Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March and Macbeth

So anyway, Macbeth learns from some creepy, unsightly beings that he will become king. But there's already someone on the throne, an honorable, generous, much loved man.

The creepy ones -- were they the fates? witches? the three wise women of Orient Are? -- didn't say he needed to act on this news, but after his spouse's wise counseling, he reluctantly agrees to stab the living shit out of the king -- hacking him, if you will -- in order to avoid a messy election.
What else can we do?

So when the king comes to visit, Lady Macbeth drugs the secret service agents in his bedroom, then races out and asks her husband this chilling, sick rhetorical question: "What can't we do to the king now?" In Shakespearean English, by the way, it sounds like this: "What cannot you and I perform upon / Th'unguarded Duncan?"

Crap ("Zounds!")! They already planned to do away with him. Were they also going to do him?

To quote the Macbeths' cinematic cousin Norman Bates, "Creepy."

From November 9, 2016, to the morning of January 21, 2017, that's how I felt. A man who opposed every value I held dear had drugged the sentinels and had become king, and he had a loyal, shameless, Machiavellian pack of legislators to cater to his every wish, and the power to appoint to the Supreme Court someone who would send us all back to the 1950s at roughly the speed of light.

What could they not do to me and to the 64 million other Americans like me? We had no say, no power. 

Mid morning, January 21, 2017, I suddenly felt compelled to go against my lifelong propensity to avoid crowds, teamwork, group work, pep rallies, speechifying, all of that, and to attend the Women's March at Lake Eola (see their Unity Principles here). I don't do this sort of thing. At best, I cheer them from a distance.

But this time I had no choice, and I have no explanation for this feeling of urgency combined with necessity. 

When Mindy and I got there, I no longer felt like the sleeping King Duncan at the complete mercy of a murderous, molesting, malignant intruder. 

There was no logical reason for this perceived vulnerability to diminish. Chairman Cheeto and Dorian Gray's illegitimate daughter KC were still in charge of the truth, of what will happen and what it will be called. 
By the waters, building a revolution.
But at Lake Eola, where 10,000 or more were gathered, every person I saw was smiling, and so was I. I can't remember feeling that particular brand of joy at any other time in my somewhat lengthy life. I can't explain that, either, but I know it was real, and I know Kellyanne Conway can't desecrate it by dismissing us as sore losers or by spewing out a sudden outburst of memorized statistics aimed at vilifying President Obama and Michelle, the wanton hussy shameless enough to be seen sleeveless in public.

The joy, exhilaration, solidarity, community, empathy, energy, inspiration, kindness, creativity and peace at Lake Eola replaced poor dying Duncan, a personification of good will and good intentions at the mercy of his enemies.

Unlike Duncan's men, we* did not hunt down the new king and put his head on a stick. We did not seek any sort of revenge, served cold or hot.

This is a peaceful movement, even though some of my former Facebook friends have already tried to link the Women's March to looters and car-burners. That, of course, is an alternative fact.

This is a positive movement. To call it "trump bashing" indicates a lack of imagination and empathy and/or sufficient information . The new president damns himself with every word he speaks, with every tweet he tweets. It's not our job to help him with that. 
Women's March: Our guardian saint.

Our job is to be the change, not to wait on a hero from another realm to save us, but rather to look to each other, our mortal human selves, our bodies' implacable ticking clocks not limiting us, but spurring us on to immediate action.

We have no other choice, and that sobering knowledge goes a long way in relieving existential angst.

As they say on the streets, "When people know they are to be hanged, it concentrates their mind wonderfully."

Our collective focus gives us that rare gift every human needs: A worthy cause greater than ourselves. Even better, our cause is one of sister-, brother-, personhood. We the freakin people! All of us! Actually liking and caring about each other. That's a very good feeling -- an emotion that comes from having hope when reason tells us there is none.

So yes, this is up to us. We have to believe in us, in each other. I'm not sure we're the brightest species on the planet, but if enough of us pretend to be, and work together, and rejuvenate ourselves by meeting again and again, our strength will grow, and our goals grow nearer, and we'll give our grandchildren the hope they deserve.

The sentinels are awake now. We're going to be fine.

*Editor's note: Here the author slips into first-person plural, and he worries that it makes him sound like an accomplished Women's March organizer and activist, when in fact he is not even a woman, in the pure sense of the word. He would like readers to know, though, that no one could be more humble or modest than he. And no one else knows as much about blogging, or is smarter, or better at sneaking in obscure literary allusions in order to make his readers feel like a pack of dumb-butts. 

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