It is the belief in story that takes me to truth, blinding as it always is. I used to think it was the act of writing, taking pen to paper, speaking words to screen but it was never about the act. It was the deed itself, the voice that will not be denied.
Maybe that’s why I love history. Always have. Its voice never falters, even when no one listens. History has no use for the present or the future. It is the past, a voice tied to time, moments actually lived. No maybe about them.
History will be heard. It’s the only story that lasts.
Albert Camus told us that “truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.” And these are days of twilight, a time that history told us could come. Didn’t have to but did. A beautiful twilight is what happens when we twist the truth so it fits.
And just how did we do that? With words, of course, picking and choosing without regard to what was said in what context, conflating ideas and sentiment. Sinclair Lewis did not tell us that when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. It is a social media meme, albeit a powerful one.
Certainly, it sounds like a sentence from one of Lewis’ novels and he may have actually thought that; nor did Anais Nin write, “and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” None of what I have read of her work contradicts these words.
Feminism has kept Nin more accessible than the everyman novels of Lewis yet in words not his, he walks among us again because the threat of fascism is real. But it’s all mixed up–capitalism, Christianity, the Constitution–only certain traits allowed. This is a time of tipping points, the time that history told us could come.
We are living the lesson of not learning our history but fortunately, the light of the past is eternal. Fascism, on the other hand, is a beautiful twilight in all its false facets.
We have never realized the ideals of our Constitution–not even come close–even more reason to fight for its intricate web of law, the rule for everyone. The Constitution is of no particular weave other than connection, checks and balances abound.
We have known bright, shining moments as a republic, and they came at great risk, a collective call to stand in the light of day, no matter how bright. Who said living in the light is easy but isn’t it worth the risk? It was in the past.
History is not the story of single saviors. It’s the story of all of us, the times we have looked away and the times we have stood in the light of day. It is the voice that will not be denied.