I am feeling reflective today when thinking about the past twenty years of my life. My beloved and deceased mother used her unique expression of “hatch, match, and dispatch” when chronicling those three major milestones in life when we are born, partner with a companion, and leave this life and earth for either the next world or nothing at all. It was twenty years ago when I was an unfortunate resident of St. Paul, Minnesota as a transplant from my native home in Chicago. This was the period in life when I struggled to be a “successful” musician and find a record contract for my derivative songs. I was lucky enough to be signed in May of 1998 to Jamesland Records in suburban Chanhassen(hey, Prince lived there before he died!) with local producer heard my “demo tape” recorded in April of 1997 at the Noise Chamber of Rockford, Illinois with a professional band(Bare Bones). However, I was also introduced to the psychological anxiety of panic disorder and depression in the summer of 1998 after moving into an apartment with a woman who would soon become my ex-girlfriend. When the work day ended at Borders Books and Music where I was employed, I would take long walks down the streets of St. Paul and hoping that life would improve. The air had often smelled cleaner in Minnesota despite the fact that I was a stranger in a strange land(you can view the Coen brothers’ film of Fargo from 1996 to confirm that Minnesotans are a strange breed with a ridiculous accent). Bob Dylan relocated from the “gopher state” to New York City as soon as he had the chance during college. Yet, I completed college in 1996 with a Bachelors degree that would only guarantee a job in either retail or the food services industry; you would be correct to assume that the former is far more tolerable. Yet, I can still remember the yellow moon during those solitary constitutionals on the streets of St. Paul; I was closer to being Sinner Paul who was far more comfortable in the legitimate city of Chicago, and I returned home by late December of that year. Before leaving Minnesota, Jesse Ventura(wrestler turned politician) was elected as the state’s new governor, and I can only assume Donald Trump noticed that a lack of qualifications and political experience doesn’t preclude someone from achieving a job in government at the executive level.
The autumn of 2008 in Chicago was a better experience than ten years earlier, as I was a successful psychologist at Chicago Family Health Center on the Southside of the city. Yes, I was able to parlay my experience and recovery in treatment for an anxiety disorder into a career after completing a Masters degree in counseling and a doctoral program in psychology. I voted for Barack Obama when he ran for senator of Illinois in 2004, and his victory was the only bright spot in an otherwise depressing election; President-elect Kerry was denied his rightful job due to voter suppression in Ohio. However, my job was to improve the lives of my patients through instilling hope and providing the symptom alleviation that can be gained through talk therapy. Hope was a major theme for Obama’s presidential campaign, although it was high time for drastic change with an economy that collapsed through years of deregulation, predatory lending, and malfeasance by white-collar criminals. The vast majority of my clients were people of color from a low socioeconomic status, and they couldn’t be more excited about the possibility of electing the first African-American president; I didn’t mention in session that Obama was actually biracial due to his mother being a white woman, but we could all agree that he was a Chicagoan despite his birth in Hawaii(the state would later be conflated with the nation of Kenya due to the current president). Late October in Chicago was buzzing with excitement, and I was proud to be part of it. I can remember a harvest moon on Halloween night that was Friday when I helped my father with distributing the candy to children who stopped by the house; my mother was out of town and might have prevented me from catching a cold on that night. In fact, I was unable to attend President Obama’s victory party in Grant Park during the following week due to my sore throat and running nose. Regardless, I had never felt more proud to be a Chicagoan in the state where Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama cut their political teeth before they saved the nation from itself.
It is strange when pride converts to shame simply because of a change that isn’t hopeful but based on the combination of fear and anger instead. I refer to Trump voters as “Trumpsters from dumpsters” because so many of them reflect the racist “white trash” that is an embarrassment to my race; they were duped by the sound of a dog whistle that has been blown for the sake of Republican presidential canddiates in elections since 1968 when it was initially referred to as the “Southern strategy.” I am not a resident of the United States today, and I am feeling pride in my decision to become an expatriate instead; my love for an Italian woman who resides in England has been a factor in changing both my life and location. Nature has a way of levelling the playing field on this earth. Actually, it was earlier today when we were greeted with a vibrant rainbow after a brief thunderstorm in the afternoon. I don’t know about the outcome in the midterm elections in the USA during early November of next month, but I would be voting for Democrats again if I was there in person. The moon can be viewed whether it is seen from American soil or England’s earth from where two of my maternal ancestors(Priscilla Mullins and John Alden) chose to leave Surrey county in 1620. I have atoned for their mistake made in pursuit of religious freedom, as a conservative “Christian” bigot such as Vice-President Mike Pence can turn the pursuit of freedom from religion into a noble cause. Despite the nation of one’s location and the religion that corrupts it, nature can be experienced as an environmental gift that doesn’t require a formal purchase. The moon is shining tonight in Weybridge, and I am accepting this harvest as a warning that we reap the crop which is sowed into the earth. Trumpsters should be warned of when they plant the seeds that are fertilised with fear, anger, and hatred, well, they can’t claim to be shocked when a shit tree blooms with turds on the vines. In late October of 2018, my harvest moon is shining as a reminder that we as humans will have to hatch, match, and dispatch before the sun can rise again in a new(better?) world to come.
Paul Haider, England