"What's life? Not anything it seems.
A shadow. Fiction filling reams."
-------- La vida es sueno, Pedro Calderon de la Barca.
The pageantry, the stadium sized video screens, the rock concerts,
the cavalcade of stars, the breathless second after second of
the 24 hour nationally televised apotheosis, and the once modestly
attired muse of "History" decked in the gaudy hues of Hope.....
Newscasters congratulate themselves on bringing this nicely packaged
show of "History". Honeyed promise drips from the screen. Gather
around Citizens of the World. Witness the Triumph of the Hope.
Abraham Lincoln has come again! Every gesture in his shadow,
even the actor's clouded face. Tall and thin he stoically shakes Bono's
hand at the Monument. Stoically wrapt in thought he listens to Celebrities
read lines rehearsed from Nursery Books. At times he cracks a satisfied
grin. All is well. Though times are thin, Lincoln, my fellow Americans, has
The secrets of History are charmed.
Hope, from the Box, leaps fully armed.
Pandora! Don't turn from the flashing bulbs! Drink full the license of
unabashed celebration. Forget the masses are surfeit with trepidation.
Ask for more lucre and pull off the show.
America! The endless promise is renewed. Two million throng the
Capitol. They chant like Corybantes. "Thank you Pandora!" Next year
they'll whisper, "We were screwed."
The cameras and stars will not be there to catch their plaint.
They'll be too busy admiring Pandora's face paint.
Change indeed-- On the back of the dollar we will murder Greed.
Hope, like Pandora, is a whore for all seasons. It, like she, holds out
a hand, never troubling over reasons.
She triumphs. But no crone whispers in her ear, "Remember you
are mortal. Hold this day dear."
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