Monday, June 5, 2017

Hole in the Ozone

How fine it has been to write about the pleasures of enjoying my local neighborhood, the comfort of an evening Hitchcock film, the joy of teaching music to children as the perfect antidote to despair. But tonight I made the mistake of checking in to the Daily Show to keep up with the news and not only saw this horrible, horrible man stand in the goddamn rose garden while gloating over pulling out of the Paris accord in his continual denial of climate change, but had to hear those trained monkeys in the audience applauding while the world teeters closer to irreversible disaster. “Living well is the best revenge” has helped keep me afloat and I have to have faith that it helps, but is it enough and is it in time and what else could we be doing here? When a building is burning, the folks in the living room don’t keep talking about how to make report cards more friendly and loving for children.

The hole in the ozone is both a metaphor—my carefully-constructed fragile hope based on speaking out and living well unable to ignore the burning sun of despair—and the actual real deal that this idiot is purposefully ignoring and for all the wrong reasons. Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert are doing their best to keep some humor in this, but this is about the least funny thing out there. Though I’ve stopped using this verb (I even having trouble talking about the trumpet!), the thesaurus has no other word—climate change trumps every other issue. Who cares that public schools will go to hell and the Constitution be dismantled and we’ll make enemies of former friends and the economy will collapse when the oceans start rising. And all the while we sit around hoping some fair democratic process will oust this dangerous, dangerous man and his yes-saying Republican robots who build their house high on the hill and think that they’ve won because the ocean will reach them last.

I know this does no one any good to read (though many may share these thoughts) and somehow we need to proceed “as if,” in the words of the old Christmas Carol, “the wrong shall fail and the right prevail.” But this is turning out just as bad and even worse than we thought. And time is not on our side. We can’t afford to wait four or even two years.

How to speak these truths without giving in to despair? If you have a clue, give me a call.

PS One hour later. Even if the above be scientifically sound and psychologically understandable and politically necessary, I knew as I wrote that it was missing something. And so I went back to work writing an article and decided to listen to Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Good choice. It doesn't cancel the above, it doesn't solve it, it doesn't give an easy "oh everything will work out" or a cynical "why bother?" answer, but somehow such intelligence and beauty and feeling made a difference. If the human experiment is to fail and the cockroaches win, the very least we can do is go out singing and remember the sublime human achievements that made the experiment a worthy effort. Go to Bach or Mozart or Coltrane or Ravi Shankar even as you sign the petitions. 

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