Sunday, June 19, 2016

Beyond the Winter of our Discontent

I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them - from Richard III, Shakespeare

I usually start my post with a few lines from a song. But this is June 2016, and no time for singing - the above lines from "Richard III" seem more apt in this glorious summer of 2016.

I have lived through four elections in New York - two of which were won by George W. But I have never felt the fear that accompanies this one.

Sunday morning in the nail salon - a weekly ritual that I indulge myself in. Sitting at the nail-dryer. A woman in her early thirties -  a nail-dryer neighbor who I have never seen before - speaks to me. "I love your tee-shirt," pointing to the back which reads
Human Rights are Women's Rights!
Hillary Rodham Clinton
For President! 2016

"My grandparents were Irish", she goes on to explain. Adding that she can leave this country anytime she wants - taking her husband and baby to anywhere in Europe. Nothing new - heaps of us have been working out our exit strategy.

So many people making jokes - about Canada needing a wall to keep out the kale-eaters. The emergence of "Maple Match", the website for Americans seeking Canadian spouses so they can emigrate in November if necessary. Trump suing comedian Bill Maher for $5 million for his orangutan sex joke - though that was no joke.

She goes on to express her fear, a fear that had not crossed my mind anytime in my 20 years of living in America. But it crosses my mind now!

Until today I had worried of course that Trump could win the Presidency. But my fear had been mainly focused on the man and the damage done.

My nail-salon neighbor enlightens me.

Win or lose - she is getting the hell out of Dodge! "I never know when I might be sitting next to one of them." And (in a whisper), "A Trump supporter."

We are living in a county where eleven million people voted for the man. And then there are the Sanders supporters. Twenty percent have said they will vote for Trump. Which makes one wonder why they supported Sanders in the first place.

So counting the Sanders fanatics and the number of "documented" adults living in America, that means there is a 10% chance that the person sitting next to me on the subway is a Trump supporter.

Scene from "On the Beach", State Library, Melbourne
Of course it isn't true of people in New York. We are different here. Surely.

"There Is Still Time ... Brother", the sign reads outside Melbourne's State Library in Stanley Kramer’s haunting post-apocalyptic movie "On The Beach" - as radiation gradually descends southward from the northern hemisphere, wiping out all mankind.

Still, I am given new courage as I walk back home to my apartment. All around me are African Americans, Africans, and Hispanics. Many of them notice my tee-shirt and give me the thumbs up. There is still time, sister!

I started with the words of the Bard. But to be really gloomy, I will end with the words of the songwriter Dory Previn.

I've seen him in the headlines
And on the evening news
I saw him on the sideline
When stones were thrown at Jews

And marching in Montgomery
Pretending that he cared
I saw him wink as though
Some old conspiracy were shared

He was in the crowd in Dallas
At the close of Camelot
I spotted him on campus
When the students had been shot

In an oriental village
With civilians left to rot
He was hanging out with soldiers
Trading heroin for pot and he was
Smiling, smiling - Doppelgänger

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