A Brief Meditation on Yeats and Our Center, Hope Must Triumph Even Without Moral Leadership

A Brief Meditation on Yeats and Our Center,
Hope Must Triumph Even Without Moral Leadership

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;…”

It is when we face human atrocity, the kind of moral outrage that comes upon us because _people_ can be so bereft of shared humanity, that we must speak not only from the heart but with clarity and with all of the facts. Watching Trump yesterday dissemble and then fail even _to comprehend_ the questions regarding the chemical weapons attack in Syria was more than we should bear. He couldn’t command even the simplest political facts. Instead he blustered and boshed in incoherence and, of course, blamed President Obama again. How long can the center hold, even for his most sycophantic supporters? Should we be relieved that he didn’t mention Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hillary too? The Tweet storm can’t be far off. How do we retain even a modicum of respect for those who voted for this kind of leadership?

“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;”

Let us be clear too that our moral outrage is utterly incommensurate to our ability to provide a response in actions, much less a solution. McCain threatened to impeach President Obama if he put US troops at risk in Syria. And how would contributing to the violence accomplish much better when other world states and powerful regional movements have deep investments in the lies, the death, and place their own interests over the reality of children trembling, frothing, dying before their eyes too? What we can say we genuinely know about Trump is that he self-evidently _cannot_ grasp the situation. Those party to the crime are in control and, with Russia, in control of him.

“…A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.”

No matter what course of action we can or cannot take, we must first understand the basics of a situation to fathom what might come next. And this needs to happen soon. The time bomb is ticking, in Syria, in North Korea, and we are the fools being played by a fool. Our tragically incompetent leader has no center. But history does not so much repeat itself as bring us to ourselves, to those places and feelings we must grasp because the alternative and the consequences are far too dire to ignore.

“The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

I reach this morning towards a sun hidden behind clouds in a deep, windy overcast spring. I can do little more than wait for the change that will come. But my heart aches and I know with all the clarity one can muster in such a time that we must summon everyone to hope and to action. We cannot wait for the best of us, we must enter the fray with who we have. We must understand what is before us and we must speak and implore action.

“…The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

Let us come together with as much clarity of mind as we have passionate intensity because we need all of ourselves and each of us to listen more carefully to our inner voice of decency to gather the shards of truth. Our President provides no such possibility. It’s up to us.

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