01 March 2010

Fix This Thing

I often take a journey in my own mind (oh, like, there's an alternative?) to a Saturday night in summer, in Milwaukee, in the 1970s. The Brewers maybe won or maybe lost--let's really pretend and say they *won*-- and my dad and I drive home in his red Chevy Impala convertible along a slow moving but moderately clear West Bluemound Road on our own way back from County Stadium, which, like so many behemoths of civic-business partnership in sports franchising, no longer exist. Spontaneously, it seems, we stopped at Gilles Frozen Custard for a "Hot Fudge Dusty" which consisted of vanilla custard, hot fudge, and malted. The sincerity and intentionality involved in this sentimental gesture of radical loyalty to all things Wisconsin is, to my soul, often on par with my morning chanting of an ancient, idyllic Jerusalem as represented in the Psalms. I still believe in it, though few believe it ever really was.

This fantastical remembrance is of what was; and today I am all too aware that it is, in fact, too sweet for me to consume. So quietly I conspire with myself to simply remember. And in remembering I find traces or hints of redemption. I can conjure them on summer nights, here in Brooklyn, 850 miles and 35 years away; I can bring them to life during a bedtime story with the kids; or now, in front of a keyboard, alone with my thoughts on a cool March evening, when my country seems to be both falling apart and not being assembled in any kind of competent way.

And I find myself asking at the recent report that there is now a Coffee Party vying for our allegiance, alongside the now infamous Tea Party: "Since when is our nation's survival dependent upon our devotion to a warm beverage?"

Our attention starved culture, morphed with the nauseating need to brand every new idea before it's even fully hatched, while feeding its own grotesque habits of consumption, demands another trend.

Friend it. Tweet it. Host it. It has the potential to *transform* our political culture.

Gimme a break.

Vote. Work. Make a decision and defend it. Take some risks. If you find that particularly exhausting, I suggest you take in a ballgame once in a while, followed by something a little sweet at the end of the night. (By the way, Lactaid can really help.)

And when facing your own particular reality the next day, I don't give a damn if it's coffee or tea or cool mountain water that starts your engine in the morning.

But you do have to get up early and get back to work. It's the only way we're going to fix this thing.

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