Sunday, April 16, 2017

With Immense Power

He zips along fifteen miles an hour over the speed limit, but other cars are still passing him. A story written by someone he knows comes into the little capsule, delivered via waves transmitted from somewhere distant. Such magic and sorcery all this glut of discourse. The sound pulses in columns, the result of magnetic effects on a membrane designed to mimic human speech. Wind buffets the little car as a semi tractor screams past on its way to a positive cash flow. The story is a good one about joining the Border Patrol to learn first-hand what the border means to people trying to cross it. Its truth cuts a clear swath through the buzzing chaos of trash and hype. Those wonderfully arranged words grew out of many long nights puzzling over their sequence, how they would sound to a reader's ear. The writer could wander the existing universe of information through finger taps on a computer keyboard. With the stroke of a key, he could reach hundreds, thousands, millions. It was still the quality that mattered, the telling and the truth of the telling. He hoped people would sort through the garbage to hear the immediacy of humans caught in a terrible gamble of life and death in a desert crossing. That was reality, not all this bombardment of image, commercial, and distraction in the name of diversion. The magnitude of all of this dazzled him as he turned off of the big highway and onto a narrow strip that headed south, straight south, down toward the prisons. There were men waiting there. And they were waiting for the opportunity to tell their story, to polish that story, and to broadcast it somehow in a medium not unlike the one he listened to. But their access to such a possibility was highly forbidden. These men were unplugged, disconnected, off line in a world humming with connectivity. It was just another form of deprivation for having violated one law or another, for being out-of-sync with the rules one had to follow to join the game. But not all who see these men are so removed. The possibility occurred to him that he might just be a conduit from a world cut off to a world saturated in noise but hungry for truth, for an honest word. He had no idea of the power sitting there, right in front of him, waiting for his simple desire and the move he might make.

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