I have been sick, more than a month now, pleurisy, a total drag especially for a stoic like me. I am too weak to do much, and it is absolutely tedious. I wonder whether the winter finally broke me and now I have some kind of chronic seasonal affective disorder, with pleuritic undertones (how I love my new adjective but loathe my new disease). This new normal is going to take a lot of getting used to.
I miss Occupy. There are some great things happening in London, voices are being heard, but I have been writing this play. A draft of the play is now in the hands of the producer, that most impressive of impresarios. So now I can heal and not write. Except those two occupations together are incompatible, now I have to write, absent a play I indulge in the blog, like a cigarette behind the movie house.
I find so much of what I read in the news unbearable. One point two billion pounds spent on a submarine (the UK? a submarine?) (I rest my case). Banks too big to be indicted, celebrities who did great harm when they were too big to be indicted - I'll tell you, when the news reports example after example of institutions or people (HSBC or J.S.) that were treated like kings while we are treated like dirt - stars who were treated like kings despite them breaking the law. It's all so poisonous.
We are asleep, we the people. We don't storm the town halls, we don't protect our interests: I don't think we are to blame, so busy we are with trying to provide for our families and keep the engines of capitalism running. In fact, I may be hte only person who thinks this but I think things get worse every year. I think the real burden of the Great Recession is the stress we all have had keeping things together, making less do when before we had more, it's in our bodies, it is in the number of emails we answer after 9:00 p.m., it is in the clenched abdominals haunting us when we wake up, it is about cancelled Christmas parties and rumors of layoffs and how are we supposed to take to the streets and demand a better world when Christmas is just around the corner?
Fear not. This is reputedly what the angel said to the shepherds, who were freaked out at all the supernatural goodness going off like fireworks in the starry sky. Fear not. That baby Jesus, what that baby brought into the world is available to anyone who follows him. They said he would be the Prince of Peace and if that is the case, then his followers are doing a terrible job. Practically everyone in the government in the United States claims to follow that baby, but they can't even make peace with their fellow Americans, let alone the rest of the world.
That baby grew up to be the nicest person ever, and he was great at last minute crunch entertaining, and extemporaneous speeches. Really good. The only thing that really pissed him off were the money changers. Crucify? No problem. Show up with money? Tons of wrath. I don't know why all of the followers of Jesus are all so loathe to consider this point.
I also don't know why all the followers of Jesus are trying to use the government to make other people - like gays and people who want a right to sovereignty over their bodies - into followers of Jesus. Jesus was very clear that this was NOT IT AT ALL. You cannot use the rule of law to force people to believe something. And no matter what they do, no matter what, your job is to love them. Even if they break your laws. Even if they break the law and go to jail. If you follow that baby, you are supposed to love the elderly, the shut-ins, the convicts the most of all. The homeless, the hated: there the treasure lies for those Jesus people.
Yet I see a way, I see it every day despite overwhelming rejection of the idea everywhere I turn - I see a way that the Jesus people and the Occupy people really want the same thing. They don't want money and advertisements, and commercial interests to rule our lives. They want art, education, virtue and spirituality to be foremost in their society. They want - or should want - war to end. This week: 1,200 million - 1.2 billion - way too much money - for a submarine the UK does not need. We were warned with the Iron Cross speech of Eisenhower. It is not too late to waltz with those ideas in Abilene.