Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Viva La Vida or Else

The media, mainstream and upstream alike, have been filled in recent days and weeks with what seems to be a never-ending barrage of bad news-economically, morally, politically, sports (as a Yankees fan, I hated that the BoSox signed Baldelli, though I also felt bad for Cleveland fans as they prepare to embrace Carl "Handle Me with Care" Pavano) and according to professional pollsters, like Rasmussen Reports, one of the few things we, across these states united (more or less, sometimes) are positive about is that the bad news is far from over.

A week from today is the inauguration of President Barack Obama (the day Obama announced he was seeking the presidency, a work acquaintance, not having seen the TV reports and not at all familiar with the US Senate, without meaning to offend me (because of my ancestry as it turned out), offered that 'we've had more than enough Irish guys run for President').
Jonathan Swift, I suspect, preferred both his humor and turkey dark, Gulliver.

My point, of course, is there's what we know and nearby BUT unconnected to that knowledge, is what we think we know. (You're re-reading the last line, wondering 'he had a point? And all this time I thought he did Zen stand-up comedy on line. And badly.' That last thought is especially callous, by the way; please remember to tip your server.). We spend more time worrying about vapor than living in the now and working towards the next.

Sometimes, I think we may have the
emotional memories of goldfish--and we grieve more over losses of people and situations we never had, than celebrate those with whom we enrich our lives. We enjoy, it seems, living in "despitenotroplis" as in "we worked hard despite NOT having..." which is sometimes a suburb of "butburg" in which "we could have been successful but ...." And I can relate to that: if my mother had married a Kennedy, I'd be living in the White House--but she didn't, and I'm not and that's why I don't like Mom. She ruined the life I never had.

In light of where we are right now, across the board and throughout the country, the important point may be we are all we can rely on in order to move us from where we are to where we would like to be. And, with apologies to the pollsters, that's a very good start! Look at our history, my friend--we are all we have ever needed when we were in trouble.

American Revolution? Letters to the King, pretty easy stuff; dumping tea into the harbor and Boys Behaving Badly on Breed's Hill, an entirely different level of trouble. Lend-Lease, loaning tools so someone else can fight; Normandy, you've got our undivided attention, now-bet you won't know what to do with it. And Jim Crow and the KKK, some are more equal than others; Civil Rights Act and JFK, MLK, RFK, turns out we are the people we have been waiting for.

It just takes some time (I admit) to get our attention, but we're coming around. We've figured out it's not just Wall Street in Manhattan, but Bog Meadow Road in Norwich. It's not only the homeless in Asia Minor or the hopeless sleeping on a subway grate in Chicago, but the forgotten unseen living under the Viaduct at Laurel Hill. The foreclosures killing off the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous have reduced the Norwich Harbor condos to a ghost town.

In other words, despite what the news and the pollsters say and think, we get it. It's not just your part of the airplane that has lost a wing and good luck with that; I'm gonna put my headphones back on and concentrate on the in flight entertainment. We are in this together and now that we're in it, we may as well win it. "
And I'm just Waiting 'til the shine wears off."
-bill kenny

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