An Almost Perfect Evening

T.A. Barnhart

File this under the category of “You gotta love this place.”

I'm sitting in Central Park in Corvallis, across the street from the library (I love our library, but that's another day's story). There are several hundred other people here, most of them in lawn chairs of some kind. I'm sitting on the grass, which feels great. The sun will be down soon. The air couldn't be more perfect, just those few degrees cool enough to sit and feel absolutely wonderful about sitting in the grass.

I am sitting in the grass as the sun goes down and I am listening to the Corvallis Community Band.  I I have no idea who the Corvallis Community Band is. It looks like people who just get together and play in a symphonic band because they enjoy it. Right now they're doing a Gershwin medley, and you really can't do better than George Gershwin when you're sitting in the grass in the park on an almost perfect evening in a small town that is almost too perfect on evenings like this.

This, of course, is what America should be like every night of the year. We should be gathered together in some special place to enjoy each other and share our gifts with one another. We should all be able to come together, in small groups and large, maybe to listen to music, maybe to talk about our lives, maybe to do something important or silly or necessary. This is what America should be, and I can't express how angry it makes me that instead most people, most of the time, seem to be alone, alienated and incapable of even imagining doing this: being together with others. We live in a culture soaked in fear and otherness....

The Gershwin piece ended. This band has a really good sound; these people clearly enjoy what they are doing because the sound so good doing it.

There are three little girls running in circles and dancing little girl dances. They are so cute it's almost painful. Blonde-haired little sweeties, and I can imagine little kids of all colors and sizes running around this same park having the same amount of fun if they had the chance. Why are we not giving them that chance? I would be completely disheartened if I wasn't aware of how many are fighting that fight, struggling for exactly this end. What is so sad, what makes me so angry, though, is how little these kids matter in the overall scheme of things. Profit and power are the most important resources to those who control our institutions (and ohmygosh, that little girl loves this so much, she has no choice but to run at full speed and screech her joy, and no one seems to mind at all because we all want to be that happy).

Like I said, it just doesn't getter much better than this. For a few hours, and a few people, we have a taste of a perfect life. Now if we can just spread it farther.

  • Erika (unverified)

    I concur.

  • dispossessed (unverified)

    Nice? Corvallis is the nicest place I ever lived. But to overlay a lovely evening with layers of extrapolated, projected agony and insufficiency makes me tired. A history of science professor I knew there spoke one day in class of just living well (and doing good, I suppose, if you need it drawn out) in your own community; we are each one among billions.

    I think I would have just called it a perfect evening.

  • Becky (unverified)

    Oregon is the perfect place, and you are so right about the magic of evenings like that. But until we do more than just ache for the pervasiveness of sadness, hopelessness and misery in our country and the world, we'll only see things get worse. There are more of us ants than there are grasshoppers. We just don't seem to realize it yet. Someone here wrote a few weeks ago that his political decisions all came down to one question - how are the children doing? If we could only see the Democratic party focus on that single question and set politics aside, unify the people in a fight for their love of country and our way of life, and encourage them to rise up and throw the grasshoppers out, we could save our country - and perhaps the world.

  • (Show?)

    becky, that was me who wrote that children need to be the bottom line. it's hard for me to see happy, healthy children and not think of the ones who are so less fortunate. i think it's a healthy attitude: to enjoy the life i have while being aware of the world i live in. the problems are so huge, it would just crush me if i didn't see so much that is hopeful: dancing toddlers, sunny days, and the great friends i have throughout oregon and across the country. i know i'm not alone, and that gives me so much energy and hope.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    It's all divine. Every living day. Meditate your alternative.

    How I wish us ants, Becky's ants, all felt our collective influence and control and power, without putting a label on it. It's just us, and we can do it.

    Namely, I wish we could stop saying things like, "mass media, wake up! do your job!," or "Democrat Party. Wake up! Get a spine!," and in these examples and others, my ear hears it implied between the lines: 'Come save us. Somebody do this for us. Don't make us work together ourselves, state our beliefs, organize our resources, choose our leaders, and follow them into action. We ain't got time for that, we got to go to work tomorrow.'

    I wish we could stop because it is futile. No one is coming to save us or do it for us. Media is not going to do it's job. Think of them as against us. Democrats are not going to get a spine. They got it made. They don't have to believe in anything, they just have to be We're No. 2, and they get all the leftover votes that No. 1 doesn't get. And those who get elected with the leftover crumbs, they aren't going to do any more because, hey, they're elected. They're in. They got a job.

    The ruin of Dem's is / was thinking they get any votes they can drive away from Republiars, that they get the leftovers. Ain't going to happen. And it ain't even Nader or the Greens. I and millions are not going to vote for evil, even if it is the lesser of two. There are more than two choices. There's me, for example. Vote for me. There's you. Vote for you. There's us. Vote for us.

    This Dem thing is so fooling themselves. They go around criticizing Republiars, which is a easy to criticize because Republiars are fascists; and Dem's go around shaming everyone who voted for Republiars, and there is thousands of murdered humans' blood and shame on the Republiar voters' hands; and Dem's just assume every voter who gets themselves out of the thrall of the Republiar lies is automatically going to join up and vote Dem.

    Ain't going to happen.

    See, half the people in this country don't vote at all, for either party. If we organized half of that half, we could out power both Dems and Republiar. And if any D's or R's wanted to come join the half-of-the-half party -- and I'm sure a bunch would -- well come on it, it's going to be a landslide and it's going to bury both Dems and Republiars.

    We are tired of those two criticizing each other. We got to get some work done. First thing: Impeach. For the children: Impeach. For America: Impeach. For the people: Impeach the sitting politicians by electing new politicians. Clean sweep the House, federal and state. Impeach D's and R's both. Impeach War. Impeach media. Impeach the murderers, Dem and Republiar. Us. Together. Organized. Impeach past politics.

    Whew. Sorry, Becky it was your line about "if we could only see the Democratic party focus...." Dear Becky, they are NOT going to focus. They are not going to save us. They want us to stand here paralyzed and not see we ourselves are another option, we can do it, we don't need them. I'd vote for you Becky if you ran promising to Impeach. That's all. One campaign promise: Impeach. Impeach the old. Would you vote for me? Okay, that get's it started. Circle up. This is going to take some work. But hey, there's the kids. Then it's worth it.

    T.A.B., I liked your post. I think I was in Corvallis that same evening. All of the places (in Oregon, and beyond) are so divine. Your style and tone sounds similar to this Mark Morford guy. His latest thing transported me, he had me in his palm. America's Big Malignant Tumor -- Libs are salivating that Karl Rove might go down. But hasn't the worst cancer already spread? By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist -- Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Or maybe it's more salient to ask, Does it even really matter anymore, now that so much of the Rove-bred damage has been done? That is, if the cancer is already malignant and has spread to the nation's bones and the chemo only causes more of our dignity's hair to fall out, does it matter if you finally eliminate the DDT that caused the disease?

    This much must be admitted: Rove has already changed the American political landscape, is largely responsible for the giant wedge that now divides the nation by reinventing the Republican Party and turning it into an efficient, ruthless machine of war and power and misprision, a party that does a beautiful job of pretending to care about the little guy even as it sends him off to die in horrific wars while giving his salary to crony CEOs and calling it a patriotic tax break.

    See, the Dem's sent the little guy off to die, too, and just as many CEOs are Dem's as are Republiars.

    Wait for the white knights to come riding if you want to. Wait for the focus to wait on us if you're powerless.

    I ain't waiting. Every day is divine, and enjoyable, and ends.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    Get a grip Tensk! Anarchists such as yourself have surrendered to despair and want to destroy the society with which they are unable to deal.

    The Democratic Party may not be the perfect vehicle to fight back against the "Good Ol' Boys" club of Big Money, but it's the best shot we've got. The opposition presents a united front, and to propose to tear down the only commensurate venue we have because it doesn't measure up to your standards is to admit defeat without a fight. It isn't the D's that are adopting ever more fascistic methods to gain the upper hand!

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    Get a gripe, Ed Bickford, you are clueless you're being exploited by being taken for granted.

    There is no "back" that the vehicle can drive a 'fight against.' D's and R's are mirror and reflection of the same face. And that face can be characterized as, in effect, that there are political elites, that there is a 'class,' apart from you and I and commoners who are incapable of doing what the elites do, or, don't have the in-born talent for: Governing. And the characteristic in demonstration is that D's and R's both speak a common message in lying to citizens to establish a war footing, whereas truth is, and is known among citizens, that there is no cause for and no call for the invasion and occupation underway, wherein lives and taxes have been spent which are not available to spend.

    So, address this characterization. Have the Dem's contradicted ("fought back") the Republiars' lies which framed the invasion? Is the Dem's message different, in short? Or is it the same as the Republiars?

    Second, answer if the frame and call to kill and appropriate taxes to it, has that message from D's and R's been lies or truths? Is there any cause to have sent armies as we have, at D's and R's behest, to the mission and place we have sent them and they have attacked?

    Face and reflection of the same characteristic, I say, both in essence and as demonstrated.

    Next, I did NOT 'propose to tear down the only venue we have,' by which ("venue") I take you to mean the Dem Party. I claim the Dem Party, measured in voters for Dem-marked candidates, can not be built wider or stronger. That is to say, more voters are not going to vote for Dem candidates, neither because they quit voting for Rep candidates and then, to vote at all, swithch to voting for Dem's; nor because a modulated Dem message attracts voters who had not been voting -- not at all, or not for D's or R's -- to begin voting for Dem's of the new modulation. This is not 'tearing down' the Dem Party; this is saying it is plateau-ed, at best, and isn't going anywhere.

    What I did and do propose is that we citizens, people like you and me, recognize that there is another 'venue,' to use your word, (I'd say 'interest'). And that interest is people's common ability to govern ourselves and our democracy better than the present elected 'elites' have governed for our people and principle. Recognize that the common, ordinary, pass-each-other-on-the-sidewalk, passing-each-other-in-our-cars, persons can govern equally as well or better than today's incumbents govern. Governing is not rocket science or brain surgery, euphemisms for 'inordinately difficult and non-intuitive.' Governing IS intuitive, or instinctive, just as everyone is born with an innate sense of fairness and equanimity. I propose we open our eyes to see our capability and opportunity in our friends and relations and townfolk around us. We are enough together to start an alternative 'venue,' which, btw, I would think to call the Democracy Party, or something like that, and which I expect would attract into its interest a majority of all citizens, including a bunch who 'transfer over' to the new label, whatever it is, away from applying the old label ('Dem') to themselves.

    That is not tearing down the Dem Party. It is creating a new party with stated interests, (craft world peace, for example), which most people would recognize as matching their personally felt interests, more closely than do match the Dem Party's interests such as they get specifically stated, (but usually aren't, or usually aren't stated clearly and aren't uniformly known and understood).

    Where Dem's expect and accept your vote without stating what their interests are, or without representing your interests which you state (to them), THAT is where you and your vote are being taken for granted. That either you don't know what interests Dem's pursue or don't know what interests you have in Dem's pursuits, is where you are what I called 'clueless.'

    You should speak up to state what your interests in government are -- "get a gripe." You don't have to, though. When I do, please don't tell me to not. I trust we all have the right, and encourage you to use yours.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    Tensk, you are just deluded.

    The Democrats were deceived into supporting Bush's war in Iraq, and have been working to uncover the lies since. Don't let that stop you from blythely dismissing them.

    It is the Republicans that are governing from the position of "noblesse oblige" not the Democrats. They are open to involvement, unlike the opposition who reject anyone not spouting their talking points. Don't let that budge you from your ivory tower.

    Your contention that the Democratic Party cannot be grown is simple defeatism, as is the implied lack of imagination on the part of Democrats beyond a meaningless modulation of a failed message. Your fuzzy-headed proposition is nothing but a tearing down and rebuilding of the party. You idiot! There is no time for that! The R's are turning this country into an armed fascist camp, and we have to fight back NOW, not in another decade when we have rebuilt the whole party.

  • Liz Mitchell (unverified)

    But isn't it wonderful to have perfection.. even if for a fleeting moment! I blogged you!

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    Ed Bickford, you are just unimaginative.

    There are many solutions. I don't understand why you ridiculed mine when we are both directed to the same end. Which end is, in my terms, (fully expecting this is harsher than yours): the de-legitimization of Republiars and the Republiar Party, the removal of all Republiars from office who hold one, the branding of Incompetent Voter on the forehead of Repbliars and a literacy test for them to re-register -- okay, the branding is a bit of a hazing, replace it with the requirement of re-education classes toward a passing grade on the high school CAM tests, and the students have to pay their teacher's salary as they go -- and ... and ... and twenty years probation.

    The difference in our approaches, as I see it, is a matter of personal involvement. I say each join in, we all get together and we go arrest and imprison Republiars. I think you're saying we should prod the Dem Party awake and tell them to go arrest Republiars, etc. Do the job while we go on with our lives.

    And, I'm telling you, you are going to be still sitting there waiting for the Dem's to do the job when the martial law fascism starts searching you getting on the subway, searching you getting on the airplane, imposing radio-transmitter drivers' licenses ID cards, abducting people without charges into oblivion who are never heard from again, broadcasting propoganda defaming of public employees and the importance and value of education, equipping police with stop-and-search-and-seizure powers, establishing a state religion you must bow to, intercepting all email, poisoning corporate-farm and corporate-synthetic 'prepared, pre-packaged, drive-thru, ready-to-eat, you-don't-know-what's-in-it' foods, censoring information on self-help health by balanced diet, replenished exercise, and social facility (such as the topic of this thread), and simultaneous with restricting healthy outlet then to deny emergency and ordinary medical care, and ... and, absolutely worst of all, advertising and selling and delivering terror.

    You make a point that my "... contention that the Democratic Party cannot be grown is simple defeatism ..." In a sense, that's true, but that true sense is not in the way you meant and not in the way you're anticipating I mean. When the great effort of last year which brought forth the most Dem vote totals that can be collected did not result in seeing the winning points scored nor candidates installed in office, one could say Dem's suffered defeat and, yeah, as far as that goes it's a truism. But, that truth is not what I'm saying and it is not the concern in which I am a defeatist. The Dem's point score was not the winning one because the scorekeepers falsified the scoreboard. The Republiars bribed and rigged the score, committed crimes of election fraud. The Dem Party did not accuse and prosecute those crimes. And they/we must, and until that's done a stronger effort and more votes next time is still not going to be the winning score.

    Did you see this link today?

    But the Dem Party avoids doing that -- accusing and prosecuting Republiars for vote fraud crimes, as they avoided it in Florida 2000, and as they have not done in Republiar war crimes. I don't believe "Democrats were deceived into supporting Bush's war," disbelieving it for many reasons, the simplest one being that they let him lie in to call it "war" when there is no Declaration of War passed out of the Congress they are a voting part of! How is it 'being deceived' to not read or not require Dumbutt to read the text? I don't believe Dem's were or are deceived; I believe something else is going on, something else is the reason.

    And as much as I am disputing you, when we seek the same end: disenfranchisement of Republiars, here it is that you call for a stronger Dem team to accomplish that and I call for stronger challenge against the lies that are framing the fascism, because only the truth can defeat it truly, and using truth is not what you are calling to be strengthened (nor are you setting example -- repeat after me: 9/11 was rigged by powerdrunk Americans, namely Cheney, as documented in detail in "Crossing the Rubicon," link for additional information, 9/11 was not islamic fanatics -- they were framed, there. is. no. terrorist. threat., Republiars have committed election crimes to be illegally positioned to conduct and sustain the lies and 9/11 myth, and you refuse to tolerate or support the lies by repeating them; see what I mean: you don't recite that and so you are not calling for truth to be stronger, first in you and me and each of us and then radiating outward); and the Dem Party is not calling out to have truth strengthened, ... but we want the same end: murderers convicted and in prison. In a word: justice. I dispute your way is going to reach it and for your way I am defeatist. I am not defeatist in the Dem Party prospects for it, despite them not showing up to it as yet. I am not defeatist in the certainty that the truth will out.

    But the truth is out by us acting to out it. Not by calling for and making effort for the Dem Party to out it, as long as they are a 'they' and not us or representative of us speaking our truth.

  • dispossessed (unverified)

    Sounds like a call for a Great Leap Forward.

  • Cindy M (unverified)
    <h2>Just cracked open the pages of American Mania by Peter C.Whybrow. Haven't gotten far into it, but it contends that we are suffering as a society due to misplaced priorities and the frenzy of modern life. This doesn't sound new, but I need to revisit some new thinking on the matter. Anyhow, it seems connected to much of what is contained in the original post.</h2>

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