Friday, February 08, 2008

At Midnight

At midnight all the agents
and all their superhero crew
Come out and round up everyone
that knows more than they do

--"Desolation Row", Bob Dylan

...men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.
--John 3:19

Pivotal events of the last four years have taken place within the wee hours of midnight. What is this allure of darkness that decisions and deeds must be done in the cover of night?

On Monday a murder was in the offing. It had been spoken of for many weeks. The knives were unsheathed and the battle lines were drawn. It was not to be a corporeal murder of blood and gore but a political assassination. One hundred seventy congressmen turned their backs on their once-revered leader, trading in a toothless patron for a moneyed other. No love lost for the deposed, but the sight of out-and-out treachery rankles nonetheless.

Something died that night, and it wasn't the victim's career. While we no longer expect our congressmen to be honest or temperate or intelligent, we thought they at least had one last remaining virtue. Now we know we cannot even count on them to be loyal. All for sale, all for sale.

They waited till the fall of night to consummate the proceedings. One by one, they took the floor, solemnly intoning: "Mister Speaker, may I explain my vote?" Long and winded were the words, peppered with appeals to reform, national interest, and personal conscience. All that was merely civil veneer to hide the smacking lips slavering to the promise of pork. The verdict came past midnight when the world was fast asleep.

Four years ago, this same court came together, also under the cloak of night, to hurriedly declare their present queen and benefactor the victor. Two years ago, another gathering in the stillness of the night to kill an impeachment complaint. Always, always, always: in secrecy, in mystery, hidden from our eyes.

So the darkness spreads. In the name of national interest, you cannot know and you must not know and you will never know. The police and the army have become state-sponsored terrorists, thugs with guns and batons and tear gas. Their code words are "Do not ask, do not look, do not speak." Their motto is "To punish and enslave." They are listening, and they will swoop down on you in the middle of the night, while you are sleeping....

...if you let them.

Ask. Look. Speak. And do not go gently.