Don’t Get Me Started
After discussing politics and world affairs for an hour, shaking our heads and sighing so many times that we should have passed out, a good friend asked me how I manage to keep my sanity, to maintain a sense of well-being and joy so that I don’t sacrifice these precious years to the mayhem and misery wrought by Trump. This, from a woman who, along with her husband, spent most of her life fighting for justice for the suffering, the vulnerable, the impoverished, from Guatemala and South Africa to Washington, D.C. and California. It is a valid question.
Before I had time to consider my response, her husband, recuperating from pneumonia and more, oxygen machine by his side but eyes sparkling, proposes that I start writing Letters to the Editor. That elicited the biggest sigh of all. I have nothing new or insightful to say.
Yes, I am troubled beyond words by the growth of Anti-Semitism around the world, and the Anti-Otherism that’s gaining ground here at home, frustrated by our apparent inability to distinguish Jewish people from the government of Israel in legitimate policy discussions and by the speed at which allies, in this case progressive Democrats, can be torn apart by inept, ungracious speech.
I gasped with many of my fellow citizens when Judge Ellis sentenced “poor” gout-ridden, white-skinned Paul Manafort, “friend to dictators, bagman for torturers, international man of malfeasance” in the words of Esquire’s Charles Pierce, to a mere 47 months in prison, characterizing his as “an otherwise blameless life” despite much longer sentences routinely handed out to African-Americans every day for much lesser charges. (Note Crystal Mason of Texas who was sentenced to five years for VOTING - her mother nagged her to do it - because she was on supervised release for tax fraud and had not technically completed her full sentence.)
And then there is the sordid case of Li Yang, complete with massage parlors cum sexual benefits, and a PR firm for Chinese investors promising shoulder-rubbing with you-know-who at Mar a Lago. And then there’s Brexit and Venezuala and the overarching, terrifying prospect of unstoppable climate change. The list, sadly, is endless. And I am of no help whatsoever.
So, I finally confessed to my friend, I keep my sanity by spending time with family and friends – lovely, mindless hours talking of movies and food and travel. I write – as singer Kathy Mattea said of dancing, “like nobody’s watching.” Recently, I kickstarted an old project, retelling stories of my mom while trying to give them historical context. The first of these, which I will share soon, takes place during WWI in Germany. My recounting of these challenging chapters is therapeutic because it reminds me that others have survived times that seemed unsurvivable. Perhaps we can, too.
I have yet another friend who has been battling chronic pain for years. He has every right to be sullen, but he never loses his sense of humor and, thankfully, shares it with the rest of us. Here’s his latest successful email attempt to cheer me. Hope it makes you laugh!
Thought I should warn you...
To help save the economy, the government will announce next month that the Immigration Department will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. Older people are easier to catch and will not remember how to get back home.
I started to cry when I thought of you. Then it dawned on me -- oh, crap. I'll see you on the bus.