People, including parents and friends,
like to say, "It's going to be all right,"
as if they knew. It's not a bad rhetorical
move--pretending you know when you don't.
Where would we be without such
rituals of speech?
"What goes around, comes around," people like
to say. Something about Karma, which
in the U.S. has become a girl's name. Something
about a belief in a force or entity
that controls the game--a pit-boss, say,
in Vegas: no, that's not quite right.
Or maybe it's the deep order of fractal chaos?
It has to be more than wishful thinking.
Doesn't it? It's going to be all right?
I said to a woman once, concerning a mutual
friend who'd been shafted by greasy academic
pigs in tweed, "What goes around, comes around."
(What I really meant was: they'll get theirs.)
She said, "No, it doesn't. Even if it comes around,
it's too goddamn late. These fuckers hurt her,
and they will get away with it."
True enough. Meaning: true. It's in fact the
lesson I took away from Hitler's reign, slavery,
Jim Crow, lynching, assassinations of MLK
and JFK, Black justice v. White justice,
the rise of worms in organization, U.S.-
sponsored coups, and on; and on and on:
they will get away with it.
Even if a dictator's hung,
the damage is already done.
I have said to people in trouble,
"It's going to be all right." It isn't
exactly a lie. It isn't the truth.
It's something we say. It's something
those without knowledge or power
feel as though they ought to say
just to keep the illusion of
an ongoing game alive.
These things we say to each other
that aren't exactly accurate
are nonetheless important
evidently. Tell me. Tell me,
stranger, tell me, friend; tell
me it's going to be all right.
hans ostrom 2013