Stirring?? Isn’t it?? I have been reading and rereading it since I received it and I still don’t know what I think?
Not true! I do know. Here are some of my thoughts.
Personally, I find it as humorous as the author meant it to be. However, almost as soon as I start laughing, I start crying about the utter tragedy of the whole idea. I’d love to say this is a new idea brought on by the political polarizations of the past president and his administration of four years culminating in the 2020 Presidential election, but that would not be the truth. Though I am no historian, I do know these differences were there from the very beginning. As the representatives of the original 13 states gathered in Philadelphia from 1774-1781 every difference written about in this Divorce, American Style article, was as pronounced then as it is now. This time frame included the 1776 meeting, where the delegates read George III of Great Britain the riot act in the form of the Declaration of Independence which doubled as our Declaration of War against England.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall (definitely a fly more better than a mosquito, don’cha think?) as they tried to hammer out their differences. And here is my own personal conclusion. They never did. You could say it was a pile up of differences; food, hobbies, language, culture, education and don’t forget the heat. Yeah, maybe, a little of this, a little of that. I say nay! It was always all about slavery aka race. The success of the economic and political life of the South was based on the continued use and import of slaves kidnapped from Africa. And please spread the blame, from fellow Africans seeking to make a buck and settle their own political squabbles, to profits for the seafaring industry of the North. Ultimately, the largest consumers in the slave trade was the South which, at that time included Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. Maryland was borderline abusers/users. The Northern States were not absolved from abusing/using slaves. Simply put my friends, their numbers didn’t compare with the South.
I’m going on and on about slavery like it was the only issue because in my mind it is the only issue. Oh, sure, you have taxes, roads and many other state issues but none as huge, ugly and ever present as the story of slavery in this country.
Recently I read an article in the New Yorker about the Brits having their awareness jostled as they come to the realization of how many of the fabulous country houses in their National Trust Register were built on the backs of slaves from British plantations in the West Indies and Jamaica. Don’t even think about returning to Downton Abbey or Upstairs to the Downstairs. Or, is it the other way around?
Back to the article. I agree with much of what Mr. Vandevelder asked for in the divorce… I don’t feel that strongly about Las Vegas or Disneyland… aren’t they the same thing??
There have been so many attempts to leave each other over the years. One that cost the lives of 618,222 Americans. A number that up until the Vietnam War surpassed all other wars combined. No matter what they say about war, death is not a contest. But for your edification: North: 360,222. South: 258,000. North or South, War or Peace, Death SUCKS!!!
Here’s my conclusion and I am beyond ready to listen to all arguments, discussions, pro… con… sitting on a fence… or straddling. If you can’t honor the Constitution of the United States and all its laws and amendments, if you can’t allow someone to have a different opinion from your opinion, if the only way you can respect or accept a person of any color, religion or nationality is to enslave, cage or kill them, then this dream is done.
However, you should kow that I am always up for a last chance miracle.
The rise of the power of the internet, social and news media, promotes confusion, fear and anger to a pitch were we seem to have lost our abilities to listen or even hear each other. If we can’t understand or communicate, we might as well throw our humanity to the lions. And let me tell you something about lions. They are not dumb. Throw a person without his or her or their humanity to the lions they will take one sniff and ⚡️SHAZAM⚡️ … VEGETARIANS!!]
So??? What’s it to be??? Hope with a soupcon of peace and reconciliation and the return of when our humanity was delicious or…
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. Oh, by the way this article was written in 2012. I am of the belief that the only constant in life is change… or is it?
So glad you asked. And if you thought you’d get a direct answer…fuggetaboutit!
Most know I am the 7th of 8 siblings. Of the 8 only 4 remain. The three youngest (oh, to be called youngest at 90, 88, 85) and the oldest brother of the whole clan… 101 years young with all his marbles intact. Periodically, we check in with each other.
A sample check in:
Sally-Jane: Hi, Raymond, how are you?
Raymond: Still here.
Sally-Jane: This is a good thing.
Raymond: It’ll do until something better comes along.
Sally-Jane: That’s why you are still here. There is nothing better.
Raymond: I’ll take your word for it.
Sally-Jane: So what are you reading?
Raymond: For Liberty and Glory by James R. Gaines. It’s about Washington, Lafayette and their Revolutions. I am really enjoying it.
Sally-Jane: Oh, yes, I read about it. I’d like to read it.
Raymond: Well, I’ll send it to you when I finish it.
Raymond: On second thought you better get your own copy. At the rate I read, maybe you’ll get it before I die, maybe you won’t.
I got my own copy. Reading it provoked the above question, “Congress. Has it always been thus?”
The Continental Congress in July of 1776, adopted the Declaration of Independence proclaiming the former colonies of Great Britain to be independent sovereign states, declaring war on Great Britain .
There were no political parties at the 1776 Congress. There were just 13 SOVEREIGN STATES… maybe like 13 political parties. How were the representatives of Massachusetts going to agree with representatives of New York, no less with representatives of South Carolina; issues of culture, geography, climate, to put self interest before common interest. All issues combined to make their individual State legislatures vastly more important than any central government.
Indeed, the first several Congresses after the Second Continental Congress, which was the Congress of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War were all Unicameral, That is, no political parties… just sovereign states, each one pulling in their own direction to fulfill their duties as representatives of their States. Most representatives of the original 13 states wanted a weak Central Government allowing them to deal directly with their own local issues as they saw fit. There were only a few who thought a strong Central Government would be much better for the nascent nation; better for issues of economics and foreign intervention. There is strength in numbers. Even I, who needs all my fingers and toes to count, know that 13 against 1 or 2 has a better chance of succeeding. Let’s face it, if all 13 didn’t agree to sign the Declaration of Independence which was a declaration of war against Great Britain, we would all be having tea with milk, fish and chips in an old newspaper, and singing God Save The Queen instead of God Bless America. I realize for some this would not be a bad thing. I am totally aware how this country is bonkers over British Royalty. Diana is more celebrated today than she was over twenty years ago. For that matter so is Victoria, Elizabeth I, and dare I even mention the Royal Soap Opera for all time, Downton Abbey. But I digress…so what else is new?
OK back to Congress. The divide in the United States that I find so disturbing today had its beginning in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia 1787. The Constitution was a plan developed for a stronger federal government with three branches – executive, legislative and judicial – along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power.
From that moment, this country has always been divided between States Righters and Federalists. A really interesting not so side fact is that prior to Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency, all Senators were appointed by the Governors and Legislatures of the individual states. Under Wilson’s term in 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution changed the words, “chosen by the legislatures thereof” to “elected by the people, thereof”. Make of that what you will. Personally, I think it was supposed to open the Senatorial selections away from State Politics (aka legislature) to the State’s population. However, if the state’s population is as divided as the legislature… what’s the difference?
I’m sorry, my dear friends. I get carried away by the history involved in birthing this country and in doing so lose my way. Get to the point, already, for goodness sake.
In reading this book about the struggle George Washington had in winning the American Revolution, I see that the albatross around his neck was the Second Continental Congress. They signed the Declaration of Independence, which was a very brave and courageous thing to do, and then ignored most of the requests and pleas and beggings of George Washington to fortify and supply the Army that was fighting for Independence. This Congress did everything in its power to focus on their own and their state’s individual needs and ignore the battles for Liberty and Freedom that were going on all around them. (brilliantly depicted in the movie 1776)
OK here’s the question for you to answer… is it in the nature of the beast (aka Congress and humans) wherein self and local issues will always outweigh the common good and as the world turns, is it harder for the individual of good purpose to make a difference, no less get elected? And the biggest question of all, HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY? Whatcha think?
Hey guys, before you think… I have an important recommendation for you. For the most wonderful and powerful depiction of this Second Continental Congress please see the movie musical 1776. It is brilliant and written with historic accuracy. I promise you. You will love it.
As a matter of fact, it is in that movie the seeds of my question about the ultimate fate of Congress is first planted.
I wrote this Blah, Blah Blog yesterday. This morning I read about the new approach the prosecution is preparing for the impeachment of our former President. I now think the trial is going to be a constructive and instructive history lesson for all Americans and frankly, for everyone in the world who is interested in “FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”. So here’s what I’m going to do. I am going to share what I wrote yesterday as a look into my own thought processes which normally are hidden and unfathomable even to me. I’d like to think it shows with continued exploration and investigation, I can be reached and even to the point of , dare I say it, changing my point of view. I don’t know about you, but in the climate of today’s polarizations on almost everything, that is a really big deal.
YESTERDAY’S THINKING AND WRITING:
A dear friend recently asked me if I was going to watch the televised impeachment trial.
I said I would not.
Not because I am not curious and concerned which I most certainly am.
My personal belief, after listening many times to his speech to the gathered mob in front of the White House on January 6th, is that our former President is guilty of inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. Also, my personal belief is that in counting the votes, it is most unlikely he will be found guilty. I ask myself, “Myself, why do I want to put myself through the disappointment of once again watching as the course of justice moves along “party lines”. And listening again to the rehashing of the lies, the same ‘ole-same ‘ole of no one listening to no one, which is utterly negative and depressing.” And so I shall await the expected verdict as I finish reading the extraordinary autobiography of Frederick Douglass.
Like I said, it’s an old childhood coping mechanism I developed against disappointment.
Allow me to elucidate.
As a child in a very large family where I always felt like an alien, my first defense was, of course, I was adopted. These were not my real parents. And these were not my real siblings. But my most favorite coping mechanism was my fantasy of being rescued.
Many were the nights where I would go to the living room where the radio/phonograph was (no television at that time) and put on a record of classical music (it mattered not which… although I did tend towards Chopin and Johannes Strauss waltzes) and danced until I dropped or until someone in the family complained (a frequent occurrence). The dancing was definitely a release but the dream that attended the dance was more important. As I danced, my fantasy was that Cecil B. De Mille was walking by my house (in Boro Park, Brooklyn), heard the music, looked in through the windows to see me giving it my all, immediately he went to my front door, My mother would answer. Mr. De Mille would give her his card and tell my mother that he needed me desperately for his next movie. Reluctantly and sometimes not so reluctantly she agreed, packed my ballet bag with my leotard, dancing shoes, and a package of Twinkies and I was off to Hollywood where I had always known I had belonged.
Eventually, I had to come down from fantasy to reality, my parents still owned me and being number 7 of 8 meant my siblings claimed me for errands and punishments befitting my station which meant I had to affect my own escape when I was able… it took a while, but I did. The best part of these childhood fantasies? They have moved with me.
At 87 years of age that child is still alive and well in me and I’ve got some doozie headline fantasies to prove it:
That was yesterday’s mashed potatoes and tomorrow I hope the promise of a more vital prosecution is fulfilled. And just remember, if not… there are always reruns of All In the Family.
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. Randy Rainbow did this fabulous political parody from the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. For me, this says it all! ENJOY!
P.P.S. Don’t let your blood pressure rise during the trial. Here’s my remedy:
And even though I was very young back in 1944 (10 to be exact) I was old enough to remember a RADIO show by that name of which I was a devoted listener. My passion for the mysteries of life, no less literature, started when I was very young. For the last 20 years, at least, I buy and read the good ones from all over the world. Pitting my puzzle-solving oriented brain against Holmes, Christie, Sayers, Highsmith, Penny, le Carre, Ross Macdonald, Markell, Hiassen, Crais, Mosely… to name just a few of the masters. Lately, David Ignatius has captured my imagination.
His genre of books is the political thriller in the land of the internet. I am computer challenged on every level. Without help from a very dear friend, I would never have been able to organize and send the Blah Blah Blog. (There’s a juicy self-deprecating remark just pulsing to be written which I will hasten to ignore.) So why would an internet driven mystery intrigue me?
I’m so glad you asked. Because David Ignatius is a journalist, editor and columnist for The Washington Post. I find his 11 novels to be edged with reportorial skills that give insight to the real and actual political workings of hot spots around the world (Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Russia; just to name a few) and no less detailed workings of the many Departments of the government of The United States. Truly, in the most legitimate sense of the words, he has inside information.
Well, ever since January 6th and watching as the President metaphorically, but really actually, yelled “FIRE!!” in a crowded theatre, prompting the frightening, illegal and unbelievable assault on the Capitol, I have been waiting for someone to unravel the mystery of how this horrific happening came to be.
The information we have received up to this date has been sparse, incomplete, and does not tell the whole story. To put it in today’s terms… it just doesn’t compute.
I am inspired to try my hand at writing a political thriller based on the events of January 6th. Including that which preceded the happening and what follows. With your indulgence I am going to share with you my outline. Forgive me if I seem to overstep the bounds of rational reasoning. Come to think of it, for the last four years that particular mental condition appears to be as contagious as the virus…
Here is my outline in 3 parts…
Part I Phase I
January 2009 Palm Springs: A Gazillionaire meeting hosted at the palatial fortress of Manny Midas of the top ten Gazillionaires. Topic: “There’s a Black Man in the White House“
The decision after everyone finally stopped blaming everyone for being asleep at the wheel was to fund an educational program that would train young men and women to promote the “Rich-As-Croesus-Old-White-Racists-Men” (RACOWRM) ideas of racial and economic division.
Their strategy was brilliant. DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
The old white racist men decided to endow a Rich-As-Croesus-Old-White-Racists-Men’s educational program in various colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Taught mostly by committed conservatives* of every stripe and occasional color, the programs offered what appeared to be an almost free education for those who qualified.
Upon graduation, the sharper and by now completely committed conservatives were offered high paying positions in the Conservative Think Tanks around the country and public relations firms committed to radical ultra-conservative issues… formenting public opinion on issues such as gerrymandering, voting restrictions, immigration policies… They did this through organizing social media, creating many ultra-far-right-radical-conspiracy-theory individuals and groups.
*Point of clarity: There is no judgement on being a conservative by choice. However, there is a difference between being an Ultra Radical Anything where reason and logic exit the field, leaving no opportunity for dialogue.
RACOWRM danced the Scrooged Screw (a well-known Rich as Croesus Dance) at the success of their program and vowed to meet every year in Palm Springs to discover how else they could control various Government programs from their hot tubs in Hot Springs.
Part II Phase II
In 2012, the rich as Croesus old white racist men were assured by the pundits and by the amount of money they spent that the black man in the White House was a one term President.
In January 2013, meeting again in Palm Springs, without dance or hot tubs, these RACOWRM decided it was no more Mr. Nice Guy time… the gloves were off.
The momentous decision of that meeting was to search and find a missing President. A missing Presidential candidate that would bring White Privilege back to power and center stage. Criteria was important.
Manny Midas, the richest of the RACOWRM, was a fan of a television show called The Apprentice. He enjoyed watching the host make a fool of himself and he made a lot of money as one of its sponsors.
For reasons we can only guess at, but shall never know, Manny fought for and won the lottery on finding the missing Presidential candidate. Of course, it helped that this man came with his own base (literally and figuratively). His fans were addicted to his vulgar, intolerant, and mentally unstable character. Human nature at its worst.
From 2013 until 2016, the RACOWRM built their special candidate. It was like reading or watching a sequel to Mary Shelley’s 19th Century novel. (look it up)
Using their same principle of Divide and Conquer, the Ultra Conservative Think Tanks and public relations firms worked tirelessly through the use of algorithms (can anyone explain that to me?) and other modern techniques of social media on the internet to organize and develop the “Younger Not So Rich White Racist Men and Women”. They fed the YNSRWRMW the necessary information to make their chosen candidate irresistible.
Let’s face it. It was kind of a miracle. To convince people that a bankrupt unsuccessful businessman in his 70’s who was a reality TV show host and who had never won an election or served in any public capacity, except as a Page 6 headline making President Clinton look like a member of the Puritan Party, would make the perfect President. The moon was definitely in retrograde because…
Against all the odds and evens and pollsters and punsters and everyone in the real world, he actually won!
Part III Phase III
I’m not sure, guys, whether to fast forward through the gathering storm of false news, the twitter and the tweeting, mind-boggling appointments, and too numerous to count declarations of “You’re Fired”, to get to 2020, but I think I shall…
It must be said that our Palm Springs group continued to meet and continued to pull strings on their creation and they were happy. They had a proven handle to control. If they wanted action of a certain kind, they primed the pump of his ego. His tweets were his method of governing. Leaving the real work of legislation and judicial review to their RACOWRM Worker Bees and the President’s family. His being “the greatest” worked miracles for their agenda. If he got out of line, they just let some of the air out of his ego balloon and woosh, he was back in line. The RACOWRM never veered from their original agenda – stoking the fires of racism. This election year was supposed to be a shoe-in. So many Democratic candidates, all fighting and blaming each other. A party in disarray. Definitely a shoe-in.
And then an ill wind blew in from China. Whoa! Regroup time!
The RACOWRM were stymied. No matter how much money they threw at the virus – and they did throw money – conquering the rogue virus was beyond their control. And to add to this conflagration, another black man was murdered by a group of white police officers. George Floyd’s death by police should not have been any different than the thousands that came before, but (and that’s another story) it was. Combine the pandemic with the Black Lives Matter rebellion by blacks and whites and the playing field has been permanently altered.
Well Guys, he never got his MOJO back. Unfortunately for the RACOWRM, their creation was a man incapable of dealing with reality which means he cannot be called upon to cope in an emergency.
He tried. He caught the virus to prove his super powers of recovery. However, no matter what he did, he never found the magic wand or pill to staunch the bleed. So he lost the election.
He remembered what his best buddy Roy Cohn advised him, “NEVER ADMIT DEFEAT”. Perfect advice for this situation. He didn’t lose. He won. He was still the world’s greatest… victim. They stole his election. “They” being anyone who knew he lost.
Uh-oh! The RACOWRM had to find a way to distance and disassociate from their creation. They were able to get their Ultra Conservative white worker bees to prime his pump again.
The plan was to stoke his ego to the bursting point. He needed to both implode and explode… a very difficult task. So when he lost the election his backers were set up to create chaos and dissonance and if push came to shove, which it usually does in these situations, violence. This was easy to do. They simply had to convince him to ignore the election. Ignore the Pandemic. Ignore anything happening in the real world, which was fine with him because he would do that anyway.
But as his ego was being stoked, the various Younger Not So Rich White Racist Men and Women were being organized to follow their leader. They had had a dress rehearsal at Charlottesville which proved very successful.
It was not difficult to get their creation to stand outside the White House on January 6th, a little puff of ego air, and do exactly what he and his family and his various white racist groups were programmed to do – scream “FIRE!!” in a crowded theatre, aka “The White House”, followed by invasion, assault, and destruction of the Capitol of the United States of America, as they were bidden to do by their leader. And they didn’t have to work to get access. They were indeed invited in and escorted out.
Okay that’s as far as I got. I’m waiting for the CIA, the FBI, the various intelligence agencies to suss it out. So, what do you think? Do I wait? Or is this the craziest most ridiculous unbelievable plot that no publisher in the world would buy because it could never happen in this country?
Update January 14:
I thought this post was a reasonable compilation of fact mixed with my over-the-the-wall, wild and vivid imagination about what I felt brought about the Capitol riots of January 6th. I clearly did not go far enough. There is now a call for investigation of claims that on the day before the pillage, Republican representatives and senators who had spread the lies of a fraudulent election, organized tours through the Capitol for the riot gang leaders from their different states. They allegedly pointed out points of interest like Pelosi’s office and various other chambers. Didn’t you think it was strange they knew exactly where to go? The Capitol is a mighty big building. I’ve been through it many times getting lost as I went.
Criticizing and judging is no longer satisfying to me. What is satisfying is exemplifying what I as an American citizen and a human, empathetic, compassionate being have been missing. I could write reams about it, but it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
So, why don’t I shut up and let you see what I mean…
P.S. You can view the full documentary on your favorite streaming service.
I challenge you to finish that pledge without going to your devices for the answer…
Why the challenge? Thank you for asking. God Forbid I should give you a to-the-point answer. Not my style.
Here is the circular path of my reasoning as I struggled to remember the words myself… and this after all the years of my generational elementary, junior and senior high school days of the daily rote repetition of the American pledge of allegiance. Certain phrases were embedded, but for what has been roiling around my brainball I needed to get it absolutely word perfect.
Let me begin with a metaphor of my experience since Election Day, November 3rd, 2020.
On that day, I went to my imaginary theatre to see my new play, The Mystery of The Pandemical-Electional Follies of 2020.
The first act was brilliant. Hero and Heroine unmercifully pursued by a psychotically narcisistic villain defeat that very villain.
Hallelujah!!! I wondered why we need a second act. But, since the first act was soooo very satisfying I had to stay for the second.
In the intermission I stood at my seat and along with my fellow audience members turned on my phone to check for messages and calls. We were all so in sync checking our devices, we looked like robots from a dystopian planet.
Suddenly, stepping from behind the curtain is our hero and heroine announcing that a very technically complicated piece of machinery necessary to the continuation of the play has locked tight in place and will not move. If we, the audience, will just have a little patience, the technical folk are working like crazy and as soon as they get it moving, we shall continue and all will be well.
With a sigh of relief from our protagonists’ assurances, we robots go back to our devices.
It is now November 22nd, 2020. I am tired. I am hungry. The charge is gone (and not just from my cell phone). I believe that the hero and heroine will be reunited in my play and I can once more breathe free from the constant tension of waiting. And then I can go home, wake myself from my metaphor and plan for a better day.
But before I do, I want every elected official – Republican, Democrat, Independent – to start their day with the Pledge of Allegiance as a reminder of who they work for. And it ain’t a political party! It is… WE THE PEOPLE… who find these truths to be self evident… You don’t just work for a blue state or a red state in the Congress. YOU WORK FOR THESE UNITED STATES.
We know this country needs a great deal of work, but in the world of countries we are young and able and we have the tools if only politicians will use them for the good of all peoples. I do not care if you are an elected official or plain people like myself, if you find your vision is myopic and narrow for goodness sake get a pair of glasses. I’m going to organize a fund for a wider vision to include all humanity. Please join me!
❤️ Love ~ Sally-Jane
P.S. This is so powerfully joyous. Such a reminder of how art is a powerful agent for bringing us together.
No matter which political party, our citizens voted!
The largest number of voters EVER participated in the democratic process. Whether you agreed or disagreed with their choice is irrelevant. The naysayers (and I confess at times I vacillated as one of them) proclaimed the downfall of Democracy.
Of course the division in the country exists to make life complicated and difficult. Just stop for one moment and think about it. Together we exercised our rights as citizens. No matter our differences, we stood on line together, we waited for hours together and in certain states and locations we kept our distances and were masked. In other locations not so much… but it didn’t matter. Either way we voted. There was not a single instance of violence or disruption throughout the country during this largest of voting turnouts.
For Miss Pollyanna here, I see a light. If we can be together in one action, maybe in time together we can learn to hear what the “other side” is saying and find our way towards if not reconciliation, then perhaps agreeing to accept our disagreements.
As a wannabe 87 year old Talmudic Scholar said:
On the one hand a leopard cannot change its spots.
On the other hand a good spot remover can do wonders.
Too many of my friends and relatives watched the debate last night!
Was there any intelligent HUMAN who didn’t know which way the evening was going to go?
Didn’t you know you were tuning into a new version of The Apprentice?
I want to be clear, I never intended to watch, I do not watch reality TV shows. They have never appealed to me. I don’t enjoy watching my fellow humans humiliated and belittled and shamed in front of millions of other humans. In my own life, I have experienced all of the above (thank goodness, not in front of millions). Why would I ever want to watch anyone go through such a negative, dehumanizing, and belittling experience? It never made sense to me. No, I don’t want a medal. This was my choice.
What I do not understand is why was I one of the few who knew it was going to be a bloodbath for Democracy. If you had the slightest knowledge of either candidate, how could you think this debate could go anywhere else? And please, let me not give the debacle last night the title of “Debate”. It was no debate…shouting match! personality clash! forget issues and points of law!
Where in the aftermath is the compassion for both gladiators? The lion being starved and prodded within and without by forces who were determined to have a bloody spectacle. And the lamb, prodded by forces within and without who insisted the lion’s natural instincts for devouring his prey were tamable. Nero would have been proud.
I for one hope there is not another one.
But if there is going to be another one… do yourself a favor so you can be prepared to understand the two candidates clearly. Watch PBS Frontline program Election 2020: Biden vs.Trump. It is an in-depth look into each of their lives. It may appear to be biased. Personally, I do not think it is. There is not a single human being, including the Pope, without yin and yang or as I prefer zits and warts. The program illustrates the zits and warts of each candidate. For me, it’s a personal choice of which zits and warts are acceptable.
In my world, I will hopefully choose humanity over human nature. In reality (God, I’m getting to hate that word!) I realize until I have been truly tested, I will never know what my choice would be.
However, I do have brilliant role models who help me find my way. On my 80th birthday I asked a friend to find photo portraits of these role models to hang from the ceiling at the party. Here is just a partial list:
William Shakespeare, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Ulysses S. Grant, Sandra Day O’Connor, Billie Holiday, Abraham Lincoln, Marlon Brando, Doris Lessing, Virginia Wolfe, Mary Wollstonecraft, Martin Luther King, Thomas Merton, FDR, Leonard Bernstein, Martha Graham, Charlie Chaplin, Maria Callas, Eleanor Roosevelt, Buster Keaton, Marilyn Heit Leibovitz, Georgia O’Keefe, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Albert Einstein, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Dianne, Lori, Pamela, Rainer Maria Rilke, Frederick Douglass Gustaf Mahler…
Not one of these beautiful people are without his or her zits and warts. However, everyone of them, when confronted in life – as we all are – chose their humanity over their human/animal nature.
On Friday night, September 18th, after returning home from a life affirming and joyous outdoor Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) celebration with seven others, a lovely mix of family and friends, a friend texted me about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I went into a tailspin (aka depression).
What was my problem? Her imminent death had been a foregone conclusion for years. Her heroic mission kept her alive beyond the miraculous. Her staying power was Herculean. Knowing what her demise would mean to Affordable Care, Roe v. Wade and so many other issues of humanity, she left a request to the American people:
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Mitch McConnell used the same rationale while Obama was President. But that was 15 minutes ago and he changed his mind… again.
All right! All right! From the moment I heard of her demise, I found myself wallowing in dark and dangerous thoughts.
Always at these times, I go into a dialogue with myself. Here it is.
Me: (in fear of the future) OMG what am I going to do? What’s going to happen now? Is there going to be a Revolution…Civil War…do I have to join a gang of vigilantes. Is America going the way of Job? First the Pandemic, then the Election, now RBG!
I have to leave this country. Where? Where can I go? Any country I want to go to doesn’t want Americans.
Me: (in the moment): Calm down. We have a lot of grieving to do. Your fears are diminishing her story. Who she was? What she accomplished. Her strength and tenacity as a woman, a wife, a mother, a lawyer, a jurist and ultimately a role model for men and women. If you stay in this minute, I promise, ultimately it will show you how best to live in a world that throws the best curve balls ever.
I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE
I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall — what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice Excuse me, I have work to do.
You know what? This staying in the moment thing is really hard. If I stayed in the moment, felt the grief, felt the power of this petite woman’s life to change what had previously been thought impossible to change , yeah, right!!! What is it about staying in the moment which I know is really the only way to live but, oh, my friends, it is soooo difficult.
I have spent a lifetime believing that to believe in God is to believe that all things are fair and there will be wonderful surprises.
The best surprises come out of not knowing! I think there is a lesson in this.
I have no idea what the fallout will be from this cataclysmic event. It doesn’t make any difference. Whatever happens we will always have RBG’s strength, tenacity and perseverance to keep up us in the light.