top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrian Keeler

The Denoument- Finally, Some Fresh Air- (maybe?)

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

An essay by Brian Keeler, on the end of a scoundrel-ship -

"Parable of the Slippery Slope- The Blind Leading the Blind" This oil painting depicts the proliferation of racists carrying confederate flags as was the case in the mob attack on the nation's capitol. The supporters of Trump shown here with a KKK member leading the nation into a ditch. The painting is based on the 1568 painting by Pieter Bruegel, also called "The Blind Leading the Blind."

"The Denoument," is appropriate here but somehow too charitable as well, for the finale of the impossibly debased times for us Americans. The term “denoument” is a French borrowing to refer to the untying that resolves the end of a story. The untying seems somewhat contrary though, as a tying up or wrapping up would fit the conclusion to a novel or an episode of this type. An unraveling could also apply, especially when a confluence of stuff just releases the gnarly matrix of plot and characters.

Well, that is gladly the welcome case now, as each day brings us hope of a sanity, a rationality, a beneficial and productive horizon greeting us. Perhaps I speak too soon however, as more news is invading us of a calamity unfolding in DC on this important date. We wonder if the inauguration can come too soon.

The demagogic clawing of the blowhard-in-chief continues however, even in this eleventh hour with more attempts to undermine everything that is decent, even our democracy is not exempt from the ranting of the DT and his feckless followers.

Way back in 2016, the New York Times published a long list of the abominations that the DT had already enacted, which in effect undermined decency, protocol, rule of law and so much more. That trajectory has never relented, and it became an ongoing mission of the DT, as to what norm or comportment he could trample.

Just today, in the normally very conservative opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, a vestige of a backbone was found in the article by Gerard Baker. The title of his article, “An Awesome Spectacle of Dishonesty and Opportunism” and it is a blistering indictment of the GOP from one of its own. Baker opines:

“ The action, by more than half the Republican members of the House and almost a quarter of the GOP senators, may rank among the most cynically contrived, morally contemptible, soul-corrupting acts of political degeneracy ever attempted.”

Wow! He nails it. Yes, “soul corrupting” is the key here, as many have been lamenting the lack of any semblance of soul or ethics for the past four years. We wonder why it has taken four years for commentators like Baker and Republicans in general to wake up to the extreme lack or principles in the DT. Even more disturbing is the glaring irony, of religious nincompoops of the evangelical stripe rallying to the cause of the DT, as if there was even one scintilla of integrity in his sorry cave of a chest where a heart should be. The only time he picks up a Bible is to brandish it for a photo op while peaceful protesters are being bullied, harassed and tear gassed.

I am always inclined to quote the passage attributed to Sinclair Lewis, as it is appropriate here and to so much of the actions of the political right.

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

Indeed, this quote could hardly be more apt, as that now infamous photo of the DT standing in front of the Church in DC is a perfect illustration of this.

Speaking of a preternatural ability to predict the future, the quote from Alexander Hamilton came up during the impeachment trials as the perfect metaphor for removing corruption. Here is Hamilton’s observation:

“When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits — despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”

Apparently, while Hamilton was prescient, the DT is puerile beyond any imaginative speculation that our founding fathers may have entertained. A colossal liar and so much worse, and he’s willing to drag our entire country down to assuage his own narcissistic compulsions.

All this was before today’s break in of the US capitol, and of course similar events in recent months with gun-toting NRA goons on various state capitol steps. All condoned, fomented, encouraged and supported by the DT in direct words or slimily alluded to in innuendo or veiled threats.

As looking for parallels in history and perhaps concidences, a casual look at similar occurrences is worth considering. There are some astrological alignments that do not bode well- but add to our understanding. This Saturn/Jupiter conjunct that many of us have been watching in the southwest sky after dusk this fall has some relevance. Here is a quote from an essay by Tim Smith, an astrologer friend (used here by permission):

“…in December 2020 when Saturn and Jupiter conjoin. Every 20 years a president is shot or falls ill and has to give authority to another – Kennedy & Reagan being the last two. During his tenure he will soon have Pluto opposite Saturn, which will basically thwart his authority at every turn, and with

his Jupiter symbol being “Two men brought before a Judge” there is a good chance that

one of the many lawsuits filed prior to his presidency will jail him. (Presidents are

immune to lawsuits filed during their tenure, but not those from before – those he has

to personally appear in court for, all 75 of them.)

For us… however, with Pence and Co waiting in the wings with their jackboots…

it’s pretty grim. America’s chart has a Saturn Sun Square in it, indicating that (big

surprise) Americans have a HUGE disconnect between their own self-image and the

reality of the country. That reality – that this country is deeply racist, homophobic,

sexist and favors fascism, as well as that there are regions of the country considered

some of the more progressive areas to live on this planet – that division has been

simmering away for decades, if not centuries. Rump has his Moon in Sagittarius

opposite the Gemini Mars of America—so where America is passionate about diversity

he NEEDS bigotry.”

This observation of Tim's definitely adds a wider optic, a perspective that most of us are not privy too. The part about thwarted by authority seems to be panning out with dozens and dozens of Trump's lawsuits failing and now his influence is being blamed for the losses in Georgia, and this blame coming from his own republicans. Here is another passage from Tim, who articulates so well the crises that we are enduring:

"Wow! this day is dark - pretty much what I expected, but still, it is the breaking of the bonds of the country. Once a hole is torn in the collective psychic agreement (like that monarchs were divine), that hole only opens wider--to end one era and to allow another in... sometimes better, sometimes worse. I have no doubt that this is healthy for the world, but it will be an expensive lesson for America. The more I think about the violence and abuse in this country it all comes back to the core karma: the violence and genocide of the Native American individuals and tribes. There will be no stability or authenticity to this country unless it addresses that - instead of spending more money on killing strangers than all other countries put together, spend that money on restoring Tribal lands and create wholesome treaties with their sovereignty."

There have been many occurrences during this past four years that brought us to new lows. Those following the national lead of bigotry, intolerance, and the other nadirs of human arrogance exemplified by the DT seem to come into high relief when hearing of things in Bradford County, PA. This is where my hometown is and I have deep connections there stretching back generations. So it is upsetting to see such misdirection and devolution of intelligence. There seems to be no shortage of endorsements of the worst policies in decades, ranging from lack of environmental protection to openly condoning of reckless gun laws and even wacko conspiracy advocates. And this is all in the county commissioners in Towanda. There was a photo in the regional papers of the local politicians standing next to a life-size cut out of the DT- imagine if you will, standing next to the fellow with no virtue as a badge of honor.

Even today, in the Rocket-Courier, Wyalusing's weekly, it was reported that both Steve Bannon and Rudy Guilliani stumped in Bradford County! Well, via Skype video feed to a large screen for some of their devotees at a rally. Whew, it begs the question, "who is more desperate, those two slovenly thugs or the Republicans in the county of Bradford?" They reportedly went in busloads from Towanda to DC to take part in this event with other deplorables.

As the photo at the top of the page illustrates, those hooligans storming into our nation's capitol with confederate flags waving proudly. We wonder if the swastika was there too, as these fascists and racists often run in packs. This flag waving of the banners from the vestiges of morally bankrupt regimes was mentioned in a letter to the editor I penned- and this issue has taken on more poignant importance now. It is odd when your family runs a newspaper supporting the DT and chides you for objections to such behavior. The retort to my letter, was to wonder if I had ever speculated why no one objected to the TV show The Dukes of Hazard using the confederate flag on their Dodge Charger. Hmm? Is this really worthy of consideration in light of the loss of life and destruction of our nation's capitol? This 1970's TV show, created by and for feral dimwits, should not be invoked as model for moral behavior. We would hope that a higher wisdom might be called upon.

What’s the explanation? Is there one? There was a report on NPR recently of many seeking spiritual guidance and pursing a connection to something from a higher source: God, the Universe, the Great Spirit, The Transcendent, through prayer and meditation. It is certainly understandable.

I will end with a recollection of a story a fellow dancer told us over lunch while attending a dance weekend in Cleveland a few years back. This man’s brother attended a school at the same time that Trump was there and they both played on the baseball team. Trump was reportedly hit in the head with fast pitch and knocked out cold. Brain damage maybe? That would be too convenient and not fair to the millions who have come through serious injuries and calamities. No, it is probably more sinister and the result of a vile and corrupt disposition, if not a soul without a tether to a morality or ethics of any stripe. Worse yet though, this petulant demeanor is conjoined within a fellow of tremendous huckster and conman talents willing to sell so many snake oil. And they're buying this snake oil by the barrel.

239 views2 comments


Jan 11, 2021

Thanks Simonne!


Jan 07, 2021

Wow, you said it, Brian! Yes.

You have some great references to the past in here. I especially like the Nixon cartoon. I never thought we'd see anything worse than Watergate or a president worse than Nixon in my lifetime, but, I was wrong.

Keep up the good work both artistically and politically.

bottom of page