The country is in the grip of fear and anger, riven by class conflict, so we hear, though this is not so apparent on a spring day as you awaken to the sweet smell of earth and the old farmer DNA in you thinks, This is going to be a good year. Things are looking up at last.
Unreasonable optimism is what America was built on, people, and April is around the corner, the song of the meadowlark is heard in the northern latitudes. Baseball will soon head north. My grandson is eagerly learning Chinese. Tell me about injustice and I hear you, meanwhile the world is alive with possibility. That's not a liberal or a conservative position, it's your old father talking.
I was at a friend's party on Sunday among a good many Bernie buttons -- Enough Is Enough, On the Journey with Bernie, Feel the Bern, Sanders -- Not For Sale, Bernie for Single Payer Health Care -- I held my tongue. Single-payer??? We passed that town hours ago. But they were Berning hot for their man. At last, they'd found a cult they really could believe in. That's nice for them.
Last year, I stopped in Lubbock to visit the grave of Buddy Holly and see a prairie dog village and a collection of a hundred old windmills and had a plate of biscuits and gravy at the Red Zone Cafe. A man who looked like he worked outdoors for a living came over and we had a talk that went like this: -- You're not from here, are you. No, sir, I'm from Minnesota. I am guessing that you are a liberal Democrat. That was a good guess, sir. Well, I'm not but my son is marrying one and I was going to get your advice on that because he told me last night that she is expecting a baby. My advice, sir, is to be kind even if it kills you and if the subject of politics comes up, count to 10. That's sort of what I was thinking too.
When I stopped in Lubbock, I knew where I was. The city went 69 percent for Mitt Romney, 28 percent for Barack Obama. But I don't feel like an alien there. I admire old windmills, I'm curious about prairie dogs, and I'm a fan of Buddy Holly. To me, he does not fade away. And I feel enriched by biscuits and gravy. I do not let nutritionists run my life.
My Bernie friends and I are not blue-collar workers, we're writers and artists and musicians. We did scut work in our youth and didn't care to make a career of it, repetitious labor under close supervision with mickeymouse rules, so we went off in the direction of our dreams, as Thoreau suggested, and became songwriters, potters, documentary filmmakers, an adventure that America does smile upon. But life in the arts is perilous.
I used to do avant-garde dance
With a blowtorch, blue paint, and no pants,
Which some people guessed
Was genius and the rest
Left quickly when given the chance.
I am wary of people who fix on one source of our troubles -- Wall Street, the Chinese, a lack of kelp in the diet -- and they can't tell you enough about it. My Bernie friends are true believers. Cool. If I were in a bar in Burlington and a grumpy old man in a rumpled suit stood up and harangued us about the banks and free college tuition and single-payer and the corruption of the political system, I would cheer and buy him a beer. But I don't want a crusading revival preacher for a president.
The choices, at this point, are extremely limited. Some Bernie women wish Elizabeth Warren were running. She's not. There is a disaster who is in the race, though, and he's done well against divided opposition.
Come summer, the pluribus will need to unite.