Liberal Street Fighter

THE MADMAN—-Have you not heard of that madman who connected a keyboard in the dark evening hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek the American Dream! I seek the American Dream!“—As many of those who did not believe in Equality for All were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?—Thus they yelled and laughed.

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is the American Dream?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed it —you and I. All of us are its murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this nation from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying this Dream? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Dreams, too, decompose. The Dream is dead. The Dream remains dead. And we have killed it.

“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest that this Nation has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a sadder deed; and whoever is born after us—for the sake of this deed he will belong to a bloodier history than all history hitherto.”

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his readers; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his keyboard on the ground, and it broke into pieces, shattered . “I have come too early,” he said then; “my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the screens of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several websites and there struck up his requiem aeternam somnium. Banned and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: “What after all are these empty rooms now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of the American Dream?”

With appreciation and apologies to Nietzsche and his translater, W. Kaufman.

0 0 votes
Article Rating