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Dreamed 1992/1/18 by Chris Wayan

I'm caught in a battle during the American Revolution. The British are atop a dune. Either some of the Brits are shapeshifters, or they've cut a deal with a tribe that can turn into birds, for little dark sharp-wing birds are digging holes and trenches in the sand-slope with clearly human intent. We fire at them, but they're just too fast to hit. Redcoats and Irregulars fire at each other from opposite sides of a dune. Washington holds the crest.

General Washington, braving heavy fire, charges up the hill, falls flat among the trenches, and with mad sweeps of his arms starts filling the holes. Not smooth, but a fast rough job. If he can keep it up, soon our troops will be able to charge over the crest. The Brits yell and mock him, but they retreat back over the ridge crest and snipe. Neither side dares to cross now, though a few snipers dare to stay on the ridge. Washington keeps on--and I help. The Brits yell "You'll never fill them in!" puzzling me, since we already ARE--nearly done already. Dirty, dangerous... but doable.

Later, after the battle's won, I'm in an old schoolroom nearby. Someone calls George Washington "a boring role model." An older man criticizes Washington more specifically: "He swore he'd win if it killed him, swore he'd fill in the holes, no matter what. But what if he'd failed? What then? He didn't have, and never had, honorable contingency plans. Nothing for the rebels to rely on if he was killed. He's a poor role model!"

I ask "Then who's a GOOD role model?"

"I dunno, but the Constitution needs more sense of compromise, not iron determination. How to satisfy everyone that the deal is fair, not win for your side."

I'm not so sure about that, now that I've met Washington and fought alongside him. Filling the holes WAS possible, even easy... and surely freedom is worth a bit of risk. Compromise and careful planning aren't everything! Especially not when soldiers are sniping at you.


Yesterday I did heard a talkshow host call Washington "A boring role model"--I bet the guy knows zip about him. His record on slavery is shameful, but "boring"? He suffered terrible deprivation and risk to achieve what he did--and considering that most revolutionaries in history ended up either lifetime dictators or dead along with half the population, you gotta give him some credit.

Told my friend Lily this dream, and wondered who the critic was. She said cheerfully, "Oh, that's your mom the pacifist." You know, Lily could be right! Not that my mom's a big compromiser. More the type to ignore tactics and get us all killed for her principles. But it doesn't matter who. There are always gonna be mockers and snipers! Yet the holes in your life can be filled; the fight for freedom can be won.

You can't always listen to the mocking bird.

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