‘What is clear, “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming,” 1919.
What no one wants to admit openly in the U.S. is that we are a nation gone mad.’
by Gregg Gonsalves, The Nation
We have become a nation of death-eaters. We can consume the tragedy of losing 826,063 [1.6.22] men, women and children to this disease and respond with cries to do less, to get us back to normal. And our politicians, pundits, and business leaders are all too willing to oblige.
Many of us may be over Covid, but it is not done with us. Not by a long shot.
Gregg Gonsalves is the codirector of the Global Health Justice Partnership and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-W.B. Yeats, 1919.
The poem, The Second Coming, was written in 1919 post WWI and the beginning of the Irish War of Independence following the Easter Rising.
Eugene Debs started as a railroad worker and quickly became President of the American Railway Union, the first industrial union in the US, which he helped found. He led a boycott against handling trains with Pullman cars in what became the nationwide Pullman Strike; this granted him a six month sentence in prison for defying a court injunction against the strike.
Debs ran as a Socialist candidate for President of the United States five times, between 1900 and 1920, the last time from a prison cell.