“It is a good day to die” might become the battle cry of some American voters in the upcoming presidential campaign. Middle-class Americans have something in common with native indians’ plight of long ago.
Crazy Horse might nod in approval. Perhaps in his own vengeful wit, swirling upon the prairie winds calling, ‘What goes around, one day comes back around.’
I was at the Duck Creek Cafe’ the other day and guess who I ran into, Martin Cross, long time governor of our state. In tow was my buddy presidential candidate Miss Josephine Calder visiting the old homestead before off again on the campaign trail.
The Cafe’ was full like most Fridays so Miss Jo asked if they could join me. I figured whatever ‘political business’ needing to discuss had already been vented. Now there only to partake of Friday’s catfish special.
The Governor at glance is a bit intimidating, opposite of Miss Jo who is like your favorite aunt. Once they settled in we had a nice friendly talk. I guess if you are a politician you learn to blend. We all blended.
It didn’t take long for the casual chit-chat of local topics to gravitate into the flow of national politics. I’ve been following Miss Jo’s presidential quest and marveled at her ability to maintain a casual character about it all. But then again Jo is the kind of individual who changes circumstance more than circumstance ever change her.
I was most interested in what she had gleaned for her many months on the road talking to a wide range of voters.
Her only reply was ‘Hoka Hey’.
The governor laughed, but it was not a jovial laugh.
We often see politicians plasticize into Barbie/Ken androids, always phony smiles on their faces with endless preaching of hollow words; saccharine styles without substance. But not Miss Jo. Miss Jo is too genuine for most folks to believe she’s real. But that’s what makes her so real. To some, her realness suggest she’s someone to fear; she’s an individual. Oh my, what a nightmare for those establishment-types.
Miss Jo can be called many things, including a student of American history. So it wasn’t unusual to hear her explaining voters with an analogy of our country’s native-American past. Like most students of history the idea of a pendulum often plays out well; what goes around comes around.
Her ‘Hoka Hey’, usually translated as ‘It is a good day to die’, was a native American’s slogan before going into battle; a battle assumed unlikely they would return alive. Miss Jo’s thesis was that America’s traditional middle-class today feels the same desperation of inevitability.
Like in Crazy Horse’s time, the lifestyle of his people were being transformed more rapidly than the natural progressions of culture evolution. As always, it’s about population, power and the purse. A glacier of cultural change was creeping westward, ever crawling toward a manipulated future. In the nineteenth century American progress did not included Crazy Horse’s people.
It was justified under the defines of ‘the Future’; to transform the American landscape from aboriginal culture into a modern european-capitalist culture. Miss Jo continued that today America’s traditional middle-class might be feeling a similar force in play.
So much so that you might hear voters cry ‘Hokah Hey’ everywhere from Main Street to Miami Beach. Soft at first but by election day it may be a thundering war cry. But is it too late? Are the secret maps of progress already drawn up in blueprints of a new future for America; a new world.
Or as Crazy Horse might suggest, one man’s genocide is another man’s progress.
Today, the cry of many middle-class Americans can sympathize with the Cherokees, Cheyennes Arapaho, Sioux and countless other tribes who assumed they lived in a land without change. That the only certainty was their tradition. Only to find that the one thing to change was tradition.
But such change only knows one direction and progress only one consequence. Then one day you see the inevitable in their eyes. The futility. Their resignation of a newly define irrelevance. By the time the conquered realize the nature of their fate, it is always too late. America’s middle-class woke up in 2016 and realized it was too late.
“There is an axis of control i’ve seen developing over the years in my life,” Miss Jo continued, “confirmed while on the campaign. There is a group of well-entrenched power-brokers that pretty much controls all vital areas of society; government, education, finance, judicial, media. It’s not obviously coordinated in any fashion, but a common understanding among these self-defined aristocracy; almost as if part of their DNA.”
This group, some call elite, oblige themselves a strong sense of responsibility to define the best blueprint for the future. If you disagree, Like Crazy Horse, you are part of the problem.
Elites define society only in three realms: First, those with similar ideals of how the world ought to be. Then, ‘Pet-People’, those needing shepherding because, like pets, they have not the ability of their own means to survive and no need to even be given the chance. In return they expect Pet-People’s loyalty and obedience. finally there are the enemy tribes, those who resist the inevitability of a new social order. Those who’s pride is as individuals.
The enemy of the elite are those that do not conform to the ways best for one society. The enemy are individualist; selfish people who think first in terms of what is good for them over what’s good for the society. This enemy has a Crazy-Horse-mentality, proud and stubborn; always trying to keep what they need, instead of giving what others think they don’t need. They are boulders in the path of glacial progress and their sharp corners must be ground round. It is the price they must pay for nonconformity.
History is filled with rationales of why those who think they have the best social design should prevail at the cost of those with traditional ideas who want to only be left alone. Most always their calculations insure they win such battles.
The people of Crazy Horse’s culture, like middle-class Americans, awoke one day and realized they were irrelevant; never to become relevant again. Others, newcomers to the land would now become newly relevant as part of a new cultural design-new traditions as a banner for change.
“I hear it often said that voters are angry,” Miss Jo said. “Heck, they are so beyond anger you can hear the echoes build louder and louder, ‘Hoka Hay!”
Driving home that day I tried to filter down all I had heard. I’m not smart about such things so it takes a while. It was all new to me, just as it had been all old news to Miss Jo.
To help clarify such complexities I remembered an old Indian film I once saw about the struggle of nineteen century cultures. There’s a scene where Colonel Custard meets Crazy Horse, the indian chief wishing to understand why his aboriginal way of life so threatened white newcomers.
What Crazy Horse heard might be the epitaph of America’s middle-class.
To paraphrase, Custard explained that native life was backwards, part of the past, heathen and an obstacle to technological progress. That indian people were ignorant, and would be conquered by a progressive vision of the future; their native way of life was obsolete and his people would all soon die because they lacked the ability to conform.
In this century they are called middle-class Americans. Conform or become irrelevant.
No matter what these simple and proud people might believe, their traditions would be forced into obsolescence. They soon would be replaced by trains, telegraphs, treaties, contracts and mortgages. Lawyers, bankers and politicians would be as the stars in the sky.
I remember the look in Crazy Horse’s eyes, ‘All the words have been spoken...now only to prepare for battle, Hoka Hey’.
In the end, much blood was spilled, mostly Lakota blood staining the grassy plains soon to be owned by white Americans with legal papers conceived by modern warriors-lawyers.
Custard probably didn’t believe Crazy Horse would have the first laugh, but in the end the Americans that Custard represented would have the last.
But proud and righteous people never die easy, as they cry ‘Hoka Hey’ into the voting booth.