peace and justice files

Mortal politics

By SKIP MENDLER
Posted 10/28/20

(Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Please… yes, thank you… please, be seated. (Applause continues.)  Thank you again. (Applause subsides.)

My dear friends and fellow …

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peace and justice files

Mortal politics

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(Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Please… yes, thank you… please, be seated. (Applause continues.)  Thank you again. (Applause subsides.)

My dear friends and fellow mortals:

It is my distinct pleasure, as well as honor, to address this fifth gathering of the Mortal Americans Party, and to accept your nomination to be your candidate for Prime Speaker of the New American Democratic Republic. (Applause.)

In the Mortal Americans Party, we have, at last, I believe, found the one thing that ultimately unites us all. Our friends in the Transhumanist Life Extension Party and the Eternal Life Party may disagree, of course, and we look forward to our ongoing discussions—but for now, we have come together here today on one basic fact:

We’re all gonna die. (Applause.)

Liberals, conservatives, atheists and believers alike—all races, genders, variations, mutations and modifications—whatever our backgrounds, whatever our present circumstances, whatever our dreams for the future, we have learned that we must always keep that one inalterable fact somewhere in our minds and let it inform all that we do.

For too long, we tried to pretend that death didn’t matter. We kept it in the closet. We tried to hold it at bay with vitamin supplements and dentures, Viagra and facelifts. We idolized youth and kept the elderly at a safe distance.

But the pandemics, and the years of upheaval they have caused, have changed all that.

There is no one way to cope with mortality, of course. Some of us are of the “eat, drink and be merry” philosophy. (Drunken cheers from the Hedonist Caucus.) Some of us take refuge in the comforts of spirituality. (Shouts of “Amen!” and “Namaste!”) Some of us embrace the dark aspects of fatalism. (Silence from the goths under the bleachers.) We respect and honor each other’s decisions, as we would have our own respected and honored. But I think we who have come here, at least, have agreed that it is important to “do what we can, in the time that we have, where we are, with what we have been given.” (Applause.)

We have learned that it is not just about us, but about those who preceded us in history, and those to come, who will take up our path in the future. We have learned both to take the long view and to live with gratitude in the moment. We have learned that short-term personal gain is unfulfilling when compared to helping our fellow mortals cope with the pains and challenges of life. We have learned that we cannot be uninvolved in the lives of others, however hard we might try. We have learned that while it is good to live independently and self-sufficiently as possible, there is no shame in asking for help. We have learned, painfully, that unbridled self-centeredness, the idea that “I gotta get mine, and to hell with the rest of you,” does not work—neither for an individual nor a nation.

Most of all, we have learned that today—this moment—is ineffably precious. We must use it as best we can—whether it is to go vote, to help a neighbor, to take care of ourselves—because we do not know if we will be given another chance.

So let us move forward, my friends, towards the inevitable, with uplifted spirits. “Give out of your heart,” as our slogan goes, “until your heart gives out.”

Let me leave you with the words of Phil Ochs:

And I won’t be laughing at the lies, when I’m gone

And I can’t question how, or when, or why, when I’m gone

Can’t live proud enough to die, when I’m gone

So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.

(Applause.)

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