- The escalating savagery of reality TV (and our children, always watching).
- Those bankers who never went to jail.
- The monumental weight of words, carelessly tossed out for applause.
- The ones who took the path of least resistance, towing the Party Line.
- The hard work of digging for The Truth.
- Those who couldn’t let go of the quixotic politician they had dreamt of all their lives.
- The women and girls, focused only on the thought that they would finally get their chance.
- That innate wiring for survival that causes us to trust faces we see every week, even through a glass screen.
- The ones bored by real news.
- The delusion that we live in a Democracy.
- The young, cosseted ones, who didn’t realize how bad this could get.
- The journalists, who, when staring at the ceiling late at night, knew what part they were playing.
- Mistaking magical thinking for optimism.
- The ones who could have stopped it by speaking up.
- The slow asphyxiation of critical thought.
- The old people, paralyzed, because the world is changing too quickly.
- Both sides, covering their ears, chanting, “I c-a-a-a-n’t he-e-ear you!”
- The ones who fanned the flames.
- Those who played it safe, because “revolution” is a scary word.
- Their side, reproducing faster.
- The sad audience in front of their big screens, studying “Lives of The Rich and Famous”, hoping some of it will rub off.
- The seething, interminable misogyny, whether conscious or buried deep.
- The close race that keeps those advertising dollars coming in.
- The soulless, gutting, corporatization of everything.
- The millions who know Kim Kardashian, but don’t know Joe Biden.
- “Divide and conquer”.... it never fails.
- The ones who “aren’t bigoted”, but threw the vulnerable under the bus.
- The white men calling out, “we hurt, too,” (and those who’ve been oppressed for centuries, laughing)
- Normalizing vulgarity, lies and ignorance.
- Greedy, blood sucking CEOs.
- The drowning poor, screaming to the stone-deaf vacationers sunning themselves on the shore.
- The ones who were sure someone else would save them from Evil.
- A gratifying knife in the yuppie heart of your comfortable sibling, who has never known the humiliating, biweekly walk into a payday lender.
- Those who felt bullied, rallying around the BIGGEST bully for protection.
- The babies who drank the poisoned water in Flint, and the suits who didn’t respond, because their own children were fine.
- Fear of the unfamiliar… festering into blind, searing hatred.
- The fresh face of a brilliant, idealistic Wellesley woman, who (rejected for her non-conformity) stunted her spirit to fit the prescribed mold of politician’s wife, spent 40 years learning how to play the game, then (ironically, tragically) found herself criticized for being a perfectly polished politician.
- The deluded, desperate sheep who chose a wolf as their saviour.
- The money, always the money.
And, 60 years ago, a ruthless, menacing, tyrant who taught his children that their only worth was in winning… at all costs. His troubled son, forever frozen at 13, the only one sent away… from the mansion and the nannies, to learn some discipline. Now, HE stands at the podium, screaming for law and order. An insomniac, interminably driven… to feed his entitled, insatiable appetites, to maintain the illusion of vulgar, gold-plated success, to fill the ravenous void with endless acquisitions of planes, boats, towers, wives, and other prizes… to prove to his dead father that he is the winningest winner of all. He’s raised bullying to an art form, his predatory skills sharpened to leave nothing but the bones every time, bellowing the family secret to his children: “If somebody fucks you, fuck them ten times harder.”
(Beware of what you do your sons)
(because they still run the world)
(… and bullies always make more bullies.)
Now, I must teach my daughter about these kinds of men, and the worlds they create. I'm forced to swallow my hope that, after millennia of wars, oppression, and destruction of the earth under male rule, we might see what kind of world a woman could make. I must show my daughter how to live off the land so she can survive after the collapse. I must live longer to protect her. (I got her a passport, just in case.) We will still get the puppy: I envisioned the tragedy of her being pulled off a wailing dog, leaving him behind as we fled the country, then decided that we all need as much joy as we can get. I tell my child that all people deserve our kindness and respect. I tell her she should not be afraid of difference, because we are all in this together, and we are stronger against our real oppressors when we stand with others. I explain that she will have to be brave, to speak up for those who do not have a voice, because those who are silent in the face of oppression are oppressors themselves. I cry at night, when she cannot see me, for all the sons and daughters that will suffer under this torrent of hate, unleashed by a Devil who opened the floodgates. I wake from paralyzing dreams of tigers devouring my sweet girl, but spend the day filling her heart with so much light that she will have some left over, to illuminate the world.