Closing Argument

As a gay man of a certain age who has lived far, far longer than I thought I would in the 1980s, here is what I most definitely know –

CHANGE. TAKES. TIME.

And that is frustrating, maddening and even infuriating. 

But here’s what I also most definitely know –

CHANGE.  HAPPENS.

And often, it’s when you least expect it.

OK yes, but stick with me!

Much like volcanic eruptions, events in your life or in the world reach a tipping point over time and suddenly, one day, everything’s different.

Except, it’s not suddenly and it didn’t come out of nowhere.  It took time and often it took energy, whether it be from the environment or through the work of many, many people.

I’m not a religious guy, but I like what Buddhists believe:

NOTHING IS PERMANENT.

Except maybe these…. and Cher

You have to participate and fight for what you want.  You have to expend energy to hold on to it.  And even if you do all of the above, circumstances will inevitably change and things WILL be different.

And if you don’t like what they’ve changed you will inevitably need to engage once again and hope to achieve something different, and hopefully better than what your new status quo is. 

And then, sometime after that, the cycle WILL start again.

That IS the way of the world as I’ve seen it.  And I’ve seen, well, A LOT.

Don’t go looking in my attic

All this is to say:

If you want to live in a place that ASPIRES to be a good, honest country where we work TOWARDS equality for all you will VOTE for JOE BIDEN.

If you want to live in a place that ASPIRES to be a good honest country that opens its arms to the world and ENGAGES for the betterment of humanity you will VOTE for JOE BIDEN.

If you want to live in a place that ASPIRES to be a good honest country that DOESN’T BLAME everyone and everything else for its problems you will VOTE for JOE BIDEN.

Nothin’ spooky about this

More specifically:

If you want to live in a place that doesn’t put children in cages, with a leader that doesn’t tell tens of thousands of lies a year, many of which have cost the lives of a quarter of a million of its citizens in 8 months with no end in sight, and under an executive branch that will work for the betterment of ALL its people rather than solely the select minority who voted them into power, you will VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN.

…. and he’s outta here. #slingshotfordemocracy

These are just a few arguments off the top of my head.  

But what it truly comes down to is:

How willing are you to ENGAGE for what you TRULY want? 

How willing are you to LEAVE CYNICISM BEHIND for ONE DAY of this year and RISK being disappointed once again in exchange for the EXHILARATION OF TRIUMPH?  (Note: And yes, relief).

How willing are you to FIGHT even though you’re DEAD TIRED and, truly, DON’T REALLY GIVE A SH-T anymore.

I get it.  I’m burnt out, too.  I’m out of jokes.  I’m even bereft of snide retorts.

Well, mostly.

Yeah, OK Chairy. That well shall never run dry.

The only way to achieve what you want, and DARE to ACT on a DREAM, is to RISK failure.  And, at the risk of an en masse eye roll:

You can’t achieve a WANT, or most especially a DREAM, if you don’t have one.

In the last four years, is there anyone that is reading this who hasn’t dreamt of waking up and, for ONE FULL DAY, NOT HEARING THE VOICE of Donald J. Trump?

Even Randy Rainbow needs a break #help

That might be the least of what you REALLY WANT, but perhaps that’s all you can muster at this point.  In which case, you must:

VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN.

Is this the best closing argument?  Maybe not.  

But I suspect it’s the one thing the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of us Americans have in common. 

And what will unite us once again come Election Day. 

And beyond.

Black Eyed Peas and Jennifer Hudson – “The Love”

The Trump and Judy Show

Let’s talk about legends and the people who inhabit them.  The common dictionary definition:

Legend:  An extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field.

Of course, that’s only part of the story.

Renee Zellweger gives an astonishing performance as the legendary Judy Garland in the self-titled new film, Judy.  It’s not so much that Ms. Zellweger exactly recreates her singing voice or her entire autobiography during the last few years of her life.  It’s that somehow, and in so many ways, she captures the essence of Judy’s legend.

Make room on your shelf, Renee!

Or at least what we believe was, or could have been, her essence.

It’s there in her tremulous voice, her humor, her raw vulnerability, her fight, the nuances of her mannerisms and her underfed yet somehow still powerful physicality.

Not only is a tour de force of determination in her every and many close-up(s), it’s a channeling of duality.  She shows us the core of what we publicly saw of Judy in her many stage, screen and TV appearances AND she gives us a peak into the charming and yet not always admirable part of her humanity that we never knew and might not have ever imagined.

None of us are ever one thing all the time.  We are a mix of light and dark, good and bad, strong and vulnerable and, trite as it may sound, love and hate.

This is amplified ten times over with those we’ve crowned as our legends.

No doubt Donald J. Trump will go down as an extremely different type of legend in our history, but a legend nevertheless.  Most American presidents in history occupy legendary status during their era and for many the legend manages to sustain through generations and even centuries. (Note: See above definition).

Sigh… I really need to stop looking at pictures like this #coolobama #sighagain

The breadth of career, the various distinctive looks, the marriages, the overly insistent publicity, the rise and fall and rise again – these are among the many things Trump and Judy share.  It may be a sobering thought but it doesn’t make it any less true.

What is also true is that ultimately those are artificial markers we, as society, have constructed for ourselves in order to understand how one human rises into the public consciousness and manages to stay there for years, decades and very often even beyond that.

Roughly as long as the shelf life of a Twinkie #thatsalongtime

Trump and Judy might both be modern day legends but in so many other, more important ways, they couldn’t be more different.

Trump from the beginning used his role as a renowned entertainer to divide people.  The phrase that cemented his stardom in the mass media zeitgeist was, YOU’RE FIRED!  He ran for the presidency on a platform of Make America Great Again but never before in American history has the country been this divided.  While Trump certainly did unite a significant subset of the country he polarized us a whole and continues to do so as he and his presidency amble towards impeachment.

Haven’t we been crawling there all along? #itstime

A deeper dive into specifics allows us to see this is not where it ends.  Trump’s talent is self-promotion, grievance and sheer rage/anger.  It can be amusing in cynical, seemingly too politically correct times but it doesn’t cause true pleasure like the lilt of a spectacular musical note.  Nor does it allow us to relax and let down our guard when we watch a scene in a film or on TV where a performer is bold enough to expose publicly the kind of vulnerabilities we keep secret for fear of risking our own personal shame.

With Trump weakness is BAD, not a given.  It is an aspect of our ourselves so impossible to admit that it must be put through his own personal, branded wood chipper and spew out as aggressive disdain and a call for destruction of whomever we deem as the other.

What my brain will do to 2016 – 2020

Rather than cleanse ourselves through a good cry or the spontaneous live energy of a song delivered by a legendary vocalist, we cloak ourselves in an adrenalin rush of negative performance art that blocks out everything else.  We are assured that no matter what our problems are it’s the outside world that is responsible for them.

The system that’s failed the collective us has made us believe that what we deem as our many rights have only been made wrong by weak leaders in today’s age.

The Trump worldview harkens back to his late eighties mantra that it’s you against the world and that greed and gold and gilt for you and your family are what’s good.

Gee thanks, Gordy #UGH

If you don’t have those it’s the fault of the Mexicans, the drug lords, the non-white invaders, the too privileged leaders who are a disgrace for selling out the real Americans, those people whose bodies they used and willingly stepped on and over to get them where they are today.

What made Trump legendary from the beginning was his lack of shame and ability to vomit out his authentic self no matter what the elite thought of his antics.  He was a crude, trash-talking, show-off with seemingly endless cash, with an amusing glint in his eye and an ability to crack an off-color double entendre or blatantly dirty jokes in public the way we and our families all did in private behind closed doors.

Trying to think about Trump as a legend #imtrying

Whatever we say about Trump he evokes for many what publicly passes as an authentic self.  Many would argue Judy did the same, from her Wizard of Oz days on through the territory covered in this latest film of her life.

Certainly, the public persona of any legend is not truly authentic.  No persona, light or dark, good or bad, can ever be all things any human being is in any given moment or in total.

Except Julie Andrews… she is EVERYTHING

What is most important when we speak of our legends is considering not who they are or were but what they truly do for us and why.  In whose company do we want to live in through our eternities?  Which of these legends, despite their humanness, gave us something positive to consider, and which others of them brought us down as a collective whole?

Renee Zellweger – “Over the Rainbow” (From Judy Soundtrack)