There is hope for our democracy

From Harper’s Weekly Review:

The Aldabra rail, a flightless bird native to an island in the Indian Ocean, was found to have re-evolved itself back into existence.

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Where is the Resistance? I’ll tell you.

We’re here, in our homes and wearing it on our faces when we go out.

In January 2017 and several times afterward, I with friends and family members marched in DC. I marched to Trump’s NYC hotel a number of times after that. And I was with thousands of people.

We’re doing the opposite of marching now. We’re not marching.

The only people who are out there doing their version of marching are fools for Trump. A smattering on the steps of various government buildings, prancing around with guns in states that permit them to have guns, thousands crowding into swimming pools and onto beaches. Without masks.

The resistance groups which opposed Hitler during the ten deadly years of the Thousand Year Reich were not out in public, carrying guns and wearing bikinis. They worked privately, quietly, dressed in their usual clothes. They didn’t yell at Nazi soldiers. They smiled at them in public and sabotaged them in secret.

So, instead of marching now, we’re anti-marchers, indoor resisters, disobedient to Trump’s dangerous and crazed orders. He and his minions can verbally bang on our doors and yell “Open up! Get out without masks! Shop, eat, get your hair cut and your nails done and look pretty for us.”

We don’t. We ignore him. We stay in. We resist.

And we don’t have to risk our lives to do it. Seems like a winning strategy to me.

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How crazy is our world? G&S crazy

While I’ve been writing about Jo Rae Perkins, Trump, conspiracies, insanity, i.e., our current politics, I’ve been listening to Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers.”

I know a fine group of their operettas very well. I grew up with some of them and learned the rest when I became the volunteer prop person (I was called “prop girl” back in those incorrect days, although I was a teenager at the time, ergo still a “girl”) for Oberlin College’s Gilbert & Sullivan summer program at Highfield, an exquisite small theater in Falmouth, Cape Cod, on the top of a hill overlooking Nantucket Sound.

I still remember the number of seats in the auditorium. Three-hundred and six. And I can still sing through a number of patter-song verses. Not all, but some.

Anyway. I know G&S so well that when a young woman in the chorus sprained her ankle and thus could not do the classic G&S shuffle in “Mikado,” I was able to fill in without a full rehearsal. Although someone had to teach me how to zap a fan.

Anyway. I am now listening to “Gondoliers” and trying to recall the plot. Which is by itself an experience.

G&S plots live on loopy entanglements. All sorts of characters turn out to be something other than what they purport to be. As I listen, I’m thinking, “OK, so this is one of their Someone Switched Infants At Birth So Someone Else Is A Prince Engaged At The Age Of Six Weeks To The Soprano But We Don’t Know Which One He Is plots.”

But wait. This twisty shtick shows up in “Mikado,” too, and in variations in “Pirates of Penzance.” And “Pinafore”. And “Ruddigore,” except the twist is that the hero is hiding out as a simple guy so he doesn’t have to assume his title of (Bad) Baronet and commit one crime a day or die. (It’s a curse, don’t worry about it.)

Well, that was fun. For me.

Here’s my epiphany: if you strip out the gorgeous music and satirical hilarity, and turn the whole thing upside down, we could be living in a G&S operetta. Everyone in the executive branch of government is the opposite of what he or she pretends to be and we need him/her to be and, in classic G&S characterization, is pretty dopey. Mike Pence. Every moment of the plot is bizarre — to be sure, more Grand Guignol than Gilbert. The pirates are not harmless dolts but actual pirates, stripping us of our treasure. Bill Barr stars as the Lord High Executioner and doubles as the Bad Baronet of Ruddigore.

I could go on but won’t. Except to suggest instead of listening to the news you listen to any of the great G&S operettas. Except for “Yeoman of the Guard,” every ending is happy for every character.

Let it be so for us.


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