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POLY: Watching Villages Burn (Ft. Zleap)

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Twenty years ago, I was the Editor for the newspaper, discussing Bush v. Gore and trying to ensure maximum voter participation.  I could not have guessed how against the will of the popular vote, court-ordered cessations of recounts in a state with direct family ties to the would-be winner. The election was gifted to an administration who could continue the GOP time-honored tradition of burning down villages. I was angry, but I didn’t understand the gravity of what was about to be set in motion; few of us did.

The anger had not yet subsided when 9/11 happened. I remember how 9/11 was presented didn’t feel right; the images, the narrative, and mostly what the Bush administration did in response left a deep unsettled feeling in me.  Shortly after, I was a part of the intelligence services hoping to learn a greater truth. Whether I like it or not, I’ve learned vastly more than I ever bargained for, and there is no returning to a state of ignorance. I was helpless as in the wake of 9/11, the USA’s ugly authoritarian side was given fresh life to rise and become even more ruthless and exploitative.  As mass surveillance was given the green light and other rights continued to be stripped, I was off to war.

War is hell, a sentiment shared by countless individuals spanning the length and breadth of the human experience for hundreds of thousands of years. In the chaos of all the moving parts and the speed of the operational tempo, my base persona shone. I demonstrated myself to be relentlessly compassionate and deeply troubled, likely the only things still accurate today. I understood we invaded the wrong country. I was angered by those in my uniform who killed out of racism and revenge.  I wanted to help those who acted in a manner virtually identical to how we would if we were invaded. The value of people because they are people was reinforced down to the core of my being.

Those trying to carve out a small pocket of solace and stability in a swiftly de-stabilized homeland were given ogre’s choices, ultimatums, from bad-faith actors on different fronts. While we were no saints, making widows and orphans in another man’s kingdom, extremist forces on their side would also kill them for working with us. I saw that in real-time, in person. I experienced people who proclaimed themselves authority figures use fear to manipulate people and do their best to destroy whoever did not comply. They would label whoever did not conform and then eradicate all those with said label. I watched with a growing despair, a confused helplessness as burned wreckage and human remains were left as messages to those who dared to defy. The Defense Contractors were the only winners in the war, and eventually, I came “home.”

I’ve spent many years trying to get past despair, confusion, and helplessness. I am far less confused, but only because I have a greater understanding of how deep the rabbit hole goes on fear being used to manipulate people into compliance here in the USA. One needs not look far, a cursory look at how Christianity, White Supremacy, or any resistance to Late Stage Capitalism has been wielded and fear is in the DNA of the USA.  One or multiples of those three had caused villages to have been burned here since at least 1619 when slaves arrived at the Virginia colony, but likely even earlier when white men devalued indigenous peoples.

Now, a new digital landscape arises in Social Media. This instantaneous gratification satisfies the American appetite and gives a hungry and radicalized audience everything they need to gorge themselves.  Instead of just individual isolated voices or outlets, like Limbaugh or Fox News, the firehose is endless. Overnight, people were inundated with techniques they’ve never seen before, and it worked.  You no longer need strictly nuanced approaches like Reagan’s War on Drugs, which was a dog-whistled way to go after minorities, while at the same time doing nothing about the AIDS crisis.  If the prisons fill with ‘them,’ the justification is always going to be, “they shouldn’t have done anything illegal.” I imagine these same people would turn over German Jews and Jesus, that is following the law. Villages were burning, but it was ok; it was ‘their’ villages.

I watch with the same despair and helplessness as there are still some dog-whistled approaches, voices screaming about the dangers of suburbs dying and different types of housing ‘invading.’ Those don’t need to be as prevalent anymore.  As the Senate has abdicated its responsibilities to govern, it is poisoning the judiciary branch with malicious intent, and we have a malignant narcissist in the Oval Office who views a pandemic approximately seventy 9/11s in casualties as ‘acceptable.’  The Late Stage Capitalists are cheering as they hoover up wealth at the expense of us all with no moral compass other than the one that points to themselves. People who view themselves authority figures are killing people in the streets with wanton abandon. Citizens in the streets with a clear desire for peace shout their consent to be governed via authoritarianism is not being given. I watch villages burn here, and the parallels between here and there hurt.

My life has been a constant struggle to put out the fires.  I am one person in a world of people who profit from the fires and who view equality as oppression.  I am not alone; I am a part of a long lineage of honorable women and men who have wanted little more than to be valued as people because they are people, and the opportunity to contribute to the chorus of the world with their unique voice. It is difficult right now when everywhere you turn, there are the forces of religious, racial (social), and economic oppression and their defenders, and they’ve allied, mainly, in one political party.

I used to think this period was just a dark stain on our history, instead of understanding it’s an accumulation of decades of effort from people rotting us from the inside.  When I returned from living abroad, the culture shock that hit me was tangible. The America I returned to wasn’t the one I left. In truth, the America I departed was just a naive romanticization from a youthful idealist whose innocence hadn’t yet been entirely destroyed. I was not a social child, but even as a kid, I had little patience for immaturity.  As a teenager, I was frustrated by a church that had no answers for applying critical thought to mythology.  I was learning how difficult it was to reason your way out of a position when one did not reason themselves into that position. I have this struggle now with the theocrats, the racists, the authoritarians, etc.  We are often at an impasse wherein their views of a white Christian utopia does not exist, but if I’ve learned anything lately is reality is a village that has to match their agenda, or it gets burned. I’ve had enough of watching villages burn.


I was working on this piece for sometime when the news broke of RBG's passing. I started crying as I knew life was going to get even worse. I want to take tonight to celebrate her accomplishments before I wake up tomorrow to mourn her passing, but I can't. Plato is quoted to have said only dead men know peace. The forces of evil determined to prevent America from being a better version of itself are a constant reminder he was right.

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the drums and percussions made the mood even better lmao

Anchorwind responds:

Much appreciated. This was another instance wherein I was working on a piece and the direction changed during the production process.

The Heartgrinder decided to contribute and I/we rolled with it to what you hear now.

Its great...

Anchorwind responds:


Credits & Info

Original Creator

4.65 / 5.00

Sep 18, 2020
10:04 PM EDT
File Info
8.8 MB
3 min 52 sec

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