Perhaps because I too occupy that pessimistically-infused, quasi-prophetic space in what I think of as industrialized civilization, I don’t find Ta-Nehisi’s perspective in any way grating (Ta-Nehisi Coates is not here to comfort you).
To some extent my view goes back to my deep appreciation for James Baldwin, beginning when I was a freshman in high school. I’d recently stumbled upon Black Like Me and I was very intrigued about the notion of getting to see the world through another human’s perspective. I asked our school librarian if she had any other books like that one, and she suggested a book by James Baldwin. What a writer he turned out to be.
What I found as a shy, introverted child, something of an outsider bussed to school from a rapidly receding farm countryside, is the attitudes I was able to experience in this imaginative literary world were very much alive all around me in many different ways, even in the then very liberal, academically-influenced Ann Arbor public school system; some attitudes were more overt than others, but arrogance is very hard to hide, because what is taken for granted as natural is not something folks tend to reflect upon.
And, throughout my life — this goes back now to those readings in the early sixties — despite all the liberal-minded efforts to create a world where racist attitudes are supposed to be induced to change through a patterning of conscious behavior towards a more open acceptance of each other, not that much has changed underneath. Particularly not by those who identify as white. An acceptance of all others who are just as human, though they may have different skin and physical feature characteristics, seems to always find a way to express itself, even if it’s embedded in such tropes as the belief that America is the land of the exceptional humans.
This attempt at patterning an overt set of behaviors that followed the work of martyrs of the sixties, like Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, only barely covers a deeply embedded institutional racism that cannot hide from an honest and calmly discerning apperception of behaviors and speech. Truth is very difficult to hide if one remains open and simply aware.
Perhaps that’s one of the inevitable failures of a political correctness program that so many have reacted against in a very political way recently. I now think that the political marketing phrase: “Make America Great Again” is code for “Make America White Again.”
This article was worth my time, I spent about an hour with it, and double checked all his research: The First White President
If anyone is inspired to read it, note where he points out in the beginning that Trump’s predecessors were the recipients of something he calls “the passive power of whiteness.” This “passive power” is a latent feature of American life that folks like Mike Ditka (“There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.”) have recently shown their obliviousness (at best) or active denial (at worst) about. However, with the rise of “Make America Great Again”, passive appears to be moving rapidly, in one sector of our population, from latent to overt. And that sector has had a large influence in electing the latest icon of American power to the White House.
“Certainly not every Trump voter is a white supremacist, just as not every white person in the Jim Crow South was a white supremacist. But every Trump voter felt it acceptable to hand the fate of the country over to one.” –Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Trump moved racism from the euphemistic and plausibly deniable to the overt and freely claimed. This presented the country’s thinking class with a dilemma.” –Ta-Nehisi Coates
In 2001, Tom Engelhardt launched TomDispatch, a site that’s become one of the last bastions for intellectual discourse in what I think can fairly be called, in this latest iteration, a Trumpian America, in response to the Bush Administration, and primarily to its reactions to September 11, 2001 (9/11). As one writer describes our current culture:
“Like it or not, the president of the United States embodies America itself. The individual inhabiting the White House has become the preeminent symbol of who we are and what we represent as a nation and a people. In a fundamental sense, he is us.” – Andrew Bacevich, Slouching Towards Mar-a-Lago
While I try my best to avoid inventing hyperbolic clichés to describe something complex (and what is not complex when you make an effort to examine something with your rational tools of mind?) I’d briefly describe TomDispatch’s emergence on the Internet as: an intellectual response to the imperial activities of the Bush Administration as it captured the nation’s sanity, and, as a consequence, its conscience, in the process of responding imperially to the events of September 11, 2001. That Administration did so by sending the blunt instruments of our military establishment to the Middle East where it set the template for America’s Neoconservative driven 21st Century by sledge hammering apart the already damaged and fragile governing edifices of Afghanistan’s and Iraq’s fragile, sending both nations as well as much of the Strategic Elipse into waves of chaos that continue today, nearly 16 years later.
I don’t know how I first found the site, not sure precisely when, but some time around 2003 as my memory serves me. I followed some reference with a link, I suppose, because I was reading, therefore seeking out the works of people like Chalmers Johnson, Rebecca Solnit, Noam Chomsky, Juan Cole, and the like, as I was watching the events unfold globally after 9/11. I recall thinking then that Americans were on the verge of becoming the more hysterically insane human inhabitants of the planet, but surely the majority of the people will calm themselves from their natural reaction to watching those planes fly into the Twin Towers that day, and then we as a nation will recover our collective sanity and conscience and begin a more rational process of making sense of the world once again.
While that has yet come to pass, at least to my satisfaction, I have, meanwhile, continued to enjoy the high caliber writing that Tom attracted to his site. I find writing that does depart from the hysterical chaos of mainstream media, and offers a more deeply probing approach to the daily events. And I also have to thank TomDispatch for opening the door to a broad array of writers I had yet to meet in my own reading world.
Andrew Bacevich is one of those writers. Here’s a TomDispatch interview that will introduce anyone interested to know his background, thus the context that goes into what he writes: TomDispatch Interview: Bacevich on the Limits of Imperial Power and here, Part II. What I appreciate is that TomDispatch brings, with intellectuals like Bacevich, a range of intellectuals to the conversation. This is important to me because I find a commonality in all intellectual thought, but with that commonality I also appreciate a difference in cultural context that generates its version of intelligence. With that I get a chance to think about things in ways that are somewhat familiar to my own process but at the same time different enough to encourage me to expand my way of forming opinions. It slows me down just a bit.
Today, Bacevich writes about our current cultural hysteria. Here’s an introductory remark I feel worth noting, mainly because it echoes my own accounting of the moment:
“In his article today, TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich suggests another author worth revisiting — novelist John Updike — and a caution against worrying too much about President Trump and not nearly enough about the culture, the society, the country, and the people who put him in the White House. “Trump is not cause, but consequence,” writes Bacevich tellingly.”
…too much about Trump and not nearly enough about the culture…. Yes. That’s it. But then, what does worrying about the culture really get us? How does that translate into what I would like to see as a return to some semblance of national dignity? I doubt that collectively we’ll come up with a simple answer. But the questions need to be asked, and kept out there as something to work at answering, and maybe somehow the doubting and the wondering will restrain the panic that drives us to electing examples of ourselves that we then turn to look at with deep revulsion and even horror.
With that I give you a connection to the thoughts of Andrew Bacevich:
Slouching Toward Mar-a-Lago
The Post-Cold-War Consensus Collapses
By Andrew J. Bacevich
When you go off on your own to resist your society, much of what you do to imagine resisting has few social restraints. You are left to your own restraints. To whatever your sense of morality might be. To your ethics about how to treat others. That could be a very simple ethics: treat others as you would like to be treated. When you do that, set off on your own in opposition to what you see as the whole of what society does, then your speed along that path can be very swift. Your understanding, your development is fairly pure and clear, and thus not a mess of contradictions that fog the reality around you. In that way you become very much alone. You will see that if you do it, really do it.
One of the outcomes of disagreeing with what you may see about the society you live in can be an emotional response related to your own sense of self. It could be a sense of threat, a trigger of fears that can become the response we know as anger. Anger must be transformed or it will consume the growth of the self realizing mind. I’ll leave it at that. Simply, beware of your own anger and what it does to your mental state.
All feelings are systemic. Feelings are the fertilizers that grow the mind. Familiarity with your own feelings is the key to awareness. Logic and rational thinking, on the other hand, is only a tool for self management. Do not let the rational management factor of the mind become the driving force. Logic and rationality not subjected to the complexity of systemic thinking will become isolating if one has a desire of achieving a coherent wholeness of understanding. Logic in isolation seems clear and is thus very alluring. But logic and rationality lose coherence once applied to larger systems because they inevitably run into contradictions. That is both the beauty and the limitations of the problem solving rationally objective endeavor we call science. The end result of almost all logical efforts to understand the whole of the world is to create a concept like “godness”. God is simply the logical answer to the truth of our limits to understanding, and the allure of wanting to know that we know. To say we know we induce and thereby conclude that possibility of knowing with a word.
My epiphany came out of a dream I’d been having just before reveille. I was on the U.S.S. Sacramento and it was off the coast of Vietnam, Yankee Station, South China Sea. I remember the date, the approximate time. the moment. It was very simple, just a question: what would happen if we all simply just ceased following orders and walked away from the madness and followed our hearts?
Shortly after that moment, I thought something; it may be a poem. It goes like this:
Thought is an iron fist
Hold down long enough
something like a spring
if you can
you are not a child
MYSTERIOUS giant craters 50ft wide have begun appearing in northern Siberia as temperatures rise in the region.
I’ve been trying to keep track of the science on these crater events since they first got noticed back in 2014. I think the key points in the article are in synch with the the common observations that have been coming out since the first crater was discovered. The theme is, the tundra is melting. The melting releases both CO2 and methane. This has happened before. Yes, true, but the last time the geologic record tells us it happened was 130,000 years ago, and that permafrost melting happened over thousands of years. This one is happening over decades. While the actual sinkholes remain an unresolved phenomenon by the strict, objective standards of science, the melting of the permafrost has become much more thoroughly understood.
If you see the world from a systems view, which is the view I learned while studying ecology back in the early 70s, then you can begin to imagine the entire earth as a complete system. There are also systems within systems to take into account. Systems within systems are connected and with that connection you get feedback loops. What’s happening with the melting of the permafrost is part of a positive feedback loop process.
Positive feed backs can accelerate effects in a geometric fashion. Thus a linear projection of global warming can quickly become a geometric effect with an acceleration of the warming. That’s ecology and systems thinking 101. One of the first principles needed to be learned to understand systems thinking.
If you don’t teach system thinking in the education system, people don’t even get a chance learn what it is and therefore can’t make a deeper, richer sense of this kind of interconnecting, narrative enhancing information. IF people can’t put together an interconnecting narrative (why do we love storytelling and especially mythological storytelling? I’d suggest because it helps to build a sense of wholeness in our understanding of the world), their understanding of scattered bits of information presented in various ways through media remains peripheral, isolated, and fails to become part of a general narrative about what’s going on in the world.
I’m feeling very safe in saying people like Donald Trump never were exposed to this way of thinking, or if they were, they were successful in ignoring them. Why do I feel safe with this view? Because I brought it to my job as a systems analyst and strategic planning consultant, which I sold as a skill to corporations like the ones run by Trump and other CEOs. Their “art” of making “deals” has no relationship to this level of systemic understanding of the entire world. Their skills are isolated events that are considered successes in the moment, but no consideration is given to the long term systemic feed backs they may cause. They relied on nerds like me to pay attention to that, and in their corporate reality, in their world view of making the deal and solving the short term problems of keeping their corporations profitable to keep their stockholders happy, and therefore being a success, we were mostly in the way. At best they might breeze through the executive summary of a 250 page systems analysis and strategic plan we labored to put together for them.
Unfortunately these are the people making decisions about what goes into causing some of these positive feedback loops. It’s like, if your body had a fever, and your doctor told you what infection was causing that fever, and what you were doing to enhance that infection, rather than inhibit it, and you blissfully ignored that advice and went right on with your addictive behavior that was actually the cause, your body may not, in fact, probably would not be able to compensate for the infection, and the chance of it killing you would accelerate as the infection sets in and spreads all through the body.
Obstruction of Justice: A felony under federal Law.
According to the official record, Obstruction of Justice has been the core of the last two articles of impeachment brought against American Presidents Clinton and Nixon. The currently appointed Special Counsel Investigator, Robert S. Mueller III, is carrying out a broad investigation of links between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, and any matters that arose subsequently to the election in relation to that association. That includes current charges of obstruction of Justice that Trump has incurred related to his firing of FBI Director Comey on May 9. This is my attempt to try to organize the structure and meaning of obstruction of justice as a legal concept related to that investigation.
My concern is that too much has been made of the hyperbolic features of this President. Yes, to many of us, he appears both erratic and incompetent. But the larger issue overshadowing those features — leadership features that have brought about reams of, to me, hyperbolic description of the person himself from those who are understandably aghast by his sudden ascendancy — has to do with standing in resistance against what also appears to be an accelerating, ill-conceived effort to deconstruct years of work towards putting in place of a carefully structured oligarchy by Founders who were the propertied elite of their day, democratic policies and institutions. These were necessary to put in place because of a Constitution that was, to begin with, a poor effort at creating a truly democratic social arrangement in what’s come to be called the United States of America. We the People kept discovering these deficiencies and, at the grass roots level, so to speak, began efforts, time after time over the past two centuries, to correct them.
In response to over two centuries of democratic correction, what’s now occurring appears to be an accelerating expansion of a developing inverted totalitarian rule by what has come to be called the “one percent”, with the current president as a very visible member of that group, elected under circumstances intractably set up by the Constitution that are in their very nature, undemocratic. In Trump’s case, this effort is being accomplished in the name of “restoring” something ambiguously described by him throughout his election campaign and so far through his brief reign, as American greatness.
So, to resist — and I consider myself a member of those who resist — is to resist this oligarchic-inspired reversion to what I see as a deeply entrenched oligarchic structure that we have so doggedly dragged ourselves out of over the years. The “truthful hyperbole” of Trump’s sales pitch — that he wants to “make America great again” — barely disguises his true intent: that he wants to restore the original intent of those who set this nation up for a specific group of property owning white males, like himself.
My hope is to inform myself about the law of obstruction so I can articulate the seriousness of this charge to anyone I happen to talk with about this subject.
Federal laws defining obstruction of justice are found in Title 18, sections 1501 through 1521 of the United States Code. In looking at those sections, one can see they define 21 separate obstruction crimes.
Robert Mueller will be looking at the accumulated evidence, as it has been accumulated so far, and as it will be as his investigation unfolds, in an attempt to discover if anything President Trump has done (and may continue to do) can be legally defined as obstruction of justice.
Bill Blum, a former judge and death penalty defense attorney, now a writer, has provided me with a lot of legwork in paring down the legalities of Obstruction of Justice. Here are three of his most recent articles, all focused on Obstruction of Justice (Please note: although for some inexplicable to me the following do not appear as links like all the others in this post, they are actually links, and each can be clicked on to get to the article at their source):
I posted this essay on my Facebook timeline today, where I’ve been writing lately. Very frustrating writing environment. This essay, however, may be worth saving here. In Facebook, I know this will just drift off into oblivion. It sort of offers my very own version of what I see as the big picture explanation for this latest entry into the decline of the American Empire: The Trump Presidency. But even more, it’s about the decline of the global complex system, a system that goes by many names. A more commonly popular name lately has been the neoliberal global system.
I begin by offering two fresh versions attempting to explain the Trump phenomenon:
One from Chris Hedges: After Trump and Pussy Hats. In this Chris argues that kleptocracy (corporate power) made the Trump Presidency possible.
Tom Engelhardt, whose Empire Project I’ve been following since it emerged on-line after the start of the illegal Iraq Invasion, argues that the Iraq War, and the emergent war culture that followed, brought Trump to the White House: President Blowback: How the Invasion of Iraq Came Home
I think the answer’s not either or, it’s both. The two go together, war and corporations. I don’t really know how, but somehow I saw that when I got off that bus in boot camp back in 1966, ignorant though I was, deprived though I’d been of the accurate historical perspective that would have told me the true story during my so-called institutionalized, state-approved public education up to my eighteenth year, I somehow saw that I was a prisoner in a massive system I at that point did not understand. So I know from experience it’s possible to see what’s taking place, even without thoroughly understanding it. Whether change can occur without a thorough understanding is an entirely different question. Without actually having a solid answer, I’ve been a part of an active anti-war resistance movement since I got back from Vietnam.
Then, after I studied anthropology and ecology, I began to see how a global economic system engineered by transnational corporations, threatened indigenous cultures, stomping them out as it took over their habitats, and turned many of them into industrial monocultures feeding the industrial matrix that includes Europe, the United States, and now China-rising. Of course the displaced indigenous culture individuals had no choice but to migrate once their habitat disappeared, so now “civilized” humans are experiencing an “immigration problem” with the Trump Presidency as its latest emblem of that 10,000 year, civilization-activated dynamic.
In the process civilized human beings have grown to massive proportions, ecologically speaking. They walk around looking like normal human sapiens, but their actual size is quite deceptively huge in terms of habitat encroachment and species displacement, with our precious planet now entering a Holocene Sixth Mass Extinction event. The cause is not hard to determine with a little scientific inquiry. Yes, science, the same tool that helped cause the problem also explains what the problem is. In 1980, William Catton tagged this emerging technologically civilized species: homo colossus. I’ve never forgotten that image.Homo Colossus stomping through eco systems on the planet. Civilized humans, can be measured by the size of their ecological footprint, and the evolved biology of the planet it crushes as it goes.
So I’ve been an active part of an anti corporate movement as well. That endeavor has taken a lot more effort to undertake. The effect of a complex global corporatocracy on our lives is much more deeply embedded in our consciousness than most of us consciously recognize. It takes some serious work to reveal what’s really going on. Conspiracy theories are the usual shortcut that many take when the size of the task begins to emerge from the depths of our collective subconscious. For most of us in these industrially civilized nations, it’s our very culture that we live and breathe, even if the majority of us are innocently following along, living our lives, doing the jobs that we are offered in these complex systems those distant authoritarian managers manage.
Everything Trump is doing now after getting into the White House is an act of upper management. Perhaps with little appearance of enlightenment of past managers like FDR, but he’s busy trying to save the kleptocratic system — of which he is one of the reigning members. That’s what’s happening: kleptocrats are saving their system. Doesn’t matter what name you give it, and them; some like capitalistic system and oligarchs, but names don’t really tell us much about it. The problem is abstract, structural, systemic and complex.
Our systemic protections, code-named regulations and entitlements, were never really ours. They were “allowed” by the kleptocrats as long as they didn’t interfere with the system itself. It’s clear because they can so easily take them away with the sweeping brush of an executive order. Almost nothing in this system is capable of preventing the kleptocrats from exercising their will by the will of the people. All we really do is legitimize their authority to manage the system by voting. Their concern when we protest is of minor importance to the complex systems they manage. They have the ethics and morality of machines, and what they do is entirely based in the logic of making the systems work. Management is one of the most sociopathic, institutionalized processes that human beings have ever invented as a form of survival strategy.
All our inherent humanity is nothing in the face of that pathology. And perhaps that very absence of our full human capacities, our deeply suppressed emotional intelligence, our empathy, our many other existential capacities that kept humans going for a couple hundred thousand years before the invention of complex social systems that became civilizations, are the secret to our own inevitable demise — inevitable as long as we keep these complex systems going..
Most civilized members of this homo colossus sub species are uneducated in the indigenous skills of survival that have been vastly decimated over the past two hundred years. Apart from what’s provided them by the system, the sub species homo colossus has few survival choices. It’s become a very vulnerable version of homo sapiens, one that’s dependent on a vast complex system now on the verge of global collapse. Protest as they might about the actions of upper management, most of this sub species’ efforts to rebel are going to run into the blackmail of corporate-controlled resources, like the ones people find on their grocery store shelves that will be there for only a few days after the trucks stop traveling the highways. Imagine that.
The question emerges, how are we enabling this process, and will we even do anything about it once the necessity to change is fully and articulately faced? I believe there are things we can do. But it will take some vision and planning. It’s extremely difficult to reverse decades of social complexity succession. I’ve been working on it for years; I’ve made a few suggestions on my web site: Watching Apocalypse. I plan to make a few more. But I’m not hopeful these days.
Andrew Bacevich, ex military, retired with the rank of colonel, thus an officer, and, in my mind, a management elitist by nature, thus someone who long ago bought into the legitimacy of hierarchy, should be someone whose thoughts I would immediately dismiss without much need for fore thought, dismiss as someone with a mental framework, a paradigm, as Thomas Kuhn called it out for us in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that would have him see the world through a lens that I find dangerous and distorted, ultimately authoritarian and pro archic. I would expect his words to follow a deep seated ontology that I’d find predictable and distasteful to my deepest sense of independence and free (from) dom (ination).
But that’s not been the case in his writings that Tom Engelhardt has shared with us on his ever outspoken against empire and militarism site: TomDispatch.com.
Bacevich introduces his own piece (Cow Most Sacred: Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable) with a tale of his visit to an annual meeting of Veterans For Peace in Berkeley, CA, a meeting I myself might have been at had I not left the Bay Area fourteen years ago. In it he expresses a sense of openness and appreciation for democratic processes that I would not expect to find in a management mentality. True, it comes with management words that make me cringe, like “rank and file” that echo those management frameworks that look down upon the hordes the management likes to manage, but still the words struggle to speak outward from that self enclosed Machiavellian box to see the possibilities and the values of freedom and liberty embedded in the outward behavior of the minions he’s observing. This paragraph in particular I found noteworthy, even eloquent:
What particularly impressed me was the ability of rank-and-file VFP members to articulate the structural roots of American militarism and imperialism. They understand that the problem isn’t George W. Bush and Barack Obama (and therefore won’t be solved by Hillary or The Donald). It’s not that we have a war party that keeps a peace party under its boot. No, the problem is bigger and deeper: a fraudulent idea of freedom defined in quantitative material terms; a neoliberal political economy that privileges growth over all other values; a political system in which Big Money’s corruption has become pervasive; and, of course, the behemoth of the national security apparatus, its tentacles reaching into the far quarters of American society — even into the funky precincts of the San Francisco Bay Area. There is no peace party in this country, even if a remnant of Americans is still committed to the possibility of peace.
If any of my weekend confreres have occasion to read this piece on the second go-round, I hope that it will pass muster with them. If not, I know they will let me know in no uncertain terms. Andrew Bacevich
I couldn’t have expressed my own vision and ongoing narrative of the structure of our civilized world and its inevitably liberty-constraining format any better. Of course, my vision only begins with this military format. I cannot speak for Andrew Bacevich, whose own history somewhat parallels mine back into the Vietnam era. His was management, mine was not.
My own big wake up to U.S. militarism and it’s relationship to what many are finally recognizing as “empire” came one morning in mid February, 1967 — I’m fuzzy on the exact date, they were all one big blur of days at the time — while I was lying in my “rack” waiting for that sleep jarring moment intended to awaken us all to another day of duty. Reveille. I hated reveille so much that my mind would pull me from sleep, no matter how sleep deprived — and we consistently were… sleep deprived, like adherents to a cult kept from thinking about what cult leaders want us to do for the cause, especially while at sea on Yankee Station — well before its blast so that I could mentally prepare myself for my emotional response. While I was lying there I was going over my past eight months of thoughts about my circumstances.
Unlike many of my fellow military cult members, the day I stepped down off the last step of that bus that had brought us into a Naval boot camp, what I felt through my feet, and saw taking place around me was not a scene where my ritual of passage to manhood was about to begin, but a replication of what I’d recently read in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and would later read about in his Gulag Archipelago; that is, a prison camp, complete with high razor wire topped chain link fences, uniformed men marching by in frozen faced pain, no doubt from their deeply suppressed personal freedom to express their inner feelings, and everything that the horrors of authoritarian dominance stimulated my inner nature to revile. That was mid May of 1966. It was Cold War, America, and I was about to go help save all of us from Solzhenitsyn’s Soviet Union that was, somehow (out of my pay grade and no doubt security clearance to know the details) extending itself into Vietnam.
I of course had not yet revealed that inner nature entirely to myself, I’d only experienced it in flitting bits and pieces, had read about it from fellow freedom lovers, like Henry David Thoreau, James Baldwin, Albert Camus, and a few others at that meager point in my exposure to the humanly civilized world. I had as yet met very few who actually expressed my own inner feelings and revulsions to this structure of dominance in the way that I felt them. Thus I wasn’t entirely sure that any such real person existed. The writings I’d indulged in were disembodied, much like my own dreams and imaginings. But the moment was a kind of crude awakening for me, nevertheless, and while everything that was to follow was intended to put those awakened sensations to sleep, in my case they did not. Rather they fed my awakening visions, and so I was lying there, waiting for reveille, reflecting, thinking I suppose you could call it, those visions, not necessarily in chronological order, but more in a kind of constantly sorting three dimensional focusing.
So all that is merely the beginning of a long process of exploration though which I developed my own vision of:
a fraudulent idea of freedom defined in quantitative material terms; a neoliberal political economy that privileges growth over all other values; a political system in which Big Money’s corruption has become pervasive; and, of course, the behemoth of the national security apparatus, its tentacles reaching into the far quarters of American society... – Andrew Bacevich
So, while I was lying there, waiting for reveille, going over the visuals of those eight months of impressions, feeling my frustration, my pain from constantly suppressing my deep need for freedom, I suddenly felt an immense sense relief, like a letting go of all that was troubling me, as I thought, what if we all just threw down our tools of war and walked away, all at once? What if we just left, and left those managers, those few elite officers at that top to do their war thing without us? What would they do? What could they do? And then came reveille. But that moment was like an awakening. And I began a new consciousness, I firmly believe, in that moment. I believe that’s how the closure of a rite of passage happens. And each rite of passage that includes a new consciousness becomes more and more refined.