It’s been awhile. A pin drops in this blog and it rings loudly, like that sad and sleepless silence that pervades the countryside in the dark of night. Between the last post and this, many things have happened, too many to truly enumerate. I will cover a couple.
Occasional contributor to this blog and frequent contributor to my joy, Lucas Cain, passed away. Or that’s too soft, “passed away.” Lucas dropped off this world, suddenly and tragically. He was here and then he wasn’t. Laughing with us in a bar too late and then not doing that ever again. Theoretical loss can be painful, that is until real loss is born. Absence, and the knowledge that this absence is permanent, is flashing and loud in its lack of substance. That emptiness is what sits invisibly on your chest, obstructing breath and clenching the throat.
Lucas still lives on in our memories, in paintings that adorn my apartment walls, and in some pieces of this blog. He occupied a large space in many of our minds and continues to do so after his physical existence has ceased. He’d be overjoyed that we keep talking about him. He died with the real possibility in his mind that Bernie could take the White House, and for that he was lucky. He’d never believe the shit we’re in right now.
Which brings me to the other thing. He whom we shall not name, the Cheeto-dusted and bloated bag of Confederate memorabilia. A reality TV spectacle was elected to the highest position in our government. A man whose Goodreads account would begin with Mein Kampf and end with the assembled speeches of Adolf Hitler (where in reality he just scanned the Cliff Notes of each). A man who shits on a golden toilet but can’t seem to buy a suit or tie that fits. If the descriptor “presidential” had any meaning before, it has completely ceased to mean anything at this point. There was a time where we could laugh at memes of a child-like dictator pointing at various objects safe in the knowledge that no such idiot strongman ruled over our much more competent and thoughtful nation. Ah, the good ole days!
I wasn’t around for this country’s other more fractious and frightening times (or else I was too young to be aware of it), so where we are at is very disorienting and stressful to me. I assume that this is still the case for those who’ve been through such times (assuming they aren’t fawning after the failed steak salesman and his assembled band of clueless silver spooners). At no point could I have predicted that a party so vigorously opposed to the very idea of Russia would be, if not openly praising their dictator, shrugging away the blatant attempts at bending the West to their purpose. It defies logic.
At the same time, nothing short of this wannabe emperor could have engaged so many people in protest and activism. From coast to coast, we’ve assembled with passionate or comedic signs, to march, to chant, to debate, to express, in the streets, in city parks, at town halls, in each other’s living rooms, outside reticent congressmen’s homes. We’ve talked about things we’d kept to ourselves, admitted mistakes and committed to actions, watched documentaries and read non-fiction books. We’ve started reading more news than at any times in our lives.
These are the times that we need to understand what the essential character of our country should be, no matter where on the political spectrum we fall. Decisions based on fear, free of fact, cannot be trusted. Look at the statistics, mine the underlying reasons for the problems we face, understand the complaints of our neighbors. To line up blindly behind the big red R or the big blue D gives a sense of civic duty without the work to back it up. We need to stand for ideas, not for parties. If something is wrong, it is wrong, no matter what jackass found himself behind the big desk in the Oval Office.
Obviously, there is too much going on right now to speak to each unjust and/or idiotic action. Various news outlets can elucidate the particulars of the day (and, seriously, be various with your new sources). Suffice it to say, Lucas would’ve hated this (though he’d make a mean protest sign).