When a picture is worth thousands and thousands of words

I can be pretty cynical sometimes. For two years I’ve had no problem running down the various and sundry problems bubbling up from our body politic, whether state or national.

Lately, though, I’ve had a hard time — I mean things are crazy. And I say that as someone who has written frequently about the irrational thinking fostered in our two party system. The coming of the Trump era seems to be speeding all the crazy up.

We’ve got a president who campaigned on taking care of disappearing and desperate middle America supporting hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the ultra rich and a governor who apparently gets upset because the legislature supported something he proposed. 

Then there’s Congress — who better get up to speed quickly or risk looking as impotent as the past three Maine legislatures have when it comes to reigning in a rogue executive branch.

Things are so crazy right now I keep waiting to read the headline:  Water contamination found in DC. The subtitle would read:  Water tests confirm what many have been thinking — our politicians are trippin!’

LSD-contaminated water would go a long way as far as explaining what’s coming out of Washington, but not the crap going on up here.

Besides wondering what the hell our elected officials and their staff are taking, I’ve had a hard time finding the right words lately. It’s getting harder and harder to try to speak with a clear voice in an ever-intensifying tornado of craziness.

All the while that I’ve been struggling for words, I’ve had this residual feeling I can’t shake or explain. I was thinking about this conundrum on my way to an appointment Thursday, and suddenly I saw exactly what I was feeling.

My feeling was hanging in front of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management building in Augusta — it’s up near the airport. My feeling was an American flag only hooked by one of its attachments —

Flag in front of DVEM building in Augusta Thursday. Photo by Trish Callahan

— getting beaten by the wind. It looked ready to blow loose from the pole on the next gust.

Flag in front of DVEM building in Augusta Thursday. Photo by Trish Callahan

And I thought to myself, if anything epitomizes the state of politics in America today, that does.

Flag in front of DVEM building in Augusta Thursday. Photo by Trish Callahan

Endnote:  When I raced by on Friday, the flag had been replaced and was fully tethered, furling and unfurling proudly in the wind. The new flag epitomizes the direction our political discourse needs to go just as effectively as the torn one epitomized our current state of affairs.

We desperately need to replace our tattered discourse with a fresh representation of what our founding forefathers envisioned for us. We need to tether that new discourse firmly to our collective flag pole and fly it proudly once again. And like the folks at the DVEM, we need to do it quickly.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.