Couple of things I’ve read and heard today have made me reflect on Langston Hughes’ distressing, inspiring, and — above all — monitory poem from a different perspective:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Let’s turn that on its head. What happens to hatred, resentment, racial prejudice if they’re discouraged in public discourse and politics, and forced underground? In other words, what happens to an evil dream deferred?
Yeah. Rhetorical question. The answer is all around us, easily to be inferred, isn’t it. Just check the SPLC website, the Congressional Record, the campaign rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates.…
“Divorce and Social Security are the nation’s wicked ways…”
Separation of church and state was said by Hitler, not Jefferson.
“Babies are being born in the US to be raised as terrorist[s].”
BP’s paying damages is “un-American.”
The irony is that Teabaggers—and those who act and vote like Teabaggers—are so similar to religious extremists all over the world. Including those who hijacked the airplanes on 9/11. Like the Teabaggers, the hijackers were destroying themselves in order to damage those they perceive as enemies.
There is a difference, though. The 9/11 hijackers knew they were destroying themselves. The Teabaggers and their supporters don’t. They’re being manipulated into destroying themselves by oligarchs who look on them contemptuously as disposable sock puppets, to be used and then discarded.
The evil dream is imploding. It’s destroying itself and in the process threatening to destroy (what’s left of) our democracy as well. Not to worry, though. The oil barons, the Wall Street barons, and ilk are primed to step in and take over. Comforting thought, isn’t it.