I saw a crazy woman on the street yesterday. She was pushing a shopping cart, laughing and talking to herself.
     There was nothing funny about it.
     I feel bad when I see crazy people – probably because I understand them.
     Not that I’ve ever been institutionalized or diagnosed as insane – but I understand how it is to proceed along separate, parallel paths with the world, never touching, never intersecting, not quite understanding what is going on.
     The worst I ever felt was when I lived in Boston, long ago, and for several mornings in a row I saw a man standing on a corner of Boylston Street, repeating in a loud, tremulous voice, “I know who I-I-I-I am. I know who I-I-I-I am.”
     He so obviously didn’t. And so many people passed him by, including me. Then one morning he was gone and I never saw him again.
     I still feel bad when I remember him, and that was 35 years ago.
     When I saw the crazy lady yesterday I looked around for the police – not to arrest her, to help her. Because she needed help, and I didn’t know how to provide it.
     Lately I feel that our entire country is one of those crazy people, standing on a corner, spewing gibberish.
     We so obviously need help, and we refuse to ask for it.
     We know what needs to be done, and we refuse to do it.
     If we don’t know how to fix Detroit, we sure as hell don’t know how to fix Kandahar.
     The government has to pay its own way, or our currency will end up worthless.
     If we truly believe that our “national security” depends upon corrupt, drug-dealing, foreign megalomaniacs who hate us with passion despite the billions of dollars we so insistently thrust into their pockets, then we not only will lose our national security, but we are insane.
     We are standing on a corner, spewing gibberish.
     George W. Bush, who was incompetent at everything, delivered us a multi-trillion-dollar budget deficit by cutting rich people’s taxes and starting two wars, and now that the economy is a disaster, the only thing about which our nation’s “leaders” agree is that we have to fight those wars, and we can’t increase taxes.
     Our country’s manufacturing and clean energy businesses are being surpassed by China and India – China and India! – and Congress is deeply concerned that somewhere, somehow, two homosexual people might get married.
     Everyone who is not brain dead understands that our economic catastrophe was created in great part by unregulated hedge funds and derivatives traders and collateralized mortgage-backed debt securities, and Congress has decided that the one thing we must not do is to regulate hedge funds, or derivatives traders, or collateralized mortgage-backed debt securities.
     Everyone understands that another reason that unemployment is at 10 percent and the economy is in shambles is because filthy rich bankers simply grabbed money for themselves by the tens of billions of dollars, and Congress is fixing this by throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the bankers.
     Our country is moving along a separate, parallel course with reality, never touching, never intersecting.
     We need the police to come and take care of us. They should start by taking all 535 members of Congress and restraining them and separating them from one another.
     Then the police should do with our congressmen and senators what they do with the other crazy people. They should take them to a hospital and shoot them full of Thorazine. Then when our leaders’ wallets have been emptied, and all the money has been delivered to a distant corporation, the police should dump our Congress on the streets, without a job, without health insurance, without ID, without anyone who knows them, with no one to watch out for them or take care of them.
     Let them look for a job in a place where no one knows their name.
     Let them look for a job in a place where their name means nothing.
     Let them live in a place where when they pick up the phone and make a call -nothing happens.
     Let them live like this for months, years. Then, perhaps, they will understand.
     But until that happens, I believe that things will continue along our present path, with our entire country standing on a corner, spewing gibberish.

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