Where to start?
I had to drive across country this week (do you really care about the bi-coastal details?) and it was an adventure that won’t leave me anytime soon.
I started on the West Coast. Picking up my car from the auto shop I met some friends for dinner and a screening of a new film “Crash”. It’s a furiously earnest film about the current state of affairs in America and it hit me square. I’m not saying the film is perfect by any means but if you think Cinema in America in 2005 is represented by Batman and a Pitt/Jolie combo, please get out of your Access-Hollywood coma and get your ass to the theater. This film will have you squirming in your seat and justly so. Check it out and write your own Diary, we cover so little about Art on this blog it’s shameful, about as pathetic as our governments interest in it, save for co-opting it into propaganda.
Denver was the place I headed for to see my cousins and their family. They are struggling to raise their two teenagers. Life is tough for them, my cousin has a part-time job in school daycare and her husband has been downsized from a large corporation beseiged by scandal and has now taken a 30% salary cut to work for the state of Colorado. Their oldest child has juvenile diabetes (she’s 16 year old and about 100 pounds) and they also have an extremely smart 13 year old son. They fight tooth and nail to figure out a way to raise their kids so they meet their potential.
Then I visited a friend who lives in the midwest and deals with divorce, slim job prospects and the ever threatening specter of bankruptcy hanging over his head. So much talent and so little opportunity and the results are more unrelenting stress.
After a night in Iowa after a 12 hour drive I checked in to a Holiday Inn with crappy Wi-Fi and fought to gain access to Dkos to see the left bashed in a particulary heinous left-bashing thread that saddens me to this moment, (Yes, I know Booman catches hell for this stuff but all of the glory comes with responsibility to stand for something and i hope partisanship is not all that this is about).
From there it was a 9 hour drive to Detroit to spend 2 days with a couple who are trying to navigate the tough road there. The auto industry (in which both of them work) is ailing for reasons both of them have no control over and they worry that when any kind of bubble bursts they will be on the front lines of the fallout. They have a mortgage that will come into an adjustable rate before long and they could be hung out to dry in the snap of a finger. They are the veritable canaries in the coalmine and it is never far from their thoughts.
My boyfriend joined me there an we drove into Ontario to head toward the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake. It was nice to get away from everything and relax for a day or two but it is unrealistic to think you can really get away. We took a boat toward the Falls and the Canadian boat guide asked us how many of us were Americans, right off the bat. As I looked around the boat I noticed the 30-plus patrons, and they also looked around. I saw people conflicted and look down. After a few beats a few people raised their hands warily. Then he asked how many people were Canadians and the hands shot up with no hesitation. Never have I felt that before as an American.
The hair on my neck stood straight-up as never before because it was a deep look into the mirror we so want to avoid. We are not as proud as we want to be because we are not what we desire to stand for. The chasm between the way we purport to be and our own actions has grown far deeper than we ever imagined it would be in our lifetime.
The toughest thing is that our journey into this chasm isn’t over yet. I wish with all my might, and fight with all my being that we will drop no further. We must try with everything we can to stand for something that will stand the test of time and be the rock our society so desperately needs. We must be the bedrock that the water can cascade over. The pressure is excruciating but we can bear this on our backs, just like those Falls i gazed at with profound admiration.
We can do this, with all our myriad thoughts and feelings, this goal can be accomplished if we just stay true to ourselves.