The Last President

By David Glenn Cox

I practice a strange kind of patriotism. Go ahead burn the flag if you like. It won’t bother me it is only pieces of colored cloth stitched together in some third-world country. I don’t give a shit about military parades or war monuments. I believe that if you truly loved war veterans, you’d stop making them. If you truly loved freedom, you would support demonstration, encourage it, and participate in them when necessary. The adrenaline rush of stepping off the curb to demonstrate for your beliefs with knowledge that the riot squad is waiting just around the corner mace and batons at the ready.

While in Washington with the Occupy movement, I interviewed a cop on one of our two a day marches. “Is this something interesting or is this just Tuesday?” He smiled a knowing smile. Today was Occupy tomorrow was the Shiners, followed by the Sons of Lithuania and then Left-handed Lesbians on bicycles. The cops were hall monitors. They didn’t get excited and were very professional and laid back. They made sure we stayed on our route and didn’t start any mischief.  This was the “A” ticket, “Protest in Washington Ride.”

Portland was a different story. As we waited peacefully under the Burnside Bridge the police were busy setting up a mobile command post across the street. Men with binoculars surveyed the crowd, cops on bicycles prowled the area. During the march, the riot squad made an appearance. It was a van with running boards along the sides with handrails. A dozen or so heavily armed policeman in black colored riot gear with guns and tasers night sticks and mace at the ready. They charged the back of the demonstration to make arrests. If they don’t make arrests, they didn’t have a story. If they didn’t make arrests people might assume the demonstration had been peaceful because It was important to control the narrative.

I don’t care about flags I care about people. When you begin to burn the people my love of country throttles up. I was in Lawrenceville, Georgia, in 2009 on a residential street where every house on the street save two or three had a For Sale signs in the front yard. The futility of attempting to sell a house during the second Great Depression was ironic and mortifying. When Barack Obama offered help only for responsible borrowers while making irresponsible banks whole. I thought of that street of struggling Americans in serious need of help, and their government had just answered, “Fuck off.”

But this cadre of I got mine Americans who love the flag and hate the people clearly illustrate Cheetoism. Black people should just get jobs and move out of the ghetto. Why don’t they attend Harvard or MIT, that’s what I did. Why did you have children? Didn’t you know you might be poor someday? They have thousands of explanations and advice for those drowning in the economic morass. Swim! Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps! Cloaked in religion or astute conservative policy it all boils down to I’ve got mine, so eat shit and die.

Today, right now at this very moment twenty million Americans face eviction. Men, women, and children who through no fault of their own find themselves on the cusp of living outdoors. Seniors and young professionals who find living in America comparable to a beating in a back alley. Marriages will implode, drug abuse and alcoholism will spike and lives will be destroyed. Children will grow up steeped in terror and insecurity with scars that will not heal and will be visited upon their own children.

There was this little yellow house in Lawrenceville. Nothing fancy a prewar run-down wood framed house and out front stacked at the curb were the belongings of its last tenant. A pitiful collection of artifacts with not enough dollar value to haul away, but it was someone’s life. It represented one of the greatest disasters which could befall an individual to be homeless, voiceless, and friendless in a country which laughs and slaps the back of the bankers who fleeced you. The little yellow house stood empty. The tenant who could not pay had been put out, and one who could pay could not be found. The house still stands, but the family who lived there were lost.

Congress in their wisdom adjourned for their annual two-week holiday recess and will deal with the issue of a second stimulus when they return. This is like football game fellas, there is a clock involved here. It is far easier to repair than to replace. Putting a family into an apartment is more expensive than helping them stay where they are. Are we prepared for the millions of new homeless do we not see the danger and smell the fear? A Soylent Green scenario of people sleeping stairwells and abandoned cars fighting over water or crackers. Homeless encampments of filth and degradation Twenty-first Century Hooverville’s.

What kind of country writes checks to Carnival Cruise lines solving their problems then tells people on the precipice of disaster, “ask me when I get back from my vacation.” I mention Carnival because the cruise industry is as dead as if U-boats surrounded the Port of Miami. With the virus expected to last two years and the memory of the virus to last twenty get out the cutting torches boys and cut them up for scrap, we’re done here.

In a rush to open the economy they hit themselves over the head and ask, “Who hit me?” The virus numbers soar and will continue to soar as Trumpy takes the football and runs the wrong direction. Love of country is not related to love of government. I love my car but when it quits, I become quite excitable. Is it because I hate my car or because I want it to run better?

I was going through North Dakota and Montana and was struck by the beauty and isolation. The rugged monuments of times path that make you think about the temporal nature of life. We are just kitchen matches that flame up and then fade away. The land does not need us and we are not here for the land. Our connection to the earth is through other people. Any government that willfully ignores the suffering of its poor or inflicts suffering on its poor is a failed society and a society stumbling through its last days.

Joe Biden must be a good President, or he may be the last President.

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