Saturday, November 19, 2016

Finding My Perch

I just read that if someone today viewed our planet from 60 million light years away he would see dinosaurs. If the viewer were a mere two weeks away he might still have seen our reptilian brain at work. I’m trying to find the right distance to cope with this triumph of dunces and yet close enough to find the common thread.

Almost every sore or cyst, busted shoelace or book I read or movie I watch has become for me a metaphor for Trumpian malevolence or its antidote. The T.V. series, Designated Survivor, strikes me as a model for depicting a deliberate, rational and compassionate president, in other words an anti-Trump. Novels written ten years ago seem to be prescient, in a symbolic way, describing our current descent into a dystopian society.

Even at this advanced age I cannot remember traveling so far, so fast and 
being deposited in a country unrecognizable in terms of incivility and retrograde policy. America has become sharply tribal with different vocabularies and values. I understand this year’s Thanksgiving table has been torn asunder by the great divide. Yet we shall find a way through this misalliance, even transform it into a teachable moment.

I think back to the union songs of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, the 
unshakeable solidarity among workers, minorities and those living a marginal life. It all slipped away starting with hard-hat support for our Viet Nam misadventure, the so-called Reagan-Democrats followed by two decades of trade pacts and globalization. As Democrats inched to the Center, Republicans drifted further to the right. Today we have three tents: The God and Guns Party, Democrat-Paleo Republican Centrists, and Socialist-Green Party.

We have much to learn from the aggrieved and they from us. The 
unemployed and under-employed must be heard and their issues addressed not by empty promises, slogans or stoking hatreds but by real job creation. Common decency and empathy need not be a price to be paid but a precept to be cherished above all else.

Our pledge says, one nation indivisible. Right now we are less a nation than a confederation of states clinging to an 18th century anachronism…
and sharply divisible. Our task is to come together, perhaps not altogether, but at least sufficiently so the popular vote aligns more closely with the geographical. The sandwich of America is two great coastal, crusty breads filled with a vast salad and grains of the heartland. Without the one it would fall apart and without the other it would not be worth the bite.   

This shall be my perch, at some mid-point with a listening ear trying to keep the creativity alive with the ferocity of love.

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