Border Outpost: An open letter to Steve Bannon

It’s hard not to pay attention to the news that’s going around these last several weeks, and I confess that I’m not one to shut things out. So what’s a good Irish Catholic boy like Steve Bannon doing amidst this furor?

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to that item, wondering if for all that anti-Muslim, racist and apocalyptic rhetoric he’s been spouting; did Stevie-boy’s mommy ever hug the lad? A chap who asserts he’s a Leninist is merely one of those “useful idiots” Lenin referred to as necessary to carry off a Bolshie takeover of the back yard. A Leninist or liking Lenin’s way of doing things usually means you’re cruel, unkind, likes to torture small animals, and could give a damn who lives or dies carrying out the next Bolshevik coup. Here’s what I’d say to him if I could.

It’s all claptrap, twaddle, pernicious nonsense, Stevie, and you know it.

I sometimes wonder if the nuns got hold of you. They did me; at least one of them got to vent her fury out on this Scots, Irish, French Canadian, Presbyterian and Catholic, all lumped together as a generic ‘English’ boy. The nuns I encountered in my boyhood were a sort of 90-10 mix with the 90 percent being as kind and benevolent as the day is long and the other 10 percent being tough on anything or anyone outside the faith. At least that what it was like back in the day some 50 years ago, right about the time when you were a lad in short pants.

Anyway, we all got banged around as kids. That was the nature of things in those days, unlike today with everything sanitized and supervised from play dates to organized birthday parties. We were terrors and got that part of childhood out of our systems early and often. I feel like a troglodyte who actually had a childhood, complete with back lot baseball, fistfights, hilltop forts, broken bones and staying out late on summer evenings for telling stories to each other.

Sure, one sister of mercy cast a wandering evil eye on me, but I didn’t go around condemning the whole lot of ‘em, or the whole world for that matter, Stevie–boy. You may be a big shot in the White House, throwing your weight around and talking all sorts of reactionary horse pucks, but you’re still an Irish Catholic boy who ought to know better. I know you know better.

I read somewhere your dad got shortchanged by the system while the fat cats got mega-rich off his and everybody else’s earnings. My father, no saint, beat himself up unmercifully over the years as a drunk, straightened himself out, met my mother and worked for the betterment of all things afterward. He still died a horrible lingering death after a foreshortened life, and you might well ask “where’s the justice in that?” That would be missing the point entirely. One doesn’t go looking for justice where it isn’t found. Look at the guys you’re working with right now and you’ll know where your dad’s money went.

You’re in the proverbial catbird seat, the very belly-button of power, and talking Bolshie rubbish to the biggest Richie Rich frat boy in the whole universe. It makes no sense to me, hankering after world war and an apocalypse to follow. You’re on the very Mount Olympus of power now and can shake things up for all the right reasons, pal. Drop those dirty fascist thugs from your email list first. They’re nothing but cowards who like wearing Hugo Boss. My uncles Royden and John would have made short work of them. Come to think of it, they did.

Stevie, pick a fight with Islam and you’re going to lose in ways you never imagined. So don’t.

If I could, I’d go full-blown Buddhist and Christian on you and say “one iota of empathy, one eye-dropper full of compassion can change the world.” That’s simply because it would change you.

Remember where you come from Stevie-boy. A good Irish lad should be fighting for more rights not fewer, more freedom, not less.

Dave Wylie’s life and work experience runs the gamut from newspaper editor to carpenter to grant writer to boat builder with lots of other work wedged in-between. Born in 1953 in Canada, he admits not having found what he wants to be when he grows up. Wylie currently is president of a management company that oversees an elderly housing complex and president of the local historical society. He resides in Madawaska.

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