Monday, April 11, 2016

Living History

The eyes of historians are upon us. Legions of them giving it their oblique slants. Call in the Cubists. Then Rauschenberg. Add Wallace Stevens’, 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. It would take a kaleidoscope to capture the multiple versions.

All the overheard conversations, tapped phones, hacked emails, unbelieving ears, off-the-cuff asides, battle-weary mis-speaks, retractions, cover-ups are being chronicled in the great ledger, everything said and unsaid.

Movie scripts are happening. Frank Capra. Preston Sturges. Francis Ford Coppola and Samuel Beckett. This is the stuff of dynasties, archetypes, shadows on Plato’s walls. Voices will appear in chapters, stanzas and songs. I hear an opera with trumpets. Smoke and mirrors. Limp words. Fiery phrases. Crowd scenes. Brawls. Get Euripides on line one.

Nobody will get it all. One camera’s close-up catches the smirk, another beads of perspiration. Off to the side Jeb fumbles. Off-camera Carson mumbles. Carly formulates a fib. Cruz practices his Joe McCarthy sneer. Trump is Mussolini. The actor will need a wig. Karl Rove confers with the Brothers Koch. Get the Brothers Grimm on line two.

Hillary stumbles. Gets up. Knows how to not quite say what she says. Qualified? Yes, too much so like all those who came before. To be…. president or not. That is the quest. Bernie rants, scolds, promises. He needs a long-shot. Cast Meryl Streep as Bernie, Eddie Redmayne as Hillary.

Stage-right Paul Ryan plots. The shadow government ignores it all, hatching plots as usual. Drones rain down. Ozone collects, glaciers melt, candidates deny. A puppet show, perhaps.

Stage-left the jurist waits for Godot. The Supremes waiver awaiting a tilt. McConnell vows. Give him an aria. Give him the math of eight means seven. But why doesn’t his six not mean five?

Where do we fit in, the chorus will ask. What were we thinking? The year is 2016. Is this when the GOP snapped like a twig, like a Whig? When the parties caught up to their base or overthrew it? The year the center disappeared? When the empire retracted, called the legions home for road repair, for the sake of the grid, for God’s sake? Fade to black.

Will the wall go up? That Manhattan St. close down? The glass ceiling shatter? Banks flail? Agencies dissolve? This could be The Year of Living Dangerously.  The Godfather. Or Duck Soup.

Bring it up close. A family feud. Does the bully want to run the schoolyard? Really? Can the other guy actually talk in tongues to America? Will the ex-prez visit his ghosts in the White House?

The curtain won’t come down. There is only one take. Keep the cameras rolling. It’s still act one.

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