What a break! The acrid stench generated by proactively ignorant elected officials and candidates for higher office was mercifully interrupted this week by … well … God. Then again, maybe it was Mother Nature? Or, perhaps, better to say mother earth.
In any case, I am grateful.
The intervention was a welcome break from the obsessive emotional roller coaster and adrenalin tease that is following politics and current events for a living. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work. It is exciting and it involves the great issues of the day. Indeed, I am privileged.
In what other field can a modestly skilled kid from Brooklyn be taken seriously by those who make the news?
But if one has a sense of justice, if one cares about integrity in high places, if one roils with internal angst when lied to face to face, if one cares about the future of this country—the job can break your heart and, worse, distort your sense of reality.
The anger and frustration build up, so much so, that you risk believing that the debate between the left and the right is all that there is and that nothing else matters very much. The high volume and low intellectual quality of the discourse takes you to a point whereby you are whipsawed from one side to the other.
The sound bites and simple answers arrive on your psyche like shots fired from a machine gun, or if they palliate you, they soothe like the morphine jabs you see administered in World War II movies. They are abrupt assaults and solutions as ignorant and thoughtless as a bullet.
Sadly, like any other bad habit, they are the opiate that medicates the jangled nerves that have been compromised by the very drug that now offers to ease your pain. They are the gambler’s next bet, the drug addict’s next fix, the compulsive shopper’s next purchase on a credit card that will never be paid off.
“Birthers” were running around saying Barack Obama was not born here. Rich and knowingly dissembling talk-show hosts said that he was a Marxist and hated America. Sarah Palin insisted that the government wanted the right to kill your grandmother. Michele Bachmann says God wanted her be president and that being gay is a curable disease. Rick Perry, when he thought it useful, talked of secession and—from Texas of all places—has said it might not be safe for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to visit there.
And look, it is not easy for an honest conservative either. They work their butts off only to watch poorly run government spend their money carelessly or buy votes. Quite willing to work, they watch jobs taken away by people living in this country illegally.
Meanwhile, the leaders of both parties cater to business cash and Latino votes by manipulating the immigration issue. If they complain about the genuine mistakes of the president, or the use of entitlement programs by Democrats to gain minority votes, they risk being accused of racism.
I know, enough! There I go again.
Six months ago I started listening to the fantasy that is sports radio on my way home, eschewing the very broadcast form (political/news) in which I make my living. If I am not going to hear an honest attempt at reality, I figure I may as well enjoy and choose my own method of self-gratification.
But, alas, divine intervention. No, I haven’t joined the evangelical nut jobs who think God is an angry pit bull bent on Armageddon. I leave such nonsense to Godzilla movies.
Rather, the earthquake that broke up a meeting with my lawyer while we tried to right a wrong visited by one of life’s cynical predators and the hurricane that tore off the side of my house reminded me that there is a reality out there.
We are all accidental tourists, here for a short stay, cast adrift on a swirling tiny ball lost in the expanse of existence that is spending its capricious energy, released at the beginning of time, with no particular regard for its inhabitants.
Me thinks we take ourselves way too seriously. I feel better already.