The Closing Doors of Liberty
Excuse me, but did anyone just hear a strange sound? I don’t hear too well, but I really want someone to answer me. I clearly heard a very disturbing sound, and I am wondering if I am alone here, in this dark place. What I heard, or think that I heard, was a sharp, solid “click.” You, know, the sound of a good solid door closing, not slamming, just firmly being shut. I hoped at first that it was just me, the last of my good ear closing off, but it was not, as other ordinary daily sounds were still around me, but no more muffled than usual. I did turn the light up another notch, but oddly things were no brighter where I was, in my usual spot at the front door where I had stood morning after morning with my first coffee of the day. The day was just beginning and the flag had been put out in its customary place, but something had felt different when I had been briefly outside, unpleasant somehow, but nebulous even though the sky was the morning blue.
And then I heard the second click.
It was just an almost echo of the first, but a tiny bit louder, clearer and this time clearly not only in my faulty and damaged ears. The second click, being louder, moved me to look around my room, to look at things that go “click” at times: a clock, a stove cooling off, the heat or air going off or coming on, but all was quieter than before, it seemed. Not one to be overly troubled by something so innocent as normal household creaks and groans as most homes do in aging, much as our own bodies do, I shrugged and resumed my morning ritual, checking off the “must do’s and the that can wait’s” as I finished my coffee.
Then came the third click, much more firmly, louder, and final sounding, as a door not to be reopened as it was finally and completely closed forever.
The room seemed just a bit dimmer, even with the extra turn I had made just minutes ago, and what had only seemed somewhat hazy outside was now more twilight than sunrise. That I was now puzzled, even somehow nervous led me to step outside and look for a cloudbank moving in or perhaps smoke from a nearby neighbor burning leaves, but there was no hint of smoke in the air, yet the gloom was almost thick, or so it felt more than it looked. Dismal, maybe a fitting word here. As I have done at times, here outside my home of almost half a century, I talked to God, out loud, alone on my front patio, and with an audience of trees.
Has anyone else, God, heard the three clicks that I have heard so clearly in my failing ears, in the silence of my home? Is it You, telling me to look up and look for an answer outside of myself? Am I to do something that may seem odd or even insane, to do what I am being moved to do? It is almost as if I have known this moment was coming, and that I would be involved, whether I wanted to be or not. And so, I must complete this vision of what has come to me as if from the America that was, and not the America that is.
I began this with the question: did anyone else hear the sound of a door closing, not once, not twice, but three times, three doors firmly and finally closed. And I knew, and I now weep for what each CLICK was: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those were the doors being closed, not slammed in an instant, but slowly, over time, and with the finality of decisions made by powers that were not to be denied. Our Constitutional Rights were being shut away and as I fantasized each action that had been the heart and soul of America, and We the People, served poorly by the elected bodies, individuals who, each one, were sworn to uphold and honor those three most important of all our rights. They swore a sacred oath to serve and protect. And they did not.
Does anyone hear that first click? The second? The third? Are we now on the outside, and the doors are closed to all but the elite who have chosen to forever occupy (oh what an ugly word that has become) the other side?