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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The fear of what comes after the doing

Tony Kushner's Angels in America, part one. Second act. Scene 6. The year 1986. Reagan's second term. Republicans Approach.

Martin: It's a revolution in Washington, Joe. We have a new agenda and finally a real leader. They got back the Senate, but we have the courts. By the nineties, the Supreme Court will be block-solid Republican appointees, and the Federal bench--Republican judges like land mines, everywhere, everywhere they turn. Affirmative action? Take it to court. Boom! Land mine. And we get our way on just about everything: abortion, defense, Central America, family values, a life investment climate. We have the White House locked til the year 2000. And beyond. A permanent fix on the Oval Office? It's possible. By '92 we'll get the Senate back, and in ten years the South is going to give us the House. It's really the end of Liberalism. The end of New Deal Socialism. The end of ipso facto secular humanism. The dawning of a genuinely American political personality. Modeled on Ronald Wilson Reagan.

In the '80s, Republicans were convinced Reagan was enough to destroy Liberalism. Unmake the New Deal. Break the Great Society, create a new society of... I don't know. Reagan's shining city on the hill wasn't gonna clean itself--it'd need some peons to wash that sucker down enough to make it gleam, so who Conservatives thought would make it shine, in 1986, is beyond me.

I'd discovered masturbation in 1986. Why would I care?

Paul Harris's "Republicans fear long exile in the wilderness." Article from The Guardian. The Year 2008. British journalist in Texas.

If current polling holds true, the [Republican] party may be reduced to its core support in the solid red heartland that runs through Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia and other southern and western states. That would trigger a profound crisis for a party that just three years ago was basking in the afterglow of a convincing presidential win and dreaming of creating a 'permanent majority'.

Now that same Republican party could face a prolonged period in the political wilderness, working out how to appeal to an American public that seems prepared to send a pro-choice, black senator from Chicago to the White House and reject a conservative Republican war hero.

By 2008, I was comfortable enough with masturbation--and occasional sex!--to pay attention/come up for air and observe politics. The shining city on the hill, seems to me, is Brigadoon, available only once in a while.

Angels in America, part one. First act. Scene 8.

Louis: Jews don't have any clear contextual guide to the afterlife; even that it exists. I don't think much about it. I see it as a perpetual rainy Thursday afternoon in March. Dead leaves.

And this, my own view of America, sans angels:

There's a diner. Except it isn't a diner, because there are no servers coming to your table, taking your order then plopping it down in front of you. You're sitting at a booth beside a window, and outside the window it's raining, overcast, cloudy. You can't see more than a few feet--the parking lot, parked cars, grey clouds.

There are no servers asking you for your order because all the food available is set on a conveyor belt which passes your booth. To one side, rainy Thursday. To the other, manna.

The conveyor belt comes out of the kitchen loaded with plate after plate of meat, tofu, starch, vegetable, liquid. All you have to do is sit long enough, and what you want will pass you, and you can grab for it, or let it go. Or you can stare out the window and hope there's enough of a break in the clouds to allow you a glimpse of what's beyond the rain, the parking lot, the clouds.

In the kitchen, where the conveyor belt not only begins but ends, there are a lot of disappointed cooks--they hope someone took their starch or veggie or meat off the belt, and are annoyed when their dish comes back to them. So they send the same dish out again, take a break. The cooks go for a smoke, maybe, or watch TV while their dishes go round and round on the conveyor belt.

And in the booths, there are a lot of disappointed patrons--they wanted something else to come past them on the conveyor belt. Or else they get bored, stare out the window, and wait for the clouds to break.

The food crawls on, the machinery of the conveyor belt sliding it from the kitchen then along the stretch of booths then back into the kitchen. Missed chances.

And the clouds are iron, and the rain is soft, and the parking lot is waiting to be filled.

Brigadoon. Seriously. This shit is going on and on. There is no permanent majority. The food keeps passing the booths, and people are either looking out at the rainy Thursday, or at the conveyor belt thinking maybe the next vegetable, or meat, or starch will be more appealing.

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