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Wholesome American Guts: Your William S. Burroughs Thanksgiving Prayer 2019
For John Dillinger, in hope he is still alive.
Yr Wonkette began posting this Thanksgiving Prayer by William S. Burroughs and Gus Van Sant back in 2006, and quite a few things have changed since then. The deadpan list of Bloody American Triumphs is more relevant than ever in this annus horribilis of 2019, and if Burroughs were with us today, he might look at his 1986 poem and wonder how he'd ever been such a starry-eyed optimist. Back in the anxious Thanksgiving of 2015 we fretted because the presidential campaign featured "serious debates over registering religious minorities and bringing back torture." Heh. We were so innocent back then, and didn't think that guy had any chance of really getting elected.
William S. Burroughs - A Thanksgiving Prayer youtu.be
Now we find ourselves in the third year of an illegitimate presidency, with impeachment looking likely but actual conviction in the Senate not appearing likely at all, because everybody in an entire political party lost their damn minds. It remains anyone's guess whether the Trump years mark the beginning of a new, degraded era where all politics will be terrible forever, or a temporary season of madness from which we'll emerge blinking in confusion, swathed in bandages and wondering why Canada keeps asking us if we remember anything, especially where we stashed Toronto.
Even if there are fewer than four Trump years, the cleanup from this mess is going to take decades, and a substantial chunk of the nation seems to have sworn fealty to the glib, pouting sociopath leading their torchlight parade. We said in 2017 we had no idea where the bottom was in American politics, but we hadn't reached it yet -- and holy fuckballs, we still haven't. Now we have a "president" issuing pardons to actual war criminals, and who has somehow managed to increase the number of lies he tells daily. See? He really is a workaholic.
Burroughs might well look at 2019 and have a good rueful laugh. He told us so. We had An American Dream, and we -- or at least a slim plurality of those of us who voted in just the right number of states in 2016 -- picked the guy who promised to vulgarize and falsify that dream until the bare lies were central to his "governance." Just enough of us were desperate enough to believe the comforting lies about how the coal jobs will come back, the manufacturing jobs will come back, the blacks will finally stop insisting their lives matter, and if only we're brutal enough, the browns will stop seeing the USA as a place of refuge.
We can only assume that Burroughs would say Donald Trump is the president America has been working toward for decades. Sure, three million more of us voted for the competent but sometimes excessively private lady with the emails, but that's not how our system works, so stop being a crybaby and suck it up. Also, show us your papers. And get to work sandblasting that pesky poem off the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. To be honest, we prefer people who aren't tempest toss'd or wretched refuse. We like winners.
Sick of winning yet? Or just sick?
And yet. For all the churchgoing people with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces insisting Jebus wants chicken sandwiches with a side of gay-hating, we can still be thankful there are 16-year-olds who are determined to keep the planet livable , and members of Congress who'll remember Elijah Cummings's admonition, "Come on, man. We're better than that" -- even when there's reason to doubt we are. We can be thankful for schools that give EVERYBODY eat, diplomats who insist on telling the truth , and people in government who fix things that were broken by idiots. We can be thankful there are tiny babies we can guide through our big messy world with Mr. Rosewater's one rule for living on Earth: "God damn it, you've got to be kind."
We'll be thankful anyway, even if at times we can only be thankful it's not worse than it is. We've got each other, there's a highly evolved descendant of a dinosaur in the oven, and the bed is covered with the winter coats of people we love -- or can at least tolerate for a few hours, although we may have to ask them to please not wear that MAGA hat to the table. If people are getting married and having babies in this crazy stupid world, then there must be hope. For all the petty small-minded terribleness and evil out there, we still have the option of laughter, because it sure as hell beats giving in to the bastards.
A happy and safe Thanksgiving to all Wonkers everywhere, and remember to Buy ( almost ) Nothing tomorrow.
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