Mar 22, 2010

“We are bound to let whatever light we have shine,” said the president.

It was not the morning news in Fearopolis, where the yellow presses were all awhine and gog with other stories. “What we need to do,” said the Gollum, “is get rid of these bastards.” El Rushbow actually used that word. “These bastard democrats." "Run them out of town," he went on. "Every last one." He sounded like an exterminator from the old west. The Terminex associate in Boot Hill.

He is the Gollum-Lector, the Fr. Coughlin of Palm Beach: his thinning hair brushed back Hannibal-style, the fat cheeks, skin the color of a dirty colon, the demeanor of a neuter, the voice coming from nowhere, not attached to a brain but to some other reddish nerve leading out his tail bone to a tiny LED light.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to hit you between the eyes,” he said and went on to lay it all out: how your premiums will go up not down, how the radicals will be choosing your doctor, how the fact is there will still be preconditions, and no you won’t necessarily be insured, and how your Medicare is problematic. On and on. "This is all a sham, you’ve been lied to, now you’ve seen the statists at work, this is exactly what I’ve been telling you, these people know no bounds. They have no humanity, no souls, you’re all in for a horrible death. When the fat black lady bureaucrat sings, you’re history. It’s the end of America as we know it. It’s the end of you, as you know it."

The Gollum-Lector paused.

* * *

Of course health care legislation had a hideously painful birth. Especially with the toe-headed Stupak switching sides at the last moment, to get his “me-time”. What sanctimony. “Hey Bart,” I yelled at the TV. “Cool down. It’s not like you have to have a baby.” And still the House was standing in applause. As though abortion were the real issue. Beware of big government getting in your health care pants. Except on the question of abortion.

And so what if 59,000 nuns said the bill was okay as far as they were concerned. And God knows, they are concerned. On the other hand, what are they but women, and lesbians at that. And what do the nuns do? They work with the lost and unfound, the sick and the poor. And what does that add up to but a hill of beans. Nuns and the poor, what possible constituency should have less of a voice in endorsing health care? By all means mind the Bishops. By all means mind the men in black robes, with the little solid-gold cross bumpy on their hairless chests, following their cocks and See, like fops after their Dachshunds.

Meanwhile, the next morning David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times, gives his measured judgment. It’s always important to qualify in Washington. You never want to be ‘wrong.’ Beware the scold. His message is that Obama got His but at the cost of a post-modern, post-partisan dream. The country will never be the same.

The Times is always two beats out of rhythm. Like when Merlin Olsen tried to sing dowap with Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier. With the Gray Lady it had to be Hillary; Obama had no chance. He was too inexperienced. Then on the health care bill they said, ‘Obama, don’t be too ambitious, just get what you can get.’ Step by step, kid.

Which is nor'easter slang for, ‘don’t be too uppity, nigger.’

He’ll get his dream. Some if not all of it. After all, where are the Republicans going now? Further right? Down Reagan row. Down Mark Levin lane. Downtown with El Rushbow. No. They'll have to come back to the center. They'll have to come and play in his park. They’ll have to do his bidding. Sooner or later. And he’ll eat them alive and they’ll have to smile as he does it and they'll be like live gophers down the egret's throat.

* * *

So it was not about big government or little abortions — and what an irony that was, taking up the mantle of abortion for the people you most denigrate and despise. And it was not about your grandchildren’s grandchildren having to pay off the debt for altruism. That was all the Gollum-Lector’s ‘thedeology’ but no one really thinks like that. If they did they would never have bought houses they couldn’t afford, and run up credit card bills they could not afford to pay back. Nobody really cares if their children will be in debt. Who ever heard that in America? Until now you never needed a future in America.

No, that was all nonsense. The truth is closer to racism. Think of all the people who would do anything to bring this man down, who can’t stand his brilliance, who can’t abide his humanity, who will not stomach his success or forgive him his pride. Who cannot endure the shame they feel because of all that he is and all that they are not.

But in the end it’s not even about him, the great community organizer, or racism. It’s about the end of old times, white men and women, churches and government house. It’s what what Henry taught me years ago. All the institutions are crumbling. The pews are all but empty. The place is all a crackpot. There’s nothing to hold on to.

Not to mention the new ennui. The old desolation is once more up and running. In the ugly overhead light of now-this-minute there is no relief from it. But different than before and as difficult to describe as it is insufferable. It's closer to loneliness than boredom. It's less intellectual than emotional. It's the feeling that you can't go back to where ever you thought you could go back to.... It's about losing the humors and humor itself. And sure, it's about aging and shopper failure and relationship fatigue. It's about being tired of everything and not being able to imagine the future. It's about the furrowed fear and imaginable pleasure of dying in late afternoon traffic, being in the company of fellow drivers and yet on your own, and when you're passed on, against the window, and your car hits the car in front, it's all a gentle passing and the driver is on headphones anyway, and after a quarter mile he may notice you don't seem to be playing your role and then everything stop and ambulances come and folks were delayed and everybody thought you just went to sleep.....

That's the question. As everybody knows and says, the answer is to redefine community. If you can see that far, if you can imagine it.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful column, blogger. But please tell us about this new way to redefine community.

Anjuli said...

so as the anonymous commenter asked, "how would you redefine community"?