I didn’t watch the state of the union. There. I said it. There is nothing new about my not watching the state of the union but frankly these days i feel like i am in the minority for not imbibing the nectar of futility from the box of shiny colors just so that i have something to bitch or complain about the next day. And yet here i am, bitching about it anyway because it isn’t about the speech itself anymore it’s about our reaction to it.
I don’t know. It seems to me that twenty years ago there might have been many more people who couldn’t care less about a yearly speech which interrupts our regularly scheduled escapist time for a ‘serious’ lecture about the dubious state of the American Empire. Maybe this is because we are universally conscious of being in an uncertain time. Maybe we’re all worried and quaking in our respective shoes. I hear a lot of that these days, not so much the expressed thought or concern, but more the ‘sky is falling’ catastrophic pronouncements that come from almost every point of the compass except the ridiculous advertising for products.
Its a time of great change. But even that isn’t quite right. A great change, should you understand a little about history, was had after the ends of World War One and Two where each involved nation struggled hard to come to grips with gigantic new realities. This, in comparison, is a small ripple of change. Yeah. We’re worried about the economy. What’s not to worry about? We’re worried about our ego on the world stage. And for some reason we continue to want to believe that the rest of the nations of the earth haven’t called our number a long long time ago. We’re worried about debt, china, india, rich, poor, morality, ethics, etc.
In short the ‘civilized’ nations of the western empire have finally read the tea leaves laid forth and have taken their augury for fact. We’re all neurotic messes – characters in a Woody Allen play set on the national stage.
I didn’t watch the State of the Union because i’m not interested. I didn’t watch it because it’s not interesting. It has occurred to me, recently, that politics is a bumbling nightmare of a theatre. If it is an expression of Woody Allen then all the characters are in clown makeup or blackface. They are caricatures of humanity and their lines are delivered with all the skill of performance of a bad Sci-Fi movie. I didn’t watch the State of the Union for the same reason i avoid most political statements made in the public – because it’s like a random word generator or one of those old Play-doh molds. If i have the political party of the speaker i already know what is going to be said. It’s so rote by now that everything should simply have it’s own shaped mold just to avoid having to listen to it over and over and over again: Red moons for Republicans, Green Stars for Democrats, Blue Dots for Tea Partiers, whatever. That way, instead of listening to someone’s skewed and perverse interpretation of reality we will simply have a television screen filled with that shape for the duration of the speech which will allow us to go about our daily lives actually doing things.
Because, honestly, we can all talk and fret and wring our hands in worry and consternation about the sorry state of things, we can wonder when the next shoe will drop, we can obsess about the respect and adoration our national ego is getting on the world stage or we can actually try to work, for each other, and do the absolute best we can for one another. Really we can’t do both.
I am not interested in interpretations of reality. I am interested in reality. It’s pretty cool. There are stars and gardens and rabbits and there are problems that need to be solved. There are people who have ideas on how to solve those problems. There are people who have plans, goals, are building things, are inspired to fix the things that are broken. And then there are those who simply want to complain and moan and nitpick those people and say that their ideas are stupid and they should just keep their (insert political pejorative here) ideas to themselves.
Let’s put it this way. In a Woody Allen movie you would have the main character sitting on a bench staring at a pile of wood, dressed in carpenters gear with a hammer in his hands. A plan for building a house lies nearby. But Woody doesn’t move. He sits and he stares at the spot where the house is going to be: “Who bought these nails? These can’t be the right kind of nails. I don’t think they’re pointy enough. I might hurt myself if i try to pound those nails. Yeesh. Isn’t there a softer hammer i could use? Who can understand these plans? Is that a wall i’m supposed to build? What if a bear comes and tries to take down this wall, i mean if i’m building it it’s not going to stand up to a bear. Nah. It’s better if i call someone else to build this.”
I don’t need to hear it. If i wanted that i could listen to my own ego which will provide ample opportunities and misgivings about doing anything.
We’re all responsible for each other on this earth. If i spend too much time whining about the injustice of something being broken it never gets fixed. If i spend too much time bitching about the dismal quality of education, no one gets educated. If i spend too much time worrying about the nails, the plans, the wood, the foundation, etc. the house doesn’t get built. So maybe, in the future, we could show all of our representatives where we, as human beings, stand and simply not listen when they think they have something to say. Maybe we should demand that they speak only that which is actually useful to the project of all of us building a better house.
So there you go. I didn’t watch. I’m not going to feel bad about it and i’m not going to engage in the garbage political abuse that is floating out there right now on all the media websites like some noxious cloud. But i will apologize to my small collection of readers for not being very puckish lately. I’ll work on that. I promise.
Lightening up as we speak!