What Are Ya Gonna|Do About It?

     Canada geese are flying south, in long uneven Vs across the sky. It’s a bumper year for apples, and leaves on the hillsides are flaming red and gold.
     This is more important than what Congress did this week – this month – these six years.
     These seasonal changes remind us – remind me, anyway – of what a bunch of lying, cheating, worthless bastards we have in Congress, and how unimportant they are.
     Unimportant is surely the worst insult I could pay them, in their own – pardon me for disgracing the English language – minds. So I paid it – because I didn’t have to pay them with money.
     The United States Congress is not important.
     Vladimir Putin is not important.
     Those stupid bastards in the Middle East who are blowing up the monuments of their own civilization are not important either.
     We live in an age of stupidity – not tragedy. Stupidity.
     In tragedy, “pity and terror are so blended with a sense of law and beauty that we feel at last, not depression and much less despair, but a consciousness of greatness in pain, and of solemnity in the mystery we cannot fathom.”
     So said A.C. Bradley, 110 years ago, in the book from which we all learned Shakespearean tragedy. If we did learn it. Which I guess we did not.
     Look at the world this week.
     As millions of people flee from the real pity and terror of fascist governments in the Mideast, the Republican Party’s standard bearer, Donald Trump, called it a sneaky plan to infiltrate 200,000 Muslim soldiers into the United States to overthrow our government.
     He really said that.
     And so far as I’ve heard, none of his fellow Republican candidates for president have pointed out that Trump, in saying this, showed himself and his party, again, to be led by vile, predatory, venal, ignorant, loudmouth, dangerous, racist liars.
     But maybe I missed that news cycle.
     Aristotle defined tragedy as a catharsis of pity and terror. Twenty-five hundred years ago we pitied the people who suffered the inexorable punishment of the gods. But there is nothing inexorable about the terror the world suffers today – 99.9 percent of it outside of the United States.
     Where is the “greatness in pain” in the U.S. Congress?
     There is no greatness there, and they suffer no pain.
     Where is their “sense of law and beauty”?
     Any one of today’s Republican candidates for president would piss all over law and beauty if they thought it would get them a bump in the polls. Don’t tell me they wouldn’t, because they already have.
     Where is the solemnity and beauty that the law and human life once had, or were said to have had?
     Is it solemn or beautiful to let innocent men be executed because their attorney missed a filing deadline?
     Is it solemn or beautiful to sell the Congress, the White House, even the Supreme Court – and to sell them so cheaply?
     The Republican Party’s science policy today consists of demanding that geese fly north for the winter.
     Its ethics policy consists of unlimited begging and back-scratching.
     The purchase of the United States government, at all levels, from the cities to Congress to the White House, is no “mystery we cannot fathom”: It’s out there in public.
     So, as the man said, “What are you gonna do about it?”
     Send more money to the Candidate of Your Choice, against the day you may have to beg for mercy? Or watch the geese fly south?

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