Skip to comments.On the Day I Die
Posted on 02/16/2002 6:44:02 AM PST by mindprism.com
This week I learned Im dying. Of course Ive always known, in the everyday, human sense, that I was going to die. But this week I learned I am going to die soon. In a year or so at most, I wont be on this planet. No more breathing. No more Zinfandel or chocolate cake. No hugs. No sorrows. I wont ever again have to worry whether theres a run in my stocking when I go to a meeting with the boss, or whether I remembered to send a birthday card to my best friends husband.
Its a peculiar thought, looking at my own death, so close. But you know, it isnt a bad thought, all things considered.
Im 53 years old. That isnt old. I might have had another 30 years, if one little cell hadnt decided to start mutating out of control a while back. But 53 is old enough to have lived a good life. Its long enough to have become a full person, without all those "who am Is" and "what do I want to do with my lifes" that make youth so over-rated.
Its enough time to have loved-both in the frantic, desperate way of being young, and in the comfortable way of being an adult. Thats been an amazing, and a very happy, transition.
But I dont want to talk about love. I want to talk about freedom.
Well, I guess that means I do want to talk about love. Because I love freedom more than I love anything. Really, more than I ever loved my husband. Even more than I love my kids--and I think theyll understand and forgive me for saying so, even though that statement might require a little more explaining for strangers who might be reading this.
I have to say it again. I love freedom more than I love anything. More than I ever loved anything. And thats what makes the thought of dying so bitter, and at the same time, so welcome.
I guess that idea is going to take some explaining, too. Claire, tell them about me. Ive never been able to write, or even talk all that well about things that matter to me. So you tell people what kind of person I am. Make them understand.
Ive always been a political junky. You know me. Like some women shop, I do politics. No, that isnt putting it right. Not at all. I do politics...
I guess Id better say I used to do politics...because I couldnt stand still and let "them" take away our world. You know, the types who arent happy unless theyre running other peoples lives.
When I ran into a neighbor, co-worker or family member like that, I could just say, "Sayonara, Baby," and avoid them. But the people who really got to me were the ones who wanted to make endless rules for the whole country, the whole world, and make everybody else obey them. Just obey, all the time. I swear, you know, that these people dont even care what the particular rules are. They just like making and enforcing rules "because." For the power. For the control. For their other powerful, controlling friends. So they can all feel important and be in charge.
So I always had to try to stop those people. But there wasnt any stopping them. I found that out.
God, I wish I were a writer like you or a great orator or a wizard about the law or something like that. I wish I could have done something big during my life. But you know me, I was never anything but a little precinct worker, a drone, a little deputy voter registrar, doorbeller, meeting attender, envelope licker. One of those women you see in every campaign and every organization, never getting noticed and never particularly wanting to be. Just wanting to make the world freer-- or at least keep a little bit of the world away from the people who want to make it less free.
It was really kind of stupid, looking back on it, because nearly all of the people who said they believed in freedom turned around and, once they got in office, acted exactly like the other guys. They didnt really want less government and more freedom. They just wanted to be the ones in control.
But I just had to try, didnt I? Anyway, I did try. Just about all my life.
That expression "just about all my life" has a different ring all of a sudden. It really has been just about all my life. Will be just about all my life.
I wanted freedom so much. I wanted it just so that I and my kids could live an ordinary life. Making a living. Paying our way. Doing what we wanted to do, within the bounds of polite behavior to our neighbors. Just to live, without being ordered around, threatened or tangled up in red tape every time we tried to do something. I didnt have any spectacular ambitions. I just wanted to be let alone to live a peaceful life.
I have two daughters, you know. Theyre both in their early 20s right now. The youngest one, Edyie, was always a dreamer. She had all the ideas and ambitions I didnt dare to have. I remember, as a little kid, she swore she was going to go live on Venus someday. Then, when she learned Venus was really this awful place, she pouted for about two days, then switched to Mars. She figured we could colonize Mars.
I dont know whether thats realistic or not, but I always wanted to see Edyie get the chance to try if thats what she wanted to do. I wanted her to have the chance to try anything her wild little imagination could dream up. Maybe shed fail. But maybe shed succeed. And isnt that what keeps the human race moving? Edyie, impossible though she can be at times, is the kind of person who keeps the human race from sitting on its dead butt, getting nowhere.
But Edyie isnt going to have the chance, unless something comes out of the blue to turn things around. Edyies never going to get to Mars. Heck, she isnt even going to get a chance to build a little earthbound business because shes too independent to jump through all the hoops the government requires.
Yeah, I can just see my Edyie filling out forms in triplicate, collecting taxes from her employees and begging for government licenses--NOT! She isnt going to get a chance to make many personal choices-beyond what brand of soap or TV to buy-- because our choices are being limited day by day, and everywhere you turn, you run into something illegal. Maybe even something that was legal yesterday, but is illegal today, thanks to some regulation nobody ever heard of. She just wont put up with that--but I dont know what shell do instead.
I used to dream, as I worked on all those campaigns, that someday Id win back the right for Edyie to have the risky, but hope-filled future she craved. When I thought about dying, someday, it was with regret that I might not live to see Edyie go to Mars or to accomplish whatever other big thing she wanted to do.
But now I dont have any of those regrets, because it isnt going to happen.
Even three years ago, I wouldnt have said that. Id still have said, "Darnit, theres hope. Freedom is just common sense. Well win." But some of the things that have happened in the last couple of years make that all different. No, dont say "things that have happened." They didnt just "happen." People in government did them to us. On purpose.
In the last couple of years, they finally did what theyd been moving toward for a long time. They passed the laws that just plain make us slaves. They did it, and hardly anybodys even talking about it. Thats what amazes me.
For one thing, they passed a law that makes our drivers licenses into national ID cards. Theyre doing it right now, while we sit here talking.
A year or two after Im gone, all you people who are left are all going to have to carry around cards with all your numbers and fingerprints and retinal scans and "personal data" coded on them. The law says so. You wont be able to cash a check or get a passport without supplying your "biometric data" to the government or the bank. I thought it was some big conspiracy story when I first heard it. But its true and its happening. And where are all the people screaming to stop it?
And theyve now got this database that everybody who gets a job gets put into. Some national database in some big stone building in Washington where theyll know where everybody works, all the time. They said it was to track "deadbeat dads." Yeah. Then why are they going to put Edyie and my other daughter Pat and everybody else into it? Since when are they, or you, or I "deadbeat dads"?
Along these same lines, theyve even got what they call "pilot programs" to make people get permission from the federal government before they can get jobs. Employers in these "pilot programs" have to get scanners to let the federal government check peoples Social Security numbers before they can hire anybody.
Isnt that just great? Some bureaucrat in the Social Security Administration or someplace gets to decide whether you can work or not.
And this other database. All your medical records are going to go into some other big, stone building in Washington. Thats going to be on line about the time I go, too. Any old bureaucrat who wants to look at them can see them. You cant, of course. But they can.
All this stuff is real. Its not in some novel about the future or in some right-wingy pamphlet. Its in the law. Its in America. Right now. They did it all in the last couple of years. Mostly by sneaking a paragraph or a page into bigger laws when nobody was looking.
And whats all this about? Is it really to help "welfare moms" or to keep illegal immigrants from taking other peoples jobs? Oh, come on! This is about one thing. Its about slavery.
They give you a citizen registration number shortly after birth. As soon as you get old enough to start moving around, doing things and making decisions on your own, they make sure that theyre in a position to know every move you make, to record every transaction, to examine your whole lifes record any time some bureaucrat gets curious. They not only want to know where you are at any given moment--where youre working and living and banking-but to make sure you cant work someplace if they dont want you to.
And they even want to be able to check up on your health. That one seems especially silly. I mean, why should some bureaucrat in Washington give a hoot about how some womans pregnancy is going, or whether some man is boozing it up a bit more than he should? Or whether a middle-aged lady is dying of cancer or not? What business is it of theirs, and why should they even want to bother? But it makes sense when you realize what theyre really doing. After all, if you own animals, of course you want to make sure your property has got all its vaccinations, is producing healthy offspring, and isnt being overfed or something.
Its just like a modern-day farmer, keeping track of his cows or pigs on his computer. You want to know theyre healthy and whether theyre producing as much as they can for you. So you track them. Track everything about them. They belong to you, after all. If youre a kindly, efficient farmer, of course you want to watch over your livestock.
Thereve been a lot of bad laws passed in my lifetime, Claire. Sometimes I thought, "This is just the worst, the worst. It cant get any more horrible than this." But these laws, that authorized all this tracking, are really the final thing. Theyre the declaration that the people in Washington own us. Thats all. Theyre plain and simply saying were their property.
There are going to be a lot more bad laws, yeah. Really bad ones that will follow these and will be possible because of these. But before this, the bad laws were passed against free people.
After this, the laws are passed to control slaves.
Neither of my girls has children yet. Like every mother, I always wanted them to get going and do it, you know. I wanted my grandbabies! Now! Believe me, I had to bite my lip a lot to keep from nagging them about it, like some mothers do. But to be absolutely honest, now I wish neither one of them would have children. I dont think Edyie will. Weve talked about this. Shes a lot like me in some ways, and I think she wont bring a child into a country like this one is becoming.
Now my other daughter--we always called her Practical Patty--probably will have children someday. Ive kind of given Patty short shrift in talking about all this.
She was the sort of daughter who never gave any trouble and was more interested in doing well in band and glee club than in thinking about all the "heavy" things. Her big dreams were just of having a nice little job someday, then getting married to a decent sort of guy, having a nice house and, yeah, children. So all this wont affect Patty as much as it will Edyie, or as much as it would have affected me if Id have lived to see it all come to fruition. To Pattys mind, it isnt "sensible" to worry about things like this.
So Patty will have children, and I can only hope that at least their lives will be comfortable, if they cant be free. Maybe theyll be well-fed, well-cared-for little citizens. And maybe I should hope they turn out to be the kind of people who dont think or question too much. Because if theyre the other kind--like me or Edyie--their lives will be miserable.
The next step, you know, after getting ownership of your slaves or cows is to cull out the ones that dont fit the mold...that make trouble, or that dont produce the way you want them to. If you arent nice the Social Security Administration can just "lose" your records, or the health care people can just fiddle your medical history around so you look like a mental case. Then they can "help" you to death. So I guess for that reason, I should hope those grandbabies I wont live to see are quiet, obedient sheep.
But damnit, if there are grandbabies, I hope theyll be as stubborn and freethinking as their Aunt Edyie, and that theyll find a better way of fighting for freedom than their Grandma Deb ever could.
Let their lives be worth something deep and true, not just the "worth" of good livestock or laborers. If they fight, maybe they wont live happily or long. But if they have to live at all, I hope those little kids live bravely, in spite of all the odds against them. The poor souls.
Do you remember the hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross"? Its been on my mind a lot since I got the verdict. When I was little, I thought it was such a beautiful song. I knew it was partly about dying, and about being at peace in dying because of the singers beliefs, but I didnt completely understand it.
There was this line, "Till my trophies at last I lay down." I knew it meant "when I die." But since I didnt have any "trophies" and couldnt figure out what giving up awards had to do with dying, I put my own little girl interpretation on it. I figured the word had to be "trophis," and that it was some fancy, adult word meaning "body."
Well, Claire, Ill tell you. In a year or so, when I lay this middle-aged "trophis" down for the last time, I wont have any regrets for myself. On the day I die, Ill be able to say Ive done all I could. I tried, even though most of what I did turned out to be misguided and ineffective. And even though Id try something different-and a lot less "nice"--if I could do it over again, I wont regret leaving the world the politicians just created. I dont want to see it. I dont want to live in it.
But my grandbabies will be born as slaves. And oh God, I regret that. And I regret not being around to protect them.
© 1997 Deborah Marie Pulaski and Claire Wolfe. Permission to reprint for non-commercial purposes freely granted, as long as the article is reprinted in full and is accompanied by this copyright statement.
Update by djf:
Curious about Ms. Pulaski's fate, I emailed and asked. She passed away in November of 1997. I Make this pledge:
If I have to shed every drop of my blood, her final fear will not come true!
Here's why. Somehow I have an ideal lodged into my mind about duty and purpose. I see those people making rules just to control others, but they don't bother me so much. Probably because I am more like them than I am ready to admit. I often hear myself complain, "If only they understood their purpose, then they wouldn't do those things." But I don't like to argue, and the worst feeling in the world is that I am a bad guy, because I wanted to impose my world view on others, ask that they not do those things, try to limit their freedoms. Someone said to me the other day that men fall into two catagories. They are either total cowards, or raging maniacs. I feel like that sometimes.
Men have a problem talking about their feelings. They better not do it either, because if they did, it would show to women that they are vulnerable. Unfortunately for us, women know this already...that we are cowards, and besides that raging egomaniacs.
I'll tell you. I want freedom. With all due respect, the urge to be with others is surreal, even if they are worshipping a golden calf and having a crazy orgy while I'm up here on Mt. Sinai power tripping. I mean that as a joke. We always think that it took 40 years to cross the desert because the Jews complained alot. Maybe it was because Moses was such a party pooper. Or as the famous frank and ernest cartoon goes...he was too proud to stop somewhere and ask directions, finally the wife insisted that they stop at a gas station. Thank God for the women.
Now if only men could learn how to file a sexual harrasment lawsuit, we would have a compromise. Let freedom ring!
"...because nearly all of the people who said they believed in freedom turned around and, once they got in office, acted exactly like the other guys."
Truer words were never spoken.
If you want true freedom you have to ignore the laws that prohibit it. Of course this means that you must be willing to pay the price if you get caught.
Well there was actual, not symbolic, slavery in America at the end of the revolution. So, while some may have had more freedom, some had WAY less. The first 150 years seemed to be about increasing freedom. Since about WW1 the trend has been in the other direction.
I live with the same fear, that my own children will become slaves. Slaves to technology, the military, the political system, drugs, pornography, or even education.
I have tried to teach my children what freedom means. This has meant, among other things, learning to recognize fascists and collectivists for what they are, learning the real history of the world, having a good education, and having skill with arms.
But I don't often hear myself cry for freedom.
Go for it, it feels great!
Why is it that some of the best articles get the least reponses?
Because they get lost in the middle of "what's your favorite movie" and "why are threads always getting pulled" and "what is the meaning of 'ping'" posts.
Their truths bring on a reverent silence, and in this case the silence of shame.
I read this a few years ago on Claire's site. At that time, it didn't make as much sense to me as it does now. There is more truth in this piece than 95% of the population cares to admit.
By theway, you missed my point.
Perhaps because, like me, I read but can add nothing.
Second, she does offer a solution, the only solution that is going to take us from where we are to where we should be and that is public outcry on a large scale. Unfortunately, you cannot make others see what is happening when they choose not to so she worked at making changes as best she could at the local level which is a damn sight further than most people bother to do nowadays.
I guess this one gets posted here from time to time. It's one that bears reposting a few times a year at least until we've taken it to heart.
It silly but 95% of the solution is to be had by making people care. Making them feel empowered and just, to squelch the sense of hopelessness.
We have all forgotten the most dreadful aspect of tyranny, forgotten why it is so frightening -- tyranny is not merely intense oppression, it is the NORMALIZATION of that oppression, creating a world where we feel 'nothing is really wrong'.
How often do you hear people say, "Well, yeah, but I'm free enough." ?
How would our forefathers feel living in this world?
The solution is justified RAGE that forces the issues to the table, and makes man bust out of his stall on the animal farm and reclaim his dignity.
The greatest enemy of 'problems' is freedom, not some 5 year plan.
A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.
-- George William Curtis
The closed door and the sealed lips are prerequisites to tyranny.
--Frank L. Stanton
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Let us be poised, and wise, and our own, today.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
All under a Republican Congress and Republican President, who have as much regard for our rights as the last Democratic President did.
A real patriot. But real Americans haven't identified which country she swears allegiance to yet.
Hope all is well with you and yours. :-)
That said, it rings true with each reading.