Thursday, August 25, 2011

home is wherever we are, together

it's empty now.

and in the silence i can finally hear the seven years of life that fill this house.

amid the walls and empty floors, it vibrates like a tuning fork pitched at a frequency only we can feel.

relative to the actual years, it seems like we've done a disproportionate amount of living and dying here. transformed are two very young children, replaced by a wary, irascible teenager and a brash, unabashed contessa in a leotard. the quiet air is full of their angst and energy and electricity.

passed on are a couple high-revving hamsters, an affectionate adopted cat, and two well-loved, still-missed dogs. they were all part of the ship, part of the crew~and when their time came, they were mourned as part of the family.

their life force is here, entwined with that of three more dogs and the very-old cat who is still with us and has been, seemingly, forever.

so many creatures, so many bright lights showing us the way...somewhere.

if only our souls could be still long enough to follow.

this is a happy place, mostly. made that way by the person who insisted she liked the house the least. with relentless resolve, the missus eventually turned an awkward, outdated little abode into a confident, elegant home. the house purred at her touch, and it occurs to me that you can't infuse a place with this much joie de vivre without loving it deeply.


it's taken five days to disengage from here, a herculean effort i'm not sure will be manageable again in this lifetime. the days of hefting tightly packed boxes melted into late nights emptying a large truck long after dark. our fatigue is physical and metaphysical and to the bone.


the walls echo every sound now, complaining of the emptiness.

i feel it, too.

Monday, August 15, 2011

crazy is as crazy does...

could it be?

is it possible?

could michelle bachmann (R-unreality) be the next GOP nominee for president of the united states?

yes! she could! she really could!

she loves america so much, she'd like to see the country default on its debts, leading to global economic turmoil. iowa GOP straw poll voters loved her so much, they made her the straw poll queen in their recent straw poll vote.

but wait! could the nominee eventually be...rick perry? perry (R-schizophrenia) loves america so much, he'd like to secede from it! plus, rick is very pious. he uses his position as governor of texas as a prayer pulpit, leading the faithful in prayers for rain, and for the economy. he also prays for an end to healthcare reform and the environmental protection agency.

he could be the GOP nominee! he really could!

based on the recent debate in iowa, any number of really, um, interesting people could be the GOP nominee. it could be rick santorum (R-manondog), the former senator with a google problem and a host of other quirky-adorable views that endear him to the hard right.

it could be newt gingrich (R-annulment) and his marriages and affairs and messy divorce from a cancer-stricken wife. yes, it could!

could it be herman cain (R-incoherence), the fast-food financier? no, it could not. herman cain is an african-american. no matter how much money he's made, or how many fast-food pseudo-meals he's foisted on our unhealthy electorate, GOP primary voters will not make a black man the GOP nominee. no, they will not!

nor will it be tim pawlenty (R-narcolepsy). in a world where crazy is the coin of the realm, tim is entirely too placid. besides which, after a somnolent showing in iowa, the former governor quit the race. rarely do voters embrace a former governor who quits. unless her name is sarah palin. and tim, for all his quitting qualifications, is no sarah palin.

who are we forgetting? oh! mitt romney (R-youkidding)! well, to be fair, everyone forgets mitt romney. even mitt romney forgets mitt romney. there have been so many mitts over the past few years, it's hard to keep track of them all. GOP primary voters recently songified mitt's many morphs to the tune "which mitt are you?"

are you massachusetts mitt, creator of the state's beloved romneycare healthcare program? are you revenue romney, who badgered standard & poors to boost his state’s credit rating after raising taxes during an economic decline?

or are you anti-mitt, who disavows any knowledge of any other mitts, if in fact it can be proved they ever existed? that'd be the mitt who insists corporations are people too.

could this mitt or that mitt (or anyone named "mitt") be the next GOP nominee? or is the very idea too crazy? tsk, this is the GOP! nothing's too crazy!

but wait, isn't mitt a mormon? yes, yes he is.

okay, then no. GOP primary voters will not make a mormon the GOP nominee. but what if they did? rhetorical/tactical question: would mormon mitt consider making african-american herman cain his running mate? it would be an interesting approach to taking on barack obama, wouldn't it?

and it raises a corollary rhetorical/book of mormon question: if an irony tree falls in the woods, do the elders hear it?

we digress.

straw poll queen bachmann says wives should be submissive to their husbands. for example, she submissively became a tax attorney at her husband's insistence, and against her wishes.

questions about biblical patriarchy theology make her squirm, and not in a good way. which in turn raises interesting questions about roles if, say, she were president and rick perry were vice president.

bachmann: mr. vice president, i need you to go to new york for the ceremonial dissolution of the united nations.

perry: madame president, given the severe distress of our economy and the unprecedented heat wave broiling the midwest, i think it's important that i go to the heartland and lead a prayer festival and re-election fundraiser.

bachmann: but...

perry: madame president, remember, "submit yourself to your husband as you would to the lord..."

bachmann: but, you're not my husband.

perry: marcus and i were wrestling, um, with this subject just a few minutes ago, and he told me to tell you that you should go to new york. he and i will go to the heartland for the prayer thing.

bachmann: well...okay. i guess that'll work too.

so many candidates for hyperzealous right-wingers to love. how will they ever choose? what litmus test will suffice? previously it would've been the willingness to borrow trillions for war and torture and tax cuts. in jesus' name, of course.

now? if iowans are a barometer, it's a willingness to suspend disbelief and sidle up to the crazy like it's closing time at the 24-hour church salad bar.

which is to say...lettuce spray.

Friday, August 05, 2011

the nature of change

"the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in dillon
are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA
we will remember that there is something happening in america
that we are not as divided as our politics suggest
that we are one people
we are one nation
and together we will begin the next great chapter in america's story
with three words
that will ring from coast to coast
from sea to shining sea
yes we can
yes we can
yes we can
yes we can..."

the song still inspires.

even now, and even after the candidate who would change everything has mostly changed our expectations by lowering them.

during the soul-on-fire days of 2008, everything was possible--and expected. because the man doing the campaigning (and those who supported him) demanded it.

in 2008, millions of people voted for more than just change--they demanded a reckoning. an exorcism of the bush demon and the damage done to a nation.

two years later millions of those same people voted for a change back to bush-brand lunacy. dozens of newly elected democrats were replaced by even newer right-wing zealots. which caused much cognitive dissonance and many questions about the intelligence of american voters.

and the president who would change everything changed as well...into a moderate
republican. snapping heads back like a right-of-center cross to the jaw.

"yes we can heal this nation. yes we can repair this world." ~~barack obama

we believed it, in 2008. we believed we could wrest the control of our destiny from those who would violate our inviolable principles. those who advocated and implemented fear and torture and unnecessary war. not to mention economic seppuku.

but a mere 24 months later we veered away from rationality and back toward darkness. since then there's been little healing, less repair, and much self-destruction.

as standard and poors put it in downgrading america's credit rating:

"The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed."

shorter standard and poors:

"america can no longer be trusted to do the right thing--or the smart thing."

as it turns out, we are actually more divided than our politics suggest. we are no longer one people, or one nation.

"nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change." ~~barack obama

this is true. and when those voices call for a weakened president undermined by timid democrats, tea party radicals, and economic hostage-takers? we get the government we deserve and the instability we set in motion.

"we have been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope...but in the unlikely story that is america, there has never been anything false about hope."

candidate obama never hit a false note. his campaign messaging was exactly what a dispirited, disillusioned nation needed to begin believing, once again, in its better angels.

president obama, in contrast, has fallen well short of the promise and the promises. instead of a reckoning, there's been incremental wreckage. instead of exorcism there's been exasperation.

it's as if the president, once elected, forgot (or blithely discarded) the electricity that swept him into office. instead of rising to the voters' mandate, he receded to opposition punching bag. not surprisingly, the hope and dreams and yes-we-can followed.

given the derangement on the right (and the bipolar nature of the electorate), it's possible that reason will re-assert itself in 2012. it's possible that a second-term obama will rediscover his savvy and his stride.

but "change we can believe in" is no longer an option, for the nation or this president.

what's required now is action we can count on.