Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted December 7, 2021

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Requiem for What Never Was

Bye Bye Miss American Pie

by Bananafish308

"...the day the music died."

-Don McClean, 1971

A half a century ago Don McClean sang "Bye Bye Miss American Pie", his iconic last rites to what never was, but the American Dream would not die so easily. For almost fifty years the elusive ideal was on life support. It even appeared to go into remission at times. It tantalized us with hope and the possibilities of what might be. At long last, though, the plug was pulled and the ensuing flatlining is resounding.

To me, the year 2020 will be the year the music actually died. Like the patient on life support, it was dead a long time in every sense, but the literal sense. Now it rests in peace. With a sputter and a last gasp the agonizing is over. The mourning process can begin. I mourn not for what is lost, but for what never was. I mourn for a country that has always been so preoccupied with perpetuating a myth, that it never aspired to live up to the myth.

"God and country", "...and liberty and justice for all", and similar platitudes sound wonderful in pledges, songs, and speeches, but they ring hollow under the scrutiny of reality. In retrospect, the ideal was illusory from the start. When the benchmark for liberty, our inviolate Constitution, states that a certain race of human beings count as only three-fifths of a person, the outcome is inevitable. In truth, we were doomed from the start.

Yes, I understand that I am committing heresy on the grandest scale by asserting that the United States of America never stood for liberty and justice. The audacity to criticize our country and insist that it can be better does not fall within the purview of "liberty" and "freedom of speech" as defined by too many Americans. We are a society rife with contradictions rolled up in hypocrisies. Honest dialogue has degenerated into an endless cacophony of sound bites, memes, and talking points meant to justify personal agendas that are subject to constant revision as the need arises.

The American Dream proved resilient before its ultimate demise. Such a noble ideal does not go gentle into that good night. It took nothing short of the worst pandemic in a century to kill it, along with over 785,000 Americans. It's compromised immune system left it vulnerable to just such a calamity and now it is dead and buried. With the raging over, the epitaph must be written. Will it be one that inspires rebirth and hope for a new beginning?

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Thank you to VMarguarite for her wonderful artwork.
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Artwork by VMarguarite at

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