Monday, November 30, 2015

Another Outrage, Another Murfin Poem

Rescued survivors of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood attack.  The media felt they had to obscure the faces of the women for fear that they might be hunted down by other fanatics just for being there.

While everyone in the Chicago media was freaking out about outraged Black citizens and their allies shutting down the annual Black Friday consumerist orgy on the Magnificent Mile and an assault of the official civic Christmas tree.  While the Republican Party milked anti-Islam hysteria and went full fascist as candidates fell all over themselves trying to bar Syrian refugees and cook up schemes to publicly brand Muslims and shut down mosques.  While routine gun violence continued unabated while the NRA and its obedient loons and obsessives spun conspiracy theories.  While across the country the assault on women’s health services and their very sexuality and gender, notched up to higher levels in state legislatures and Congress.  While a Black President and his family were savaged and berated over manufactured trivialities.  And, yes, while the War on Christmas was trotted out and dusted off as an excuse to attack and demean hapless retail clerks and strangers on the street with the wrong greeting.  While all of that madness was swamping us, it got worse.
So many of those threads came together in the swirling snow of Colorado Springs last Friday morning.  Even as the tragedy unfolded and shots were still being fired, significant numbers of folks took to the social media to cheer on the gunman and anoint him a hero for somehow saving babies.  Some even declared that any woman who was killed or maimed dissevered what she got for being at the Planned Parenthood clinic. 
Just a couple of years ago all but hard core nut-jobs would keep these kinds of comments to themselves even if they believed it.  Now God knows how many people feel empowered by virulent Fox news rhetoric, a scurrilous and fraudulent video, and a full-court press by Republicans in Congress, state houses, and on the Presidential campaign trail.  What was once unthinkable is now acceptable to a significant number of Americans.
And more people are empowered to act on all of the rhetoric of Second Amendment solutions and taking back our country.  Last week three white supremacists shot 5 demonstrators protesting yet another police execution of a Black youth in Minneapolis.  They, too, got cheers and a lot of chatter about doing the same thing around the country.  And yesterday we learned that authorities are searching for a heavily armed alleged patriot from Arizona who may be on his way to attack long established Islamic communities in Up State New York.   In his social media posts he urges others to hunt down Muslims and burn mosques.  Surely Donald Trump would approve.

So how did the Colorado Springs terrorist see himself?  How do his admirers see him?  I heard comparisons to John Brown and the radical abolitionists who supported and financed him.  And that inspired a new poem.

He Who Shall Not Be Named.

He Who Shall Not Be Named Here
After Colorado Springs

No!  He is not Old John Brown
            come round again
            no matter the wild eyes
            and wilder beard.

The unborn will not rise up
            and arm themselves,
            to wreck vengeance on
            the women who carry them
            and anyone who ever
            had a kind word or thought
            for them.

God is not on his side
            just as He/She/It
            is not on the side
            righteous trigger happy cops
            tempted by the backs
            of Black young people.

Just as Allah is not on the side
            of fanatics in Syria, Iraq, and Paris.

He will never savor martyrdom,
            ride to his own hanging
            on his casket,
            only the long, lonely oblivion
            of maximum prison hole.

Despite your yearnings
            a nation will not march to war
            with is name ringing in song
            on hundred thousand lips.

With luck, rivers of blood
            and mountains of corpses,
            families turned against families,
            the land laid waste,
            will not be his legacy.

With luck.

—Patrick Murfin