Round Trip

My first piece of published creative nonfiction is at Six Hens!

“It’s 1976. I am thirteen, a Jew, and by that I mean a traitor of the Motherland. We are ejected from our home; the Iron Curtain slams shut behind us. In that moment, the possibility of a return to Odessa, to my deep ancestral roots, doesn’t exist. Over time, that closed door becomes such a habit that, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it doesn’t occur to me to visit. And then a business trip to Istanbul, a relative stone’s throw away from Odessa, in June of 2011, brings the possibility. Coincidentally, it was almost exactly a year after my father’s death.” – See more at: http://sixhens.com/issues/3/round_trip.php#sthash.DTpqmvDP.dpuf

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United States out of Control

Can we even articulate what it is we disagree about? If I asked you whether you were for or against scores of innocents dying, what would you say? If you said “for,” the answer would be clear. But my guess is that you would say, “of course, against, what are you crazy”? So on that we agree. What if I asked you whether you were for or against women having autonomy over their persons? What would you say? If you said against, the discussion would be closed. Chances are you would say “for.” So we agree on that too.

We share these fundamental values. It’s the details that get us, the devil that is always playing with us, waltzing us into that uncharted territory of high emotion.

What if we truly spoke to each other as if we believed, as if we were interested? What if we filed away our handy-dandy answers and really listened? I know, I am a funny person to preach this, but I have been watching our discourse spiral into the psychotic over the last thirty years (thank you, Karl Rove), and it doesn’t make any sense to me any more. I need a reboot, for us to just shut up and listen. And see each other.

The tail has been wagging the dog — politicians, corporations, media, all rousing the susceptible masses to turn against each other, to reap profits from dissent. This is a dangerous game, a locomotive barreling toward an abyss. It is already out of control — didn’t the Republican Party think it could control its members? Look what happened with the Tea Party. There is no control. At this point it’s chaos. The only reason this continues is that the oligarchs are still able to monetize acrimony. They think they are pulling the strings, and once their assets (and asses) are on the line, they can make it stop. They can’t. Only enlightened courageous leadership can, if anything. Where is that enlightened courageous leader?

I don’t blame anyone for not stepping up. Who wants to get burned by a bunch of torches on one side and speared by a bunch of pitchforks on the other? Maybe Jesus was willing, but a leader like that comes once every, what, few millennia? We made the mess, and we either need to clean it up or continue to watch this catastrophe unfold toward its inevitable end. Maybe the second coming is just a person stepping up, any person who can.