Advanced apology for this tall glass of whine.
It’s been a tough half a dozen years in the U.S. Everything on the scale from high to low. We have the pandemic, which produced the most surreal events of my entire life (and that's saying something). Several things make me cry every time I remember.
While waiting for takeout during the quarantine, I witnessed a Christmas parade, floating down Main Street with Santa, the Mayor, horses and a marching band…no spectators. It was like a Ray Bradbury story where everything keeps running on automatic, even after the end of the world.
I was also waiting for takeout when I glanced at my phone and saw that RBG had died. I told the restaurant cashier that I couldn’t wait and had to go, tears streaming down my face. Because English was his second language, he thought I was upset with him or the restaurant about something. He shoved a $10.00 bill at me (more than I had spent) and told me to just go.
January 6. Every time something makes me think of it, I picture that confederate flag waving inside our Capitol. A symbol of horror.
And then yesterday, the leak. It appears that Trump’s coup is still moving along at a nice clip. I know that I’m not alone with the way I feel. Some of you are expressing your outrage by posting meme after meme, demonstrating every angle you can find of the horror of it. But I can’t stop staring at the wall. I feel gutted. Violated. Disrespected. Marginalized. Manipulated. Helpless. Hopeless. Exhausted. Enraged. And so full of sorrow in this world I never imagined. I never imagined that I would see a time like this, a time imposing such weariness on me that I can’t do anything but sit and stare at the wall.
So, I decided to find something to watch, to take my mind off of it for a few minutes. I haven’t been able to concentrate on work. I can’t look at Facebook. Everyone’s just stirring a pot that’s already come to a boil. The whole thing feels vaguely staged, like there’s something I’m missing that would cast it in a different light. I don’t know. I can’t get a grip on a tangible reality today.
I settled on a documentary about musical theater and Jewish composers. It worked somewhat. It was a story of immigrants who came here, feeling different, looking for a new life, outsiders looking for a way in. They found their way in through musical theater. The film showed clips from musical after musical, with actors I haven’t seen or thought of in decades. Story after story of people yearning to be transformed, people who ultimately transform others, people who come here full of horror and full of hope, who ultimately grow to love this country. And I thought…maybe this is it. It’s all up to the Jews. They can show us a way out. They’ve done it before. Where’s Mel Brooks when you need him? In this documentary, he says that one of his life’s ambitions is to get back at Hitler, and the best way he could do that was to make people laugh at him. Anyone who could do that must certainly have a formula to yank chains in all the right places. We can’t stop the filibuster or increase the members of SCOTUS or keep the electoral college from being gerrymandered until it’s red in the face. But we have something the right doesn't have. We have the Jews. I hope they're working on it.
And then I come back again to this sense that something is being staged. What am I being distracted from noticing? Like when Kushner’s dirty deal came to light, and the right suddenly pumped up the volume on Hunter Biden again…and we all dutifully forgot to press the story on Kushner. This feels bigger. Should we be following the money? Should we notice who might want the stage to be stolen from him at this precise moment? Doesn’t matter, because, as Bill pointed out, all the world’s a stage, so there isn’t really anyplace to hide. All they can do is direct the tempo to pick up with different actors.
Sorry for the downer. That’s what I’ve got today.
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