National Commentary

Biden’s Win & the Gunner’s Dream

This is no time for grumpy pessimists. The historic U.S. presidential election of this month deserves nothing less than dancing in the streets. And more dancing in the streets.

If the euphoric glee of those hours when Biden was declared the winner last weekend has already worn off, and been replaced with dull ungrounded fears about what if Trump refuses to leave or such, then a reset of emotional guide rails may be in order. We should all now be merrily mobilized to help seize control of the Senate by securing electoral victories in the two runoffs coming up in Georgia. Seriously compromised Senate Republicans deserve no less.

What has just happened has been one of the more consequential achievements for the good in our modern history, and its importance cannot be overstated. The American people rose up like a great tidal wave to sweep away the most serious threat to their core values that has ever been so firmly ensconced in the corridors of such great power and prepared to rip asunder those values with the greatest resources at their disposal over four years of a full enfranchisement as the most powerful force in the world.

As bellicose and deeply displeasing as this pink and twisted blowhard has been, he held fabulous power over 70 million citizens despite the franchise of their free powers to vote him out. He was in the driver’s seat to translate their delusional votes into the final chapter of humanity’s greatest ever experiment in democracy.

Truly, we were on the brink, and there was no one out there to save us. No one, that is, save for the individual consciences, resolve and powers of discernment of 76 million citizens who stood up against his poisonous hate and rage to say. No!

Who saved us? Was it God? I guess given how widely that word can be applied to all the circumstances of our human experience, perhaps so, but those who claim the word as their franchise, hypocrites like Franklin Graham, were on the other side of this fray. If God was with them, God lost and whatever we credit with winning had to do it with the added burden of defeating that, too.

So I think we can say that the things which contributed most to winning this epochal veritable cosmic battle were not wealth, greed, deceit, deception, dishonesty, cruelty or their synonyms, all recognizable traits of Trump, but their collective opposites: honesty, virtue, generosity, caring, love, and their allies.

It’s really what it boils down to. Cynics won’t accept this, nor their agents on the losing side of this. So, don’t be one of those. This is not exaggeration. The world doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

On the occasion of celebrating Biden’s victory last weekend I came upon an old favorite song. Not “Happy Days Are Here Again,” but one with a more ponderous tone, meaning and emotional consequence.

I distrust coincidences, mostly, so coming across the lyrics and passion of Pink Floyd songwriter Roger Waters in his 1982 composition, “The Gunner’s Dream,” has meant a lot to me in the past week.

In it, a World War II fighter plane’s gunner, fighting Nazis then like we did in this month’s election, is downed in a field and dreams of a simple world free of the tyranny he was fighting against.

This ideal world is described thusly:

“…A place to stay, enough to eat, somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street. Where you can speak out about your doubts and fears, and what’s more, no one disappears.

“You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door. You can relax on both sides of the tracks and maniacs don’t blow holes in bandsmen by remote control. And everyone has recourse to the law.

“And no one kills the children anymore. And no one kills the children anymore.”

The song continues, “Night after night, going round and round my brain. His dream is driving me insane. In the corner of some foreign field the gunner sits tonight. What’s done is done. We cannot just write off his final scene. Take heed of the dream.”


Nicholas Benton may be emailed at