination lay at the end of their journey, for their children's sake. They wish an adult discussion of where the ship intends to procede, and under what conditions.

For if the majority had looked at the children rather than at the crisply starched dress whites of the auditioning crew, they might not have suffered a series of teachable moments. Ones that lasted lifetimes without relent.

And finally, if you find yourself waiting to see if the mutiny among the passengers in November is successful and in time to do any good, don't just sit fretting. Instead use that precious time to decide for yourself, and pound into your kid's heads, where the safest course is from here, and what all can be thrown overboard, if push comes to shove.

And here is the hard part. If you have no kids... reach deep within your heart and operate as if they all are your kids. Only the love can bring the self sacrifice. And only the self sacrifice can give them at least some portion of the opportunities you had.

Why do you suppose your fathers and grandfathers did all that they did? Solely so that you could spend all of your inherited collective birthrights... on caribbean cruises? If they had known you were willing to pawn all that your grandchildren would have had, just to upgrade yourself now to a first-class cabin... would they have bothered?

Be like them- save the ship, or rebuild a new one.

TOPICS: Politics
KEYWORDS: children; hope; recovery
Just something to ponder on a weekday evening
1 posted on 09/29/2010 11:54:45 AM PDT by pickrell
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To: pickrell

Thank you, very well done.

2 posted on 09/29/2010 12:14:15 PM PDT by kallisti ("Think what you want. You're the one that has to live with your thoughts.")
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To: pickrell


3 posted on 09/29/2010 12:36:30 PM PDT by revolted
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To: revolted; kallisti

Thank you.

4 posted on 09/29/2010 5:38:53 PM PDT by pickrell (Old dog, new trick...sort of)
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