The Independent

why 'cans' can't do it

Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
Our founding fathers work on the Declaration of Independence in this painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1900). | Founding Fathers, Jefferson,

Culture of Banality, Begone

WARNING: What follows is a suggested collective New Year's Resolution.

Whereas, Rod Serling was a sterling, even golden teller of (morality) tales, and,

Whereas, John Landis' adaptation of Serling's story, "Kick the Can" (directed by the nonpareil Stevie Spielberg), featuring the ever-wise and now pertinent Scatman Crothers as the "teacher" from without, said episode expounding nostalgically upon the boundless joyous energies of eternal youth exemplified by the merest of games, kick the can;

Now, Therefore, by the power invested in US by our most articulate Founders, we do hereby resolve that the political application and expropriation of this game is hereby forbidden by this, our body politic, henceforth.



There, I/we said it, and we're glad--good luck with that, right?

As Sting once lyricized, "When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around." Far be it from me/us to ignore such an enjoinder from anyone historically associated with The Police or so active a verb for a name.

Seriously, has our body politic become so decrepit that we both long for that exclusively child-like exercise in escape AND fail to articulate our increasingly necessary adult regimen, long-prescribed by Dr. Realpolitik? By way of emphasis, let's say it's the 1770s and you, fresh from your work on those committees of correspondence (their internet), organized by one Sam Adams (and without being under the influence of his eponymous brew), have reached critical mass. You've tried your original Tea Party thing, featuring only the sort of serious actors Serling, Landis, or Spielberg might summon to their cause, and decided to act, decisively. No army, no money, no abundant hope, Tories all about. Voila, you've got the right stuff in the person of Patrick Henry, et. al., armed with gilded tongues, silver ones having failed.

You know the rest, or should (see "crepitus" of body politic speculation above); alas and alack, you have those torrid tongues, yes, and pens to arm them, mightier than all the world's stabbing swords. YOU convene, having appointed a young, untested, red-haired youth of Virginia's colony, hoping that his brilliant prospects will serve.

His quill in hand, quivering slightly as it grazes the sheepskin--will he prove sheepish? Can he or can't he deliver what is summoned? Will it suffice so as to become treasured by a nation yet unborn?

"When in the course of human events...."

Hence, my/our plea, made to our would-be and extant leaders of the nation, to employ language suitable to the moment, a moment of possible, yea, necessary renewal to those memorable, powerful words--"These are the times that try men's souls...." Let us, then, kick the "can't" from our midst, banality be gone.

Then, then, we will be young again, like Henry, Jefferson and Paine. Yes we CAN.

Happier New Year.

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 1:40 PM EDT | More details

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