No one but Glinda and Abel remember where they were when John Doe Dimslow first climbed the decorative rock in the middle of the town triangle – the hollow being too narrow to afford a town square, and the mountain rising too steeply at the base of the triangle to have any construction other than steep lawn and flower beds. Upon the town rock John Doe Dimslow preached to the mountain.
Dimslow preached to the empty rising lawn and flowers, he preached to the forest blooming above and the blue sky dappled white beyond, he preached to Swift Run Creek on his left and Cold Run Creek on his right. He preached to the empty picnic tables around the rock.
He preached to the fat spring robins and the flickety chicka-dee-dee-dees. And late that morning old lady Glinda Harrison trooped out of her pancake restaurant and strolled off to the side of old man Dimslow talking to the mountains, and she pronounced what has gone to history in the time intervening and all at once, she said most clearly for old man Abel Forthwright to hear as he stepped out from the barbershop and his late morning shave, “Done Dimslow done lost his mind.”
“You’re raped, America. You’re raped and torn and murdered and slaughtered.”
“Done Dimslow done gone lost his daggone mind, his goddog mental capacity.” Glinda Harrison reserved her approval and disapproval, both ways, and nodded to confirm it.
Dimslow kept preaching his secular sermon. His voice bounded and echoed and tripped to the edge of the creeks where it wandered and lost itself to the murmurs and bubbles and splash of holler water, mountain water, the piney, hemlocky, beechy, and hickory, maple and elm flow of the forest, scent of moss and wet rock, backwater blackwater and humus. Swampfrog smell. Pretty good too, any old timer might tell you.
Dimslow roared: “The Democrats and Republicans are not opposition parties! They are echo parties! One party comes up with a malicious idea and the other party makes it stupid. Or even more malicious. They talk about nothing at all. Drill for oil in restricted offshore areas? One party says yea, the other party says nay. They are both wrong! Because it doesn’t matter! Drill now or drill decades from now and it won’t affect a damn thing if there is no strong energy policy for renewable energy sources, for conservation, for changing energy intensive patterns of life.” So Dimslow preached.
Just so, he called out: The Democrats come up with a hollow idea and the Republicans come up with a vacuous one! There’s no there there, anywhere! The Democrats come up with a brutal plan and the Republicans come up with a vicious one. The Democrats come up with a dumb idea and the Republicans come up with an insane one. Crazy. Dumb. Stupid. Nuts. And it always seems to bag them a buck, their dumb echo insane asylum. For the rich. I’d rather be dumb than insane – I am a Dimslow after all, and proud of it – but you can see where I’m going with this. More than dumb, much more than insane, give me a damn idea that works. To surge or not to surge? To throw more troops into battle or to hold the line with what you have? This is the wrong damn question! Both asinine parties were wrong to green-light the invasion in the first place! Both parties are wrong to continue funding the occupation! Both are wrong to consider whether to withdraw in part or not at all, because the US should be out of Iraq entirely and the whole Middle East too – many yesterdays ago! Because it was a crime against humanity to invade in the first place, and it’s a crime against humanity to stay. The oil is there to be bought, you don’t have to bomb for it! It’s a crime to anyway! Both parties are stuffed full with War Criminals!”
John Doe Dimslow hollered at the mountain. Pounded his rock.
“The Democrats and the Republicans are not opposition parites, they are echo parties. And these echo parties are the two wings of the ruling business party. The DemReps! The Democans and Republicrats! The Dumblicans and Repugnocrats! The Dims and the Rips! The Damned and the Rethugs! Working together like monsters mating, bickering and replicating. Far better, as a next step, for the DemReps to merge in face of an actual opposition party such as a progressive Green party or some such. Otherwise the two party pretense, the phony opposition continues, in this the second (or greater) Gilded Age, and twelveth, or whatever, age of brutal militancy. Well, it would probably be better if there were no parties, if there were a highly active and participatory citizenry, well organized. I’ve lived and worked here and there and everywhere and what I can see is that the DemRep policies are largely rotten here and there and everywhere, and even the polls show that most people agree the policies of the Democrats and Republicans really stink, to be kind, as they do. There is corruption in every state and region, and it may or may not be worse in the hollow than elsewhere – is there some landmark study available that I’m missing, or some corrupt Appalachian gene that has been discovered? – but to have the minority opinion, or perhaps it’s faith, in the policies and lack thereof of the Democratic and Republican Parties, in any region, including this one, would essentially guarantee that the people of the hollow, the people of the hollows, will always be tread upon, and owned.”
By noon, Crier John had gained a crowd of one, a Mr. Bender Sauce, the local trash hauler, eating a sandwich at a picnic table and not minding John Doe going along on his thundering rhetorical way.
“Hey, Bender, who you gonna vote for come the big election?”
Bender glanced over at Dimslow. “That Republican fella, I guess. What’s his name, John- “
“McPain. John McPain. Of the McBleed dynasty. Hey, that’s great, Bender. A thousand more years of war, is that what you want?”
“There’s a war on?”
“A massacre, a slaughterfest, in Iraq and Afghanistan and- “
“I know, Johnnie. But you want me to vote for that urban dude from Chicago? That Democrat? Barack- “
“O’Bomba. Barack O’Bomba. The Black man. And he’s white and Asian too.”
“A man of color, one big happy rainbow.”
“Sarcasm from you, Bender? I’m surprised! What color are you, Mr. Sauce?”
“White as the purest driven snow, Johnnie. You know me, I ain’t got nothing against- “
“Oh bulldroppings, Bender. I don’t want you to vote for O’Bomba either, are you crazy! Didn’t you hear what I just said? The Republicans echo the Democrats and the Democrats do the same damn thing. Don’t you hear them! My vote goes to Ralph Nader and the Greens. They’re not perfect, but they are not poison like the Democrats and Republicans! Poison, I say! And one’s poisoner than the others. Usually the Rips, no matter how much the Dims stink. And Ralph Nader and some of them Greens don’t stink.”
“Well, damn, John. Ralph ain’t gonna win. He’s too old.”
“And McPain of the McBleeds is not?”
“He’s too underfunded. He’s too much against the big boys.”
“He doesn’t have the ear of the people.”
“He can’t win nohow.”
“That’s why you’ve got to vote for him! Vote, Bender, with your heart, conscience, mind, and soul!”
“My soul’s on strike, Johnnie.”
“Okay, okay, mine too.”
“My mind is out to lunch, as you can see, my conscience is on hold till I can pay the rent, and my heart is more inclined toward the ladies.”
“That’s what’s wrong, Bender! You’re a slaver at heart, admit it, my man. You’re a militant warrior slaver absentee citizen grubber. You’re just a grubber. A jobber, and a grubber. You don’t care. Nobody cares! A job and a good time and I’m fine. Well screw you too, Mr. Gilded Age! Do you hear me, Bender.”
“I ain’t nothing but hearing you. So what if I grub for a living, I’m proud to say, and that’s all? Johnnie, don’t worry yourself. You’ve got me almost half convinced, Johnnie.” Bender stood up, tossed his lunch leavings in the trash.
“Still sorting through that, Dimslow. Sorting on through.”
“Don’t be a slaver grubber, Bender. Don’t do it! Fight the sons of monsters! Fight them everywhere all the time!”
“Hell, Johnnie, I ain’t retired like you now. So leave me be.”
Bender drove his truck down the road.
John Doe Dimslow roared at the mountain. “There’s no leaving be! They won’t leave us be, so we can’t leave them be! We have to take from them all of what they take from us. All of it!”
“All of it.” The words echoed.
“Take it back!” Dimslow shouted.
“Take it back.“
“Take back our life!” he called.
Here in Dimslow Hollow.