It has come to my attention that a strange rash of pre-election depression is afflicting a good number of my friends and acquaintances. Most of them (well, nearly all of them) hope to hell that John Kerry will be our next Commander-in-Chief. And even then, such wishes are expressed with a specifically punctuated “Anybody but Bush” stipulation. Despite their decisions, they have their doubts. They see the polls and remain convinced that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. And there have been strange behavioral consequences.
Couples are breaking up. There’s a good deal of drinking going on. Effortless smiles are harder to form People look at how overworked they are and how penurious their companies are about hiring more people to assist with the rampant overflow and they ask themselves when the hell it’s all going to end. A strange sense of doom suspends in the air. And I’ve had to remind several people I love and admire that, all things considered, life is good and that it is their obligation to treat themselves well, so that the grand happiness cycle can continue and affect others within respective circles in similar fashion. And, by “grand happiness,” I don’t mean treacly Hallmark cards or bogus affirmation seminars. I mean, just looking at the damn crazy world around us and not giving into the idea that it will be bombed or turned into a totalitarian nightmare. I’m talking about doing something, dammit. I’m talking about a general sense of decency that most humans employed in a governmental capacity seem incapable of. I’m talking about standing up for yourself and looking out for others. I’m talking about ignoring the fuck out of those who would deliberately harm, maim or mock, and doing your own thing, dammit. Do I have to remind you that Roberto Rossellini gathered together strips of film and made Open City under Mussolini, dammit? Do I have to remind you that the Marquis de Sade continued to create in prison? Life’s too short. Magic is too often squandered by the damned unimaginative madmen who would point to the pony slightly straying off the concourse and declare “Enemy.” Well, fuck them. It is often the ignoble scaredycat who would willingly immolate himself because the world presents him with no other option. To the afraid, I reply: Do your own thing anyway.
And while I have strayed significantly off course, I should point out that the friends who call in with these concerns are often oblivious of the fact that my own heart was broken recently. I don’t hold this against them at all. Because I’m determined to forge ahead and I encourage them to do so likewise. (In fact, Chic plays while I type these words. I suggest that all others aspiring to exist in a moribund state play the same. It helps, believe it or not.)
Sure, you can buy into this unfortunate reality, among others. But you can also remind yourself that others are fighting the good fight. And where one is taken away, there will be hundreds to take the place.
The point is this: When the Towers were knocked down, citizens, irrespective of government, gathered together to see what the hell they can do. It was their generosity and bonhomie that got us through that fateful day, not the sham rulers or the opportunists. Why is it that we so frequently forget this? So long as artists and painters and writers and crazed speakers and determined protestors and giddy bastards continue to fight the good fight, we’re going to be okay.
Because the plain truth is that the human spirit in all of its omnifarious forms cannot be quashed. Even with a second Bush term. If those in power are to declare that certain sectors of the vox populi are to be denied basic liberties, then it is your responsibility to not only take the power away from them, but to point the middle finger in their faces. And you can do that first and foremost by heading to the polls on November 2. But beyond that, inhabit who you are and damn the consequences. The rest will follow and the world will be all right.