On the eve of a Federal Election Campaign.
It’s hard not to think of it as a Lord of the Rings or Hobbit event. The Five Armies.
Good arrayed against evil.
The Dark Lord firm in his centre, reaching out tentacles of destruction, seeking to secure his hold, desiring, thirsting, eager in a worm-tongued, psychotic glee to dip again into the life blood of the land and all that sustains it. Gathering his forces misanthropic.
The standards of the four armies arrayed against him.
One for the prince, king in waiting. Young and beautiful and silver tongued. Mobbed as his father was, but lacking, somehow, his father’s gifts. Old retainers round him. Some say ‘bound him’ to loyalties and policies of a bygone day. Speaking with freedom in one voice and oil in another. Committing to fight the despot tyranny with every means. And voting to support despotic law. Afraid to look weak, yet looking all the weaker for it. The Prince rallies his forces, unsure if they will be there on the day.
One for the warrior woman. Green Boadiccia back from time. Once oathed to the Dark Lord’s party, now ready to lead the gathered chieftans against the might of Empire. Down with oil, down with forced unity, down with the old ways, the old armies, the old powers. Down with all who are not with her, and calling all to her side. She holds arms against all armies but her own, speaks of common cause, while insisting she alone will determine who is common to the cause. Clear on who is not.
One for the land of the Gauls. Passionately arrayed against the Dark Lord, against the Empire, against incursions, against intrusion, against any voice that would speak about union in country or in cause. Willing to ally but only in the interests of Gaul.
One for the hard man. The battle chief. Fighter of many wars, scarred, wounded, standing ready. Adept in rhetoric. Uncompromising on opinion or policy lest it give the Dark Lord an opening, an edge, an advantage. Sorting through his standard bearers, insisting on unquestioned loyalty. Driving some to the Warrior woman, some to the Prince, some to the Gaul. And yet many in the provinces answer his call still. Gathering up his forces for one long assault on Mordar.
The Orcs beat the war-drums, the Balrogs roar their fury. The wolves howl, the armies of the dead rise up to meet their master.
Where is Frodo? Where is Bilbo?
That, I think, would be the rest of us.
Tired of the constant cycle of war and attrition of lands wasted, seas used as dumping grounds, water sold, food dumped, housing denied, services withdrawn, humans abused, creatures killed, crops stolen. Tired of a world dancing to an insane drummer.
It is our turn.
Our turn to reach out, to befriend, to find the one to support. To select the person most likely to reach out, befriend, call a dance for the common good of all creation. To bring the multitudes together in common cause and end, once and for all the warfare against ourselves that we’ve been fighting.
Our turn to live fully into what we already know. Harm to one harms all. We cannot be well when another is not. We are in this together. We are not combatants, we are community.