Watching throngs of handicapped people in wheelchairs and with breathing tubes being forcibly dragged out of Congress’ hallways by police was quite a sight.
As they waited for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over a new health care bill (aka Trumpcare) that would never materialize, the rest of we Americans were being treated to images straight out of….Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale?….Mad Max Fury Road?…or fill in the latest dystopic film or television series (limited or not) of choice.
No, I’m not exaggerating. And there’s a reason this kind of programming (aka content) is popular right about now.
If our lives at the moment were a dystopic film or television series – and who is to say it isn’t given we have a reality star POTUS – one can only imagine what will follow. Certainly you don’t need to be a writer to consider the various options:
1- Police will begin to drag ALL protesters forcibly away, make protesting illegal, and then punishable by death, and then seize EVERYONE’s assets until a superhero comes to the rescue.
2- A superhero – or mere human movement – will spring up and defeat those drunk with power in a bloody, prolonged third act that will cost the studio too much money but is deemed necessary for commercial appeal.
3- Law enforcement – aka the status quo – will realize they’ve gone too far and back off in the name of decency and benevolence. (Note: Know that this is the most unpopular choice in any development meeting and always deemed woefully undramatic no matter how you try to sell it to them with clever dialogue and intricate plot twists even they didn’t see coming).
4- Self-preservation and arm-twisting will kick in and some sort of compromise will be reached. No one will be happy but society will continue and no blood will be shed. For now.
If we choose #4 – and certainly American history usually bends in this direction, it’s called the kick the can down the road compromise of choice – you will know we aren’t living a real life version of The Truman Show.
Of course, that will have sidestepped the issue at hand (Note: This week it’s health care – a few months ago it was immigration – another month or two hence it could be…well, anything) – for the time being.
The time being is what intrigues me at the moment. The spaces between the monumental fights and events. It seems to me that is really where most of us live unless we’re thrill seekers like Sebastian Junger, icons like Martin Luther King Jr., or someone who believes a $6000 suit, a bad comb over dye job and all the money and power in the world hide who we really are from the vast majority of the world.
It’s hard to know how to behave for the time being. Just what do you do other than go about your daily life?
– Some of us (ahem) have taken to alternately rant and worry
– Some of us donate money, take to the streets and yell (or worse) at anyone who disagrees with us or even gets in our way
– Some of us drink too much and party too much as if we’re the uber bourgeoisie and it’s about to be the uber French Revolution (Note: Which indeed it may be)
– Some of us pay this no mind at all and wonder why the rest of us bother
I have done all of the above except the latter. Correction, I’ve even done the latter for at least a few seconds here and there over the last six months. But no more.
Which means I’m left with A LOT of time being to fill even though it feels like my time – and all of our times – are running out fast.
I read a script this weekend that’s a comedy about a man dying of cancer. Apparently, it’s going to be made with a big star and by a major studio. I say apparently, because, as we know, nothing in the world is definite and this applies to the nth degree when it comes to a greenlit movie.
Anyway, in this screenplay the person with the fatal disease takes on all kinds of behavior usually deemed outrageous in an effort to get the people around him to live a little. He’s not really mean to anyone – well, except to some hypocrite he works with who, strangely enough, happens to be in a wheelchair (Note: Think real advanced affirmative action via non-stereotypical character development, an actor’s field day) – and somehow this becomes the key to….
Well, I don’t want to spoil it in case it gets made. Let’s just say it doesn’t so much solve his issues but makes everyone else around him think a little bit about their own time beings – though as far as we know it is only for the time being. The rest could or would but probably won’t be answered in a sequel.
In light of what happened this week with the many affirmed demonstrators who took to the halls of Congress in fear that they literally will die given the proposed Medicaid cuts Republicans are asking for – I initially had trouble with the new trope of handicapped hypocrite.
On the other hand, lots of other marginalized people in the story were valued and nothing too terrible happened to him that he didn’t deserve and we didn’t want to happen.
The worst of me wants the worst to happen to those manipulators who are full of themselves and only out for themselves.
The best of me wants to protect people who are not as able-bodied or advantaged as myself even when I don’t necessarily agree with all of their actions.
But what happens if both those options are embodied in exactly the same person?
Do you go high? Or do you go low? Though really, it’s more about what I’ll do or you’ll do – that really being the collective we. Meaning it’s really ALL about the collective WE.
More likely you, I and thus “We” will reach some sort of compromise and kick the can down the road in the name of survival. For the time being at least.
As all of us, you and I rant, rave, drink, tune out and/or make jokes about it all.
I can think of no better way to usher in a new unenlightened age.
For the time… Well, you get the point. Though it’s anyone’s guess if WE do. Or ever will.