Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Wedding, A Separation

I ran into this video this morning on a website called "Why Evolution is True."

Yesterday Libby and I went to a perfect wedding. It was held out in the country near Saxapahaw, NC, on an organic farm. The farmers catered the wedding, serving delicious barbeque and baked beans. There were puffy white clouds in the brilliant blue September sky. In North Carolina we get two different Septembers, the ones with hurricanes, and the ones like this present one, fairly dry, not overly hot, a gentle procession into the coming fall. Most of the leaves are still green, but a few early plants, at the edge of the woods, have changed to scarlet. I meant to take a photo of one of these little bushes with sharp, narrow leaves last time I mowed. They look spray painted. I used to love September without resevation, having experienced Hurricane Hazel long ago, as a child, where it was mostly an adventure that passed and caused no personal damage. But then came the hurricanes of the '90s, and we were living on Ocracoke Island, where one takes notice and must decide, over and over again, what to do, whether to leave. There were many opportunities. Two notables: Hurricane Fran, in '96, and Hurricane Floyd, in '99. Floyd was particularly devastating to North Carolina as it caused wide-spread flooding which nearly isolated the coastal plain from the rest of the state, and killed over 50 people, mostly folks who drove across flooded roadways and were swept away.

Behind the stage where Libby and I played music as the celebrants chatted and sipped, there was a field of yellow flowers. Amongst the flowers were probably 12 or so Guinea hens, industriously hunting for food. When I walked up to the stage they all popped their heads up and buzzed with alarm. After I stood there a while they went back to their grazing. In these parts it's said that Gunieas will get rid of ticks. We didn't get bit. It might be a plan!

September, after Fran and Floyd, became a month I didn't look forward to much. But at the moment, meaning this year, it seems that hurricanes are not threatening us here on the eastern seaboard. Out in the Pacific it's a different story. Anyways, yesterday was a perfect day for an outdoor wedding. The bride was beautiful, her family was really terrific, and Libby and I got to play some music and visit with some old friends and generally have a very nice day. Today seems a repeat, and we're doing a nice cookout today up in Greensboro celebrating the various family birthdays that occur in September, the month with the most birthdays according to someone in the office. It's certainly got the most birhdays in our family.

We got home after dark, unpacked the music gear. Then we watched the Iranian film, A Separation. This is what films used to be like, that is, it has some depth and seriousness and is interested in a story about real life inhabited by real people. It might be called The Turn of the Screw, but that title is pretty much taken. It is a story about earnest, good people who despite their efforts grow more and more entangled in tragedy and despair. They are all caught in a web. The web is their principles and good intentions. No one has magic powers or an automatic pistol. The film should be viewed by anyone who blathers on about incinerating Iran if it doesn't kow-tow to the desires of the West. If he could find within himself some ability to sit still and think, it would benefit Mr. Trump to watch this film. It's an unlikely thought experiment I know.

Mr. Trump has decided to run as George Wallace. There's no way around this conclusion. Back in '68, Wallace would have loved to have been running as the candidate of one of the two major parties. Instead, both parties rejected him, and he was forced to mount a third-party effort, arguing like Trump today that "there's not a dime's worth of difference" between the two major parties and their candidates. This is a new experiment for us, or perhaps an old one that we thought was relegated to the ash heap. Trump is running on straight-up racism and prejudice. He has nothing but a great stack of lies concerning people who are in various ways "different" from the white people in the country who think it their right as white Christians to have the final say in governance, and who think anytime they don't get that final say, something undemocratic has happened. Trump wants to see if that cohort of bitterness is big enough and engaged enough to win a Presidential election. He's saying now, straight up, vote Trump, vote your hate.

There is such a vast distance from that little field we played fiddle tunes in yesterday, full of happy people immersed in the "golden hour," and the bitterness of Trump's campaign. It's surely at least as far as the distance from the sun to Neptune. Out there, in the bitter black, there is nothing else but ice, even if gravity still works its magic, and the center "holds." As the twilight advances, Libby and I chatted with two old friends we hadn't seen in several years. This is how it is at weddings. It was very heartening to discover that they saw these realities as we did. If one just watched "the news," which is pretty much what all of us do now, one might eventually begin to believe in the terrors that animate the typical Trump supporter.

Mr. Reagan set this loose back in the '80s, when he got rid of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." That little vandalism, almost unnoticed in the glare of Iran-Contra and the destruction of the Air Traffic Controller union, and grounded in the idea that the blind marketplace will sort out truth from fiction, has opened the door to a media of lies. Now millions believe that a small, rural community of Muslims who live together to practice their faith is in fact some terrorist training camp. Yesterday, Mr. Trump promised to end the war on Christmas. Libby reported this Trump news after I'd gone up to bed. She said Trump's promise was actually the war on Christmas. This is as strange as a guy named Les Izmore running for State Comptroller.

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