Sixty years ago this summer, on August 7, 1961, President John Kennedy signed the bill creating The Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. It consists of forty miles of immaculate sandy beach, marshes, ponds, and upland along the Atlantic Ocean, with some portions stretching across the land to Cape Cod Bay in the west.
Henry Thoreau walked this wild Outer Atlantic Beach in 1849. He said you can stand there and look out to sea and “put all America behind” you.
I am trying to do that as I stand looking at the waves breaking on a foggy early morning shore. I am alone except for the hundreds of seals moaning on a sand bar and the gulls fishing in the tidal inlet at the far southern end of Coast Guard Light Beach. A few laughing gulls swoop by as if to mock me with their laugh-like calls.
It is very hard to put the United States of America behind you when the fog of an endless propaganda war warps your mind and tries to crush your spirit even when you look away as far as the eye can see.
Across the ocean to the northeast, Mathew Arnold, on a far distant shore in England, wrote his famous poem “Dover Beach” at about the same time that Thoreau was walking where I stand.
Two very different men standing in different worlds, not just one at a window and the other in the blowing wind.
The former was an academically connected school inspector whose faith, vague as it was, was falling away as he described in “Dover Beach”: the turbulent ebb and flow of the breaking waves of faith that was being replaced by the sad withdrawing roar of melancholic human misery, devoid of love, light, joy, certitude, or help for pain.
It was the rhythmic sound of world-weariness and declining faith in the Old World.
The latter, a child of the New World, harsh critic though he was of the resigned lives of quiet desperation most people live, was still a man of deep if unorthodox faith in the divine, telling us that most people are determined not to live by faith if they can help it, as if anyone could live without faith in something, whether that something be God, skepticism, atheism, or the then-emerging new god of science.
He considered people’s constant distrustful anxiety an incurable disease and he would no doubt consider the current religion of science a subject for his withering scorn and underappreciated humor.
Try imagining the government telling Thoreau that he had to be vaccinated and he needed a document to travel by stagecoach from his home in Concord to the Cape.
The young rebel Thoreau (he was in his early thirties like Arnold) still held to the conviction that if enough people gave serious attention to the transcendent nature of their natural surroundings and lived by its divine revelations, a new world was possible. But also only if they simplified their lives and lived by principles that excluded the mad pursuit of money, slavery, and the worship of false gods.
This was eleven years before the American Civil War, which Thoreau didn’t survive. He died on May 6, 1862. His final words were: “Now comes good sailing.”
Arnold died at age sixty-six of a heart attack while running to catch a train.
Old and new symbols of power marked their final journeys: the iron horse and wind-filled sails.
Where Arnold saw a nightmarish illusion in the sea, Thoreau saw wonder and possibility, but not devoid of possible doom. Although often cast as a wild dreamer, Thoreau had his feet planted solidly in plain reality.
“I sat down on the boundless level and enjoyed the solitude, drank it in, the medicine for which I had pined,” wrote Thoreau, so I followed his lead and sat on a stretch of sand with no human in sight and gazed at the glimmer of a fading moon until I lost my senses.
For a few minutes I was gone.
But nature and solitude do not necessarily quiet the mind, and when I returned from my cataleptic state the wind was blowing from the west and the USA snuck up behind my back. America may be hard to find, but it’s also hard to lose.
The wind blew my mind’s eye straight across the imaginary northern latitude line to Cannes, France and its Film Festival where Oliver Stone’s new documentary, “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking-Glass,” written by James DiEugenio, has just premiered.
It is hard here on the sands of the Cape not to think of JFK, especially since he saved these sands for posterity, a bit of the USA that remains if you ever go looking for it. He saved this land whose evil CIA forces slayed him. And the ironic thing about Stone’s documentary is that he could find no US backers for his film and had to go to Arnold’s Old-World England to get the money to tell this inherently American story, which still doesn’t have a distributor in the United States.
Thirty years ago, his movie JFK was sabotaged by the CIA-controlled media as a fictional illusion, and now the truth is still verboten here. But Stone will win out. For his new work tells the same story but tells it straight with facts, the same facts, and more, that supported JFK in 1991.
And the facts tell an overwhelming tale of truth, not the nonsense still proffered by disinformation specialists that JFK was a war-monger, a phony, and a cold warrior to the end. Those accusations are either lies or ignorance, as if the CIA would want to assassinate him if they were true.
JFK was murdered because he was trying to end the Cold War, eliminate nuclear weapons through negotiations with the Soviet Union, withdraw American military advisers from Vietnam, rein in the CIA, and reduce the power of the military-industrial complex.
This is why he was killed.
These are among what Stone calls “conspiracy facts,” and even as I look out at the wild Atlantic and try “to put America behind” me for a short respite, the wind fills my mind with their contemporary importance.
Stone is out front where you can see and hear him, while the CIA always operates behind our backs.
As I return to myself and my contemplation of the ocean, a lone fisherman approaches and passes me with a nod and a rod. I soon see him disappear around the strand where the inlet flows like a strong river deep into the marshes. Memory tells me Thoreau was right to say that:
many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish that they are after.”
Thoreau knew he was always obsessively fishing for elusive truth and needed no bait, only his eyes and ears and the deep state he entered when he cast his pencil across the vastness of an empty page.
Oliver Stone, too, has spent his life chasing the light of truth to expose the crimes of another deep state, the despicable men who conspired to execute JFK, the man who many a day looked out upon these waters and saw a vision of a new country he hoped to bring to reality even at the risk of his life. A country devoted to peace and domestic tranquility.
It is so beautiful where I sit. The sun is breaking through the fog and blue patches stipple the heavens. Call it dreamy.
Here the Nauset Indians fished these waters long before Thoreau. Fishing for them was like the clam shells that litter the beach. It was bifold, providing sustenance for body and soul, and their connection to the Cape eco-system was sacred. (I ask them for forgiveness for using the word eco-system.)
This was long before the profane skepticism and faith in science of Arnold’s mind and times seeped in to poison land, water, and consciousness, not to mention human and animal bodies.
As I recall, “Dover Beach” was composed a few decades after the first generally accepted laboratory synthesis of a naturally occurring organic compound from inorganic materials. Only yesterday I saw many beachgoers spraying themselves with canisters of chemicals that are the offspring of that original synthetic creation that is called urea but which I call piss.
I don’t know what the Nausets called it, but I am sure they did what I did as I got up and pissed into the wind and water, hoping it wouldn’t come back to get me. It was a relief, although my mind kept reeling backwards historically.
The white invaders – they like to be called explorers – led by Captain Thomas Hunt, arrived on the Cape in 1614 and captured seven Nausets together with twenty from the Pawtucket tribe and sold them into slavery. There is so much US history that is hard to stomach. Thinking of the slaughter of native peoples from California to the New York island can only make a US American deeply ashamed.
When Woody Guthrie composed and sang “This Land Is Your Land,” I hope he had a double entendre in mind, for surely the shore I sit upon is soaked with the blood and tears of many an innocent soul whose land was stolen from them.
It is no exaggeration to say that from the enlarging sandbar the seals’ moans sound like restless ghosts. The wind carries their ancient calls like a Greek chorus above the crashing waves. I feel as though I am attending a sacred rite that is both a funeral, a celebration, and a call to resist.
The music haunts me. My mind’s eye ebbs with the receding tide. More sand bars emerge as the sun pierces the fog veiling the water and my mind.
Behind me across the narrow strip of land and Cape Cod Bay lies the city of Boston. It was built to its current renown on the money made by its famous blue blood families through the opium trade that killed so many Chinese in the 19th century. They were money-obsessed, bloodthirsty killers. I don’t think they warned the Chinese that they were being sold a drug pandemic.
You have heard their “illustrious” names: Forbes, Cabot, Cushing, Weld, Delano (the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Perkins.
These drug dealers laundered their massive drug profits by giving to Harvard, founding Massachusetts General Hospital, and creating Boston’s renown reputation for culture and education.
First the native Americans and then the Chinese and Vietnamese and Afghanis, et al. – it makes no difference whose blood was shed to create an elegant city upon a hill, a beacon of human benevolence – and to keep it going. The beat goes on. It is a war of drugs, foreign and domestic. Follow the trail.
These “illustrious” families were also crucial in the founding of the CIA whose tentacles stretch their banking interests in black operations worldwide. These are the criminals they like to call the Agency whose existence is sustained through drugs and blood. Agents of death.
It is terrible to think such thoughts on this beautiful beach, but my forgettery seems to fail me when the wind is blowing from behind.
And to think the disinformation specialists doing the CIA’s bidding have for years tried to denigrate those Irish upstarts, the Kennedys, by falsely claiming Joseph Kennedy made his fortune in the illegal liquor business and in association with the Mob. The CIA’s war on the Kennedys, and their murder of their leading men, is a multi-faceted operation, as Oliver Stone will show you.
Here on the beach the light now seems to be chasing me. I look to my left and see a figure walking my way. It is time for me to leave. I turn and start walking north, back to civilization.
As the figure gets nearer, I see it’s a woman. I gasp at the mask she is wearing. No doubt she has taken the drug the authorities have told her was necessary to inject if she wanted to be safe and join the crowd. The drug trade is where the money is. It runs on lies, but it brings power and glory and will anesthetize your fears until it is too late. It’s not a new story, and it brings death.
We pass and she looks away.
I hear the laughing gulls and turn to see the seals standing on the waves howling in delight as they clap their flippers in applause. I’m happy to laugh along.
In the distance I see a boat heading for land.
The wind off the water blows this Dylan song into my ears:
Edward Curtin is an independent writer whose work has appeared widely over many years. His website is edwardcurtin.com and his new book is Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies.
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