The Last And Greatest Betrayal: Your William S. Burroughs Thanksgiving Prayer 2016
We began posting this Thanksgiving Prayer by William S. Burroughs and Gus Van Sant back in 2006, and a lot of things have changed since then. The deadpan list of Bloody American Triumphs is more relevant than ever in this annus horribilis of 2016, 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. For Thanksgiving 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.
And now here we are, facing a simple question: Are we really looking at an existential threat to everything we liked about America, or are we silly liberals merely freaking out because we've gotten a Republican president who's the distillation of the very worst aspects of that party's appeal-to-the-bubbas tendencies? Is what comes next a cataclysm or just a low farce (with a body count)? Will the institutions of the ol' American Polity survive even a Trump, or is it time to start hoarding survival supplies? Our money's still on America feeling like America for another four years, but a much crueller, fuck the poors, fuck anyone who hasn't already made it America, dominated by decent church-going people with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces. And a glib, smiling sociopath at the head of the parade, telling us how wonderful it all is. It's not going to be Margaret Atwood's Republic of Gilead. But it's really going to suck without Obamacare.
Burroughs might well look at 2016 and have a good rueful laugh. He told us so. We had An American Dream, and damned if we -- or at least a slim plurality of those of us who voted in just the right number of states -- didn't go and pick the guy who promised to vulgarize and falsify that dream until the bare lies shone through. 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, and the blacks will finally get enough Law and Order thrown at them they'll stop insisting their lives matter. We can only assume that Burroughs would say Donald Trump is the candidate America has been working toward for decades. Sure, two 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. Because now we’ve got an entire political party that seems intent on finally 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 morons and cheats and petty churchy bastards who've forgotten Jesus was quite insistent that we must care for our neighbor, who is anyone who needs our help, we can still be thankful there are people who refuse to be shouted down by the idiots who are afraid of foreigns. We can be thankful there's no shortage of women veterans who won't stand for a pussy-grabber in chief. We can be thankful there are tiny babies who 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."
So 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 nay 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.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.