When I was a columnist in North Carolina every New Year’s Eve I would throw a par-tee! My house and back yard became known far and wide for this and a spring bash.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Food, booze, bands, strippers and other grand stuff. Hundreds of friends, journalists, politicians and fellow wanna-be-athletes and musicians would show up. Even some of my exes. It would go on all night and the next day. And then some.
And when the last hung-over straggler would finally stagger his or her way out into the glaring light and blooming camellias of Raleigh I was left with the New Year but the same old mess. Rugs had to be cleaned. Stained sheets had to be tossed. Walls painted. Floors mopped. Toilets scrubbed. Pots and pans scoured. Paternity tests taken. And trash by the supertanker had to be carted out.
It took weeks.
Damn! What a mess! But I loved it. Now that was revelry.
But isn’t that the way it is with parties?
Meanwhile, the Republicans and Democrats recently had their big parties – the GOP in Cleveland and the Dems right here in my home town of Philadelphia. And after the festivities we still have the same old mess.
Lies were spouted. Deceit was delivered. The homeless still abound. Wages aren’t keeping up with inflation. Our infrastructure of roads and bridges are still in disrepair. Taxes are oppressive. Jobs are still fleeing. Veterans still wander. Schools are still failing. Cities with few factories still survive on fines and penalties. Wars and killings still flourish. Justice isn’t delivered. Politicians still steal. Bankers still foreclose… And I don’t even want to talk about our venal, vapid, vile lawyers…
And now we come to the Olympics. And what a bash. In Rio. Where every color is represented… and that is just in the drinking water.
But their President is still under impeachment. At least 40 of the country’s top Brazilian legislators still face indictment. The state of Rio is still bankrupt. And the folks in the ‘favelas’, the sprawling slums and surrounding shantytowns of the “Marvelous City” where even police are afraid to go and face the drug lords and baby-faced killers, are left to wonder why they weren’t invited.
But what a par-tee!
And a week from now it will still be the same old mess.
So I ask you a rhetorical question: Why isn’t it that the same effort and money and intensity and organization that go into these bashes go instead into cleaning up these messes? We’re talking about billions and billions of dollars here. Look at the alleged $60 billion that Putin spent on ‘creating’ Sochi.
Like I said… I was being allegorical.
We all know the answer: Because there ain’t no quick money in it. Or enough money. And it ain’t no par-tee! It would require long, hard work. Ernest efforts. And no tap-dancing around the sagging cake and melting ice cream.
And that’s pretty much the world we live in. Politicians give themselves raises, but vote against raising the minimum wage. It would require a miracle. And I’m not talking about any ‘miracle on ice’ where USA college ice-hockey players beat the veteran Russian national team at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. (And, by the way, I was there.)
But a real miracle. Where everybody voted. And voted the bums out. And keep voting them out until we get – perhaps not what we want – but what we need.
Did I say ‘everybody voted’?
Ain’t gonna happen. Not a chance… About as much a chance as the Russian oligarchy admitting it aided and abetted a scheme for doping athletes.
Life is life. And we are ALL at fault. We all speed by the ghettos and tsk-tsk. And tune into the party of football, booty and mountain fresh beer.
But so it goes.
Look, I obviously have nothing against partying. And I love the Olympics. I love watching the fabulous Chinese synchronized divers. And the muscular USA female gymnasts whup the slim, petite also-rans. And the tall, bikini-clad beauties slugging volley balls. And Michael Phelps kicking the shit out of the old-age rap. And the best is yet to come.
But when the spotlights dim. And the TV cameras go away. And the warm and fuzzy commercial sponsors take their billboards elsewhere. And a few of the athletes go on to capitalize on their fortunes… Then what? Vacant stadiums. Echoes of past glories. Today’s misery and mayhem becomes tomorrow headlines. Once again.
I guess we just can’t help ourselves. As that Jewish carpenter uttered upon the cross: We know not what we do. And all we seemingly continue to do is exploit someone else’s misfortune. Or, for the most part ignore them. After all, we’ve got our own bills to pay.
Perhaps the solutions are just beyond our human nature. You know, somewhere in stars, as the ancient philosophers and scholars always thought. And, by coincidence I happened to be reading recently about these California astronomers, with Ph.D’s and all, who have spent their industrious lives searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. In other words they look for aliens. They’ve long had an institute and are dead serious.
At one time my cynical nature would have simply dismissed them and their fantasy as dubious. But now I can only hope they actually do find something, somewhere with the intelligence to clean up our messes – and not merely shrug like us.
In the meantime just remember that not all is as you’ve been taught, not all is as it seems, and not everything that those in positions of power, authority, or influence tell you is true.
No matter what party they’re throwing.
Keep that in mind when you vote in November. Or don’t.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…