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Signs of the Times

“Post-modern” is the “ism” of the land;
Reality is hanging by a thread.
Objective truth? Rejected out of hand.
And God and moral absolutes are dead.

Ignore what ancient wisdom had to say;
What matters most is how a person feels.
And in the game of news the networks play
The dealer gets to choose which cards he deals.

Opinions, facts, and reason have no merit
Unless they are politically correct.
Deplorables are told to grin and bear it
When anarchists and riots intersect.

Both violence and mobs are tolerated
As long as they promote the “narrative.”
But those who don’t must be incarcerated—
For being woke is an imperative.

Our Constitutional democracy
Preserves, protects, defends each person’s right.
But now our East Coast aristocracy
Sees everything in terms of Black and white.

Vast public lands that stretch from shore to shore
Are managed by what’s called the “BLM.”
Today those letters mean a whole lot more:
They claim our country’s racist, not just “them.”

To say our country’s “great” is now taboo.
Support police and you might not get hired.
Your company now tells you what to do:
“Admit that you’re a racist or be fired.”

What happened to our land of liberty?
Where freedom once meant we could disagree?
Today, it seems, in order to breathe free,
We all must bow to Post-Modernity.

In liberty and justice, I believe.
But if they’re lost to legislative theft
It won’t be me who turns his back to leave,
My country is the one who will have left.

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James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.


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21 Responses

  1. Gail

    Yep. So, James, did you hear Ms. Kate’s thinking we should have vaccinated only seating in our public venues? Did you ever think we might have to participate in a sit in to recover our own rights? I know you’re north of me, but I’m guessing you go to Astoria sometimes.

    Reply
      • Gail

        Thank you for explaining what was meant by ‘them’.

      • Gail

        By ‘Ms. Kate’ I was referring to Oregon governor, Kate Brown, Joe; I assumed James would know who I meant, and failed to consider anyone else! Apologies.

  2. Joe Tessitore

    A great poem and a brilliant closing line – Mrs. T and I ( and many that we know) feel the same way.

    Reply
  3. BRIAN YAPKO

    James, this is a great poem — only too accurate. But I have to say, it’s not just the “East Coast aristocracy.” I’m in Santa Fe now because I could no longer handle living in Portland, Oregon — capital of the Left Coast. Every single thing you criticize — especially rioting every time responsible people failed to coddle childish woke attitudes — drove us away. As for the state of our culture — a nation that meekly accepts every outrageous slander hurled at it — you’re quite right. I feel like it’s my country that has left. Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    Reply
  4. C.B. Anderson

    You nailed it, James, but who says that the east-coast aristocracy is worse than the west-coast beautiful people or the north-coast Libtards? They’re coming at us from all angles, and they can’t wait until every voice but theirs is silenced. Thank you for this.

    Reply
  5. James A. Tweedie

    The “East Coast aristocracy” reference is a nod to the geographic location of our Federal government/bureaucracy, the dominant cultural role that NYC plays in Finance, media, etc. and the Ivy League diploma factory from which anybody who’s anybody carries the proper aura of establishment acceptability. Nothing on the far-out left coast can come close to that concentration of power and influence.

    Reply
  6. Margaret Coats

    Remarkably thoughtful description of the problem (its ideological background and its enforcement foreground) in crisp, clear lines. Masterfully done!

    Reply
  7. Sally Cook

    Thanks, James, for clearly delineating the horror of our contemporary world. What do I see on the horizon?
    Passports based on specious qualifications; rationing, even redistribution of wealth; even re-education camps.
    Art will be demonized. I fear we can look forward to all the niceties of a communist state. This is a frightening but realistic poem. Congratulations!

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Sally, Since the poem is primarily descriptive rather than predictive the future is yet to be written. You and I see the world primarily through a filter of Christianity mixed with late Western European Medieval/Enlightenment rationalism infused with economic capitalism and democratic principles enshrined in unprecedented constitutional law. It has worked well for most people but not so well for many others. World views are changing and the theological and philosophical foundations on which our American society has been based has been seriously eroded by time and demographic change. What is “true” is no longer an objective reality to be pursued but whatever narrative reality can be created and imposed by power. Perhaps to some degree this has always been the case but it is challenging (to say the least) when new ascendant powers threaten to overthrow and replace the ones that have served us (but not all) well. Unfortunately, the challenging powers have repeatedly proven themselves to be social disasters and those who use the power and freedom of their vote to surrender their freedom to others will be surprised at what they will get.

      Reply
  8. Joseph S. Salemi

    If you want a taste of what “Critical Race Theory” will mean for anyone of European descent, consider the case of Devon Durham, 28, a piece of ghetto garbage from South Carolina who was just acquitted of murdering an unarmed 77-year-old white man. Durham tried to hijack the elderly man’s truck, and then pumped eight bullets into the unarmed man when he tried to escape by driving away. He also confessed his crime to the police.

    A jury of brain-dead morons said that Durham “had meant no harm.”

    The future is here right now, Tweedie. Don’t try to explain it or apologize for it. This is so TYPICAL of liberals, and their pietistic need to “explain and understand.”

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Joseph,

      Please note that I said the poem was descriptive rather than predictive because what I describe IS here. Just as you describe. I also said, the present is written, the future is not. I stand by that.

      Despite what you assert, the future is never already here—a fact I am willing to debate.

      I also fail to see any evidence of an apology for anything other than in the classic sense of an apologia where I attempt to articulate the two philosophic world views engaged tooth and claw in the battle for cultural ascendency, power and control in the West in general and in the United States in particular.

      Also I find no evidence of pietism in my comments and challenge you to do so.

      And point four, I find it odd that you, as a conservative, feel no need to “explain and understand” anything, while implying that such a basic tenet of rational discourse is not only a bad thing worthy of distain but also, somehow, an essential and exclusive characteristic of liberalism.

      Your words appear to be a challenge of some sort aimed in my direction but whatever their intent, I fear they have missed the mark—largely due to having been aimed at a target that isn’t there.

      If you wish to continue this conversation I suggest it be done privately via email. If you do not have it already Evan has my permission to share it with you on request.

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        All I am saying is that when you are in a war, and your people are being killed, and when the “government” seems to be on the side of the murderers, then the time for rational argument and analysis and debate is OVER. And I see no reason to say this truth privately, as if it were a thing to be whispered.

        “Pietism” happens when people allow their idealist dreams for peace and brotherhood and understanding to blind them to what is actually happening, so that they can congratulate themselves on their Christian virtue.

        That’s it. I have no more to say on the subject.

  9. Julian D. Woodruff

    James, I find your poem very solid and forceful (disregarding Strunk’s distaste for that word). I have to admit to being at a loss when it comes to “… not just ‘them.'”

    Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        “Not just them” references the tendency to project fault onto others while denying it in yourself. Ie self-righteousness or when Jesus describes how we point out the speck in someone’s when we should first remove the log that is in our own. Or saying “those racists” (“them”) instead of “us racists.” Is it true that we are all racists? The answer is, of course, determined by how you define the word. That is one of the key weapons of post-modernism—to redefine everything to the point of both weapon using the word and rendering the concept meaningless. Examples include “harassment,” “rape,” “marriage,” “family,” “oppression,” “racist,” and how the word gender has been replaced by “self identification.”

        Those in power have always defined and redefined words in this way. As in calling a black man “boy” or the use of the word “savages” to describe Native Americans (or from the late classical era the term barbarian) m, or the terms “little woman” “girl”, or “weaker sex” to describe an adult woman, or use of the word “gyp” derived from “Gypsy” a descriptive word imposed on a group who call themselves Romani. Or words that have been used against other racial groups such as Japanese, Chinese, Italians, Poles, etc. to denigrate them. Sometimes such vocabulary/redefinition are simply correctives that reflect natural cultural evolution but what we are seeing today is The strategic and intentional deconstruction of social terms for the purpose of disempowering the status quo. Consider how riotous burning and looting of cities are now “peaceful protests“ and how Republicans and Trump are “evil” and a “threat to the Republic,” and how free medical care and free higher education become “fundamental human rights” and how international border are suddenly “apartheid walls.” Or how in North Korea the only word for love that is taught to children is one that can only be applied to their “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-un (who is, in yet another example of Newspeak, described on Wickipedia as being a “North Korean politician.”)

        Salemi says that we are at at war. He is correct. And one of the battleground is in the area of vocabulary and the definition/meaning of words.

      • Paul Freeman

        You’ve given us a lot to think about, James. That’s really got the neurons firing.

  10. Daniel Kemper

    Solid, sad message in the end. Needs to be said. Thank you.

    Reply

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