March of the ents:
A lifetime ago I was sitting in the dining room of my fraternity – the house now long since burned down – looking at a glass of water.  I took a sip, tried to swallow, went into agony and had to spit it out.  I thought, “You simply have to drink water.  Stop faking it.”  So I marched off to the infirmary, where I was told I had mono and was put into bed.  From time to time something happens so improbable that I say, “It’s all a hoax, this reality thing.  We are the stuff of dreams.”  Few things have been so improbable as my roommate in the infirmary. 

Abruptly, one day, he was there, a robust towhead I never saw before or after on campus, small though the school was.  He was in a bed diagonally across from me.  I never knew why he was in the infirmary, assuming he existed at all.  His prime focus in life seemed to be to educate me.  He asked me if I knew what a williger was.  I hadn’t the foggiest.  Then he asked about ents and drugeons.  A williger, if you will, is a sort of a song a tree sings from the moment the seedling emerges to the day the tree falls.  A fallen log can also sing, but it isn’t really a williger.  A hill has a song called a drugeon, it goes very slowly.  A williger is not much slower than speech. 

There was snow outside, and one day the nurses lowered the window to let in some fresh, cool air.  I had a pleasant, if sickly, afternoon gazing out at the snow laden trees, a nearby building and the grey sky.  Later he was there again.  He said, “You missed it.  There was a williger coming in through that window this afternoon.”  I was too reduced to contradict him.

He explained that he was an elf.  His girlfriend was an elfwife.  The trees had spirits called ents, and their women were entwives.  He said, with the sort of emphasis generally reserved for pet peeves, that being an elf had nothing to do with pointy ears.  For the first time I gazed languidly at his ears.  Not only were they astonishingly pointed; they were the only real ears I have seen before or since that remotely looked pointed. 

The earth spirits drove him once a year, I forget which day, to repair to a hill that had been split by an earthquake.  One year he would sit on one half and the next on the other.  That way the hill could continue its drugeon.  After a few days I was well enough to drink water and at the end of a week they let me go.  I gathered my things and looked toward his bed.  It was as neat as all the others in the ward.  But I had classes to meet, work to catch up and no time for mysteries I scarce believed in at the time. 

Not many years later I was introduced to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  That is a tale as melancholy as the elf story, but read it I did.  It is the only book I ever read that I found to be so intense that I would run to the bathroom and throw up and then come back and read some more.  (Generally I have a cast iron stomach.)  And sure enough, there are ents.  They are sort of shepherds of the trees.  That’s not quite what my elf taught me, but close enough.  And in the novel, there is the Last March of the Ents, where the vanishing creatures go to Orthanc to do battle, futile, but glorious, and celebratory of the great power that had once been the ents’. 

Fast forward a few decades and hop over to an alternate reality and we are about here.  I suppose you have heard about Daech, or Isis or Isil or IS or whatever.  They have fomented a revolution in the mid east and have been sadistically chopping the heads off journalists, social workers and by and large decent people who fall into their clutches.  Recently they announced they had burned alive a pilot who had been working against them.  This is not accidental evil; this is evil coldly invented and heedlessly pursued. 

The only effective force against Daech has been the Kurds, a people who – like the Scotch Irish – have never had their own country.  A lot of people think they should.  Like the Scotch Irish, it seems that they have a trifling increase in Rh negative genes compared with surrounding people.  I used to put a lot more weight on that than I do any longer.

Anyway, recently a volunteer was noticed among the Kurds.  He must have been an American because he was carrying a sniper rifle, and his t-shirt said, “Jesus is lord.”  When questioned he said, “They were there for us when we needed them.  If our government won’t help them, I will.” 

Welcome to the real America.  Hey, all you politically correct voices; this is the reason you are free to say any blasted thing you want to.  It is the reason I am able to say what I want to.  Without that young man and his peers, I am nothing.  With them, yeah, I think there’s a chance.

They are warriors, not soldiers; they fight for what they think is right, not because they are told to.  They are good shots.  They have access to the best equipment in the world.  They look like red devils, even when they are relaxing and having a good time.  And they come by the millions.  It used to be tens of millions.  One day it will be thousands, but right now it’s millions.

If they think Daech needs to go away, it will go away.  When the rest of the world is reminded of what America can do, things will get a lot more pleasant for the world.  Of course they will get no credit.  But they will make it happen so others can grab the credit.  But the rest of the world will think, “Don’t get the Americans angry.  Bad things happen to you.”

And so it will be for a generation.  That takes us to 2045.  The next regime change, the one that ends the American era, is due in roughly 2070.  If you wonder what a regime change is like, Daech is making that quite clear.  So somewhere in those 25 years it happens, and this time there will be thousands, not millions, willing and able to resist. 

But we are privileged to see the last march of the ents.  Maybe if we can get the word out the whole world will change, become a decent place.  But if not, relax and watch the show.  This time the good guys are going to win.

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