Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Great Men and Archetypes

In one week we will mark the 44th anniversary of Robert Frances Kennedy’s untimely and grotesque death. I was a young woman when he was assassinated. I wasn’t yet old enough to vote - you had to be twenty-one back then. I was volunteering in Denver in one of his presidential campaign offices with three other women that night when we got the news on the radio that he had been shot in the head like his brother the President of the United States, John Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, shot in the face two months earlier. Goddess, it was a season of death, and we all tried to wrap our minds around another atrocity – a third great man felled by some monster with a gun where his humanity should be.

Sobbing and chocking on our tears we started moving campaign literature from table to table aimlessly. One of the women sunk to her knees, and another woman and I got her up and into a chair. It seemed like a long time, but it couldn’t have been, before my over protective Italian father, Goddess bless him, called and said, "You are coming home now. Tell the ladies that you are locking up, and I am taking them home too." No one argued with my dad, and home we went.

It was a beautiful, silky June evening and there was no one in the streets of Denver. No kids were playing; no young guys were showing off their hotrods; no Italian ladies were sitting on their porch gossiping. A vibrant ethic neighborhood had simply ceased to exist as time stopped and the Earth halted in its orbit. Bobby died the next morning as we knew he would, and time came back with the spinning of the Planet from night into day. We had lost something in the emptiness of no time and nonexistence. Something we never got back.

Still, I often think of Bobby when I see President Obama. Some say he reminds them of John, but for me he is closer in style and temperament to Bobby with his graceful power and gentle determination.

Some leaders rise to the level of archetype in their own lifetime. Robert Kennedy did. I can’t look back on the youth and promise of the Kennedy Camelot without seeing him in front of me. He was Lancelot without the flaws and Galahad without the crippling inhibitions. He carried the glowing Grail within his heart, and when he died he released so that all of us could find it in our own way.

When I think of him I remember what he said on the night Dr. Martin Luther King went to join the angels he so often walked with. Bobby quoted a poem by Aeschylus, his favorite poet. I never could stand the Greeks myself, but the lines that follow are metaphor for the 1960’s and the struggle we waged in the shadow of the specter of murder, secure in our belief in a light at the end of the tunnel – the Grail shining with hope and change.

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

I can’t believe that we have lost the wisdom. I can’t believe that some people would have us wage the struggle all over again. I can’t believe anyone can fail to see Bobby’s light, his Grail, in President Obama’s hand.

The rose featured here is “Remember Me.”

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reasons Not to Vote for Romney

There are a number of reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney. First, he is a world class liar. The longstanding affair between lying and politics is hardly a revelation. In fact I have speculated that there is a symbiosis between the two which is not unlike the relationship between some fungi and some trees that benefit from one another’s life force within the same ecosystem. Having said all of this, Romney is a weird and creepy liar. It is almost like he is a multiple personality with a number of entities living in his psyche. Often times one comes out and speaks without the knowledge of the others. This explains the deer in the headlights stare and the stammering when an alternate personality is question about something they didn’t hear. That begs the question, should Romney win the Oval Office do you really want the twelve-year-old sociopath who strapped the dog to the roof of the car emerging during time of national crisis or challenge – say the killing of a Bin Laden for example?

Another reason not to vote for Romney is the general societal superstition that rich means smart. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are many brilliant people roaming the land who haven’t, as my mother would say, a pot to piss in. While by the same token, there are many rich people haunting the halls of power whose gray cells are so necrotized by greed or avarice that they should be placed in restraints and tossed in a cell for the good of the public. I give you Jamie Dimon, their poster child.

There is a fundamental difference between smart and cunning; just as there is a fundamental difference between commanding and ruthless. Romney is cunning and ruthless. He proved it at Bain Capital. In my estimation that is not a qualification for the exercise of pure, almost absolute, power. Particularly, when one remembers that the power arises from the people and flows through the conduit of the Whitehouse. To the extent that the sitting president is stupid, fraudulent even ill the power is lost to the people.

To me the most persuasive reason not to vote for Romney is that he has identified himself with some of the most malignant, destructive, vicious and cruel people ever to emerge on the national stage. I am referring now to the Neoconservatives, those dark and sinister little men, in expensive but shapeless suits, who populate the shadows of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense like the specters of every death-scented tyrant who ever lived. These men would have us believe that war is a noble and natural state of human existence. When in fact, it is as unnatural as terminal illness because it is a death sentence.

Chris Carter notes through a character in the X-files that, “The business of America is not business, but War. Since Antietam nothing has driven the engine of the economy faster.” Thus the Military Industrial Complex with all of its twisted tentacles embedded in the brothel that is our government could, and probably has, made the case that war is a job creator. Like all the other con artists in this false argument – from Wall Street to the Koch brothers – the abuses of the war industry and war profiteering were taken to a new level by the Bush Administration. It requires a very special kind of myopia to overlook the fact that these monsters fed not just on the enemy but upon the citizens they were supposed to be defending.

In considering this next election it may behoove the electorate to ask how many times the Wolfowitzes, the Cheneys, the Rumsfelds, the Dimons and the Kochs can return to our collective neck and suck blood before this country collapses like a brittle shell. This isn’t about Capitalism, Socialism, Jobs, Unemployment or the economy – all that is just the lure of the vampire. This really is about the fact that we could elect another empty cloak where Dracula hides, and that is perhaps the best reason not to vote for Romney.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Ah-Ha Moment

I was listening to David Frum talk last night. He is a brilliant man and a true Conservative Republican. He has no use for the Tea Party or the squealing bigots on the Religious Right. I often read him, as I said before to know what the other side is thinking, and because he is one of the few Republicans writing today who seems able to treat his adverbs and adjectives with courtesy.

Still, in hearing him speak and considering his work I finally realized what separates people like me from people like Frum, no matter how smart, reasonable or genuine they are. I can't afford their politics. I couldn't afford them when I was busting my ass in the OR, the ER and the ICU, working double and triple shifts to help my husband keep a roof over our heads. Now that things are better I still can't afford their politics for what the Catholic clerics call the good of my immortal soul.