I can’t believe it’s been a year since you’ve gone. While you’ve been dead much has happened.
You got cremated. Part of you was scattered at sea per your request; a bit of you escaped into the wind at the beach, some is with your family and I have a tiny spoonful of you in a Ziploc next to my kitchen table. All that’s left is dust, memories and funny bone fragments: pure, powdered Mensch. The two-inch rose bush I bought the day you died, is now four feet tall and has produced several dozen roses.
Barack Obama is the next President of the United States! The entire country breathed a sigh of relief after an ugly political race. I was on stage at your alma mater, Cal State LA, when Obama won and bawled like a baby when I heard. After the rehearsal I went to a bar on Franklin and young people spilled out into the streets shouting victoriously; a woman, draped in an American flag, danced on the bar and strong Santa Ana winds bent palm trees sideways. Everyone called the weather that night: “the winds of change.” I remember you had your “Obama for President” poster up on your garage in late 2005. You were always ahead of the curve.
Proposition 8 that bans gay marriage in California, passed. Proposition 2 that protects farm animals, also passed. Californians now care more about the civil rights of chickens than the civil rights of two human beings in love. It was a fear driven campaign (led mostly by Mormon and Christian groups) and I realize now, if a person believes in a god and entry requirements to an after-life, they’ll spend their earthly days ensuring their admittance into the hereafter. What a pitiful way to spend ones time on earth!
The Iraq War marches on. As of today, 4201 American soldiers and Marines have died and 354 since you passed. In the words of Arthur Miller in After the Fall: “People do what they want to do…” It’s not that I’ve stopped my involvement in the peace movement; it just seems the majority of the American people, through distraction, fear, laziness or misinformation, approve of this war. Even though Vets for Peace and Iraq Vets Against the War rally forth with valiant efforts toward peace and justice; right now, folks can barely make their rent, let alone walk the halls of Washington demanding constitutional integrity. Oh yeah, did I mention we’re in a Recession?
The housing market tanked, a bunch of banks and creditors gave money they didn’t have, to people who didn’t have the means to re-pay it, the government printed more money they didn’t have, we spent over a trillion in Iraq, displaced 500,000 folks in Hurricane Katrina, incurred millions in damages and lived beyond our means for a good twenty years and what do you know? We’re flat broke. Our best shot is to claim Eco-Superiority by being the world leader in green technology. Suffice to say, President Obama has his work cut out for him. Or at least that’s what everybody keeps saying.
Today I went to get my flat tire repaired and explained to the salesman that even though I needed three tires I could only afford one because work had been slow.
“Maybe this new guy will help straighten all this out,” he said, rolling my tire toward the service bay.
“Maybe,” I said.
There are many days when I want someone else to come in and fix things, a world leader to wave a magic pen or a knight in shining armor to make it all better.
I’m relieved and elated that Barack Obama is our next President. He is a bright light with a level-headedness like no other candidate in my lifetime, but I don’t expect him to “fix America” or my flat tire. America doesn’t need to be fixed because it’s not broken. America is exactly where it wants to be; we chose this economy, this war, this President.
America is a beautiful, young, experiment; excelling in temperance and failing at free will and personal responsibility, but above all, America is a work in progress. And the people make this country truly extraordinary. And now, we the people, must get back to work.
Miss you my dear Mensch.
by April Fitzsimmons
Republished with permission from The Mad As Hell Club.
April Fitzsimmons (Woman of Mass Distraction) is a writer/actor/activist living in Los Angeles. After a brief stint in a Montana slammer she joined the Air Force at 17 and became an Intelligence Analyst during the Cold War. A visit to the National Security Agency changed her forever and she high-tailed out of the classified world with a bevy of no-good secrets and an honorable discharge and headed to Hollywood. She crewed several films and wrote a book called Breaking & Entering, about how to land your first job in Film Production. After 9/11 she joined Veterans for Peace and wrote a solo show called THE NEED TO KNOW that has run for six years in LA. You can see articles, essays and show times at her website: www.aprilfitzsimmons.com
Articles by April: