The Duke and the King

This ain’t about John Wayne or Elvis … it’s about a couple of characters found in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – two of the best shysters and con men who ever set foot on the western frontier. True, they are fictional characters … created by Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens … but real, in the sense that they reveal the gullibility of the American citizenry when it comes to believing liars, thieves, and crooks. The Duke and the King travel from small rural town to town saying they are English Royalty — and getting away with it for the most part … along with a lot of loose change from the pockets of the populace.

Huckleberry Finn should be required reading for every American, not just for its valuable social commentary, but for the enjoyment of reading. Same with Common Sense by Thomas Paine; Civil Disobedience by Henry Thoreau; and Main Travelled Roads by Hamlin Garland — plus the Farewell Addresses of George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Perhaps, by doing so, a guy or gal would be able to realize that America is being taken down the wrong path by the wrong people.

Now … in these times, comes along a couple of characters who the Duke and King can’t hold a candle to.

As a result:

No public debates in Wyoming during an election year. A US Congress … on Christmas week, passes a trillion dollar tax cut that goes mostly to the rich, while the citizens of Puerto Rico celebrate Christmas without lights and without much help (I thought we were a Christian Nation?). No FBI background investigation into serious allegations made against a man who is a candidate for the Supreme Court. No open minds in the US Senate – they are all made up to get re-elected. No honest striving to make this nation whole and healthy; two teams in fierce battle over winning a political race or issue is everything … rather than working together to solve the many broken treaties, laws, institutions, traditions, roads, and health care system of and for We the People.

What this country has seemed to lost is any horse sense … Maybe because hardly anyone drives or rides them anymore. What happened to a man’s word? – amended to include a woman’s word? … and living by the words of Jesus and his predecessor, David, in the Psalms as best as we are able. When Henry Thoreau went to prison for refusing to pay taxes because he believed the Mexican War was illegal – just a land grab by the U.S – Emerson went to see him. Emerson says, “Henry, what the hell are you doing behind those bars.” Thoreau says back, “No, Frank … the question is what the hell are you doing out there.” I’ll bet dollars to donuts that most of you don’t know much about the Transcendentalist Movement of the 1840s and 1850s.

If you would like to read my letter to the President, please visit my website:

God’s Speed, Smooth & Happy Trails, and May the Great Mystery make the Sun Rise in your hearts.

Mark “The Eye of the Hurricane” Harvey
Cody, WY

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