The highway to hell needs chauffeurs for the powers that be

The highway to hell needs chauffeurs for the powers that be April 5, 2024

• “The Bees of Wrath

After Woods, 55, was charged with four counts of “assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (bees),” three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon (also bees), and disorderly conduct, she was heralded as a folk hero. “This is not about a few sheriffs getting a few honeybee stings,” she said in an interview. “It’s about predatory lending, which is thriving in Massachusetts and beyond.”

Not all heroes wear capes.

Yesbutofcourse apicultural vigilanteism can’t solve all of our problems. And it didn’t actually solve this problem.

But the specific context here is that of watching a 79-year-old neighbor being evicted by local law enforcement officers who probably don’t like or even fully understand how they’re either protecting or serving by kicking an old man out of his home. And the actual solutions here — checks on the unchecked power of bankers and creditors and The Evil Man — are nowhere to be found. They’re not even being seriously proposed or considered as “the community” and/or “the state” becomes a servant of those bankers/creditors/Evil One and an elder is punished for the crime of poverty by forces of inertia and money and other mysterious powers that we all pretend are just laws of nature or math rather than choices and social constructs and whatchagonnado?

And in that specific context, I’m absolutely on the side of the chaotic good Bee Lady. If a few honeybee stings help a few sheriff’s deputies and their enablers to ponder anew how it is that they’ve allowed themselves to become nothing more than bag-men for The Powers That Be then those stings are sacramental — they are tangible expressions of divine grace.

We need better laws. And we need a far better understanding of what laws are for and who laws are for and why.

Until then, we’re gonna need more bees.

• It would be untrue and unfair to say that all Trump supporters are extravagant racists who enjoy torturing animals. The vast majority of Trump supporters do not enjoy torturing animals. And some Trump supporters are not extravagantly racist.

But it is true that all extravagant racists who enjoy torturing animals are Trump supporters.

And it is, therefore, not just fair but necessary to ask all Trump supporters how they feel about the fact that their enthusiasm for the guy and for his agenda is shared by extravagant racists and animal-torturers.

I mean, sure, “Torture King” Michael Macartney is an extreme case. And I’m certain that nearly 100% of the white evangelical 81% would be properly horrified by his monkey snuff-films. I’m also certain that most of those white evangelical Trump followers do not personally admire Neo-Nazis or the Klan. But those Neo-Nazis and Klansmen all love Trump. And it is absolutely fair to confront those white evangelicals with that fact and to ask them to face the fact that every political victory they celebrate is also celebrated by Neo-Nazis and Klansmen.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Vernon said he was taking the customer’s order – two sausage, egg and cheese croissants, a sausage biscuit, and hashbrowns – and the order came out to around $8.

“He was like, ‘My order can’t be right, it should be like $11,’ and I’m like trying to explain to him that we had a promotion going on, and like it’s cheaper, and he started cussing and getting all loud, and I was like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t know why you want to pay more money,’” Vernon said.

Vernon said after the argument, the customer sped off. But a minute later, he pulled back around to the drive-thru window as Vernon was helping another customer. That’s when the suspect pulled out the gun.

Vernon said the man threatened to kill him and called him a racial slur.

This is precisely analogous to the “Tea Party” white rage that ensured massively greater expense and suffering for everyone that would linger for years after George W. Bush’s Great Recession. It’s why taking pride in quality public education went into a steep decline after Brown v. Board of Ed. It’s why America doesn’t fund public transportation, public infrastructure, or health care and chooses, instead, to privatize the costs of that onto everyone lest benefits for everybody should also be enjoyed by the Wrong People.

And whenever anyone tries to change this about America, to point out that we could all be paying less and getting more in return, angry confused white people pull out guns and racial slurs and renominate Donald Trump.

• “Right-Wing Media and the Death of an Alabama Pastor: An American Tragedy.”

You may have seen a short news item about the sad story late last year of an Alabama pastor who was outed as a private cross-dresser and then mocked and harassed into taking his own life. Mark Warren spent time in that small Alabama town with those who knew Pastor Copeland and tells this story with heart-breaking dignity and grace.

Esquire allows a limited number of free stories before their paywall locks you out. You may want to use one of those to read this beautiful piece.

• The title for this post comes from the late great Mark Heard’s “Rise from the Ruins,” which not enough people have heard in the 35 years since he wrote it:

Been listening to this one lately because it’s spring and my crew at the Big Box has unloaded and packed out 18 trucks in 15 nights and that line about “trying “to take on the weight of the everyday freight” has a particular resonance.

Anyway, for those of you reading this in an office cubicle where you can’t press play on that video, here’s Heard’s lyrics, which manage to somehow be joyously hopeful about how life is hard and we’re all gonna die.

There ain’t nobody asked to be born
There ain’t nobody wishes to die
Everybody whiles away the interim time
Sworn to rise from the ruins by and by
The engines are droning with progress
The pistons are pounding out time
And it’s you and me caught in this juggernaut jaunt
Left to rise from the ruins down the line

We will roll like an old Chevrolet
The road to ruin is something to see
Hang on to the wheel
For the highway to hell needs chauffeurs
For the powers that be

Go and tell all your friends and relations
Go and say what ain’t easy to say
Go and give them some hope
That we might rock this boat
And rise from the ruins one day

Ever try to carry water in a basket?
Ever try to carry fire in your hand?
Ever try to take on the weight of the everyday freight
‘Til you find that you’re too weak to stand?

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Why so downcast and desperately sad?
We can walk, we can talk
We ain’t yet pillars of salt
And we will rise from the ruins while we can

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