The elephant in the room. The orange-haired elephant with the pussy-grabbing trunk. The orange-haired, semi-literate elephant with the 5th grade vocabulary, pussy-grabbing trunk and gold plated tusks. The orange-haired, ADD-afflicted, semi-literate elephant with the 5th grade vocabulary, pussy-grabbing trunk and gold plated tusks that Communists, Nazis, and Evangelicals revere as tool, prophet, and savior. You know the one. The elephant in the room. The elephant that he shot in Africa, had stuffed, and then put in the Trophy Room in Trump Tower, right next to the eerily lifelike wax figure of Hilary Clinton. Right after he cut off the gold-plated tusks and installed them as handles on a couple of “High Rollers Only” slot machines.
I’m a big fan. I must be, I’ve read over a billion and a half articles on him in the last 15 months. And I’m not the only one. Look, you’re reading an article on him right now! Clearly, we weren’t about to let him go. We needed him now, we’d drunk the Kool-Aid. Faced with the prospect of going back to the way things were, back to the everyday and the humdrum, we chose to keep watching the train wreck, and that meant the train wreck had to go on. Like Christopher Walken calling for more cow bell, we demanded more train wreck, more railway cars smashing into railway cars, more locomotives overturning, more screams, explosions and flying debris. And not just for seconds or minutes, not even for days or weeks, but for years. The Never Ending Train Wreck. With a Luck Dragon whose face looked strangely familiar, and whose mane glowed a golden-orange.
When something happens that’s never happened before, pay attention. So pay attention. Because something has happened that has never happened before. And I’m not talking about the Jonathan Swift fever dream that was the campaign. Because that’s no longer the point.
And many of us are missing the point. We’re still watching the train wreck. But like the pretty girl in the red sequined body suit that hands the magician his magic wand, that’s all misdirection and flimflam. That’s distracting us from the next . . . new . . . thing. We’ve elected a man-child to be President who has no coherent political philosophy and whose critical thinking skills in this area run no deeper than your average 9 year old. A man whose position on the issues are so fluid that David Duke thinks he’s going to make America white again while Ben Carson thinks he’s going to save the inner cities; American Nazis believe he’s going to bring back Hitler’s Golden Age of eugenics while conservative Christians think he’s going to outlaw abortion; blue collar workers think he’ll stick it to the elites while billionaires are pretty sure they’ll be getting some hefty tax cuts. The Republican establishment thinks they’ll control him while Rush Limbaugh listeners think he’s going to blow up the party. Both terrorists and neo-cons are ecstatic over his election, Russia and hardline anti-Communists see him as an ally, and sexual predators and female Evangelicals all think he's got their backs. His vice-President believes in ‘gay conversion’ therapy while Trump himself has made a point of supporting marriage equality and transgender rights.
With that kind of coalition, how could he lose? Now the question is who, if anyone, is right? What is he going to do? And what can we do about it?
Before anything else, we have to stop watching the train wreck. It’s a distraction. Getting the details on the latest outrage is like clicking on the next “You won’t believe what Jackie Kennedy looks like today!” link at the bottom of the page. (Hint: She looks like she’s been dead for 22 years.) It’s the equivalent of click bait: It’s a waste of your time and you’re just encouraging the behavior.
Instead, pay attention to how this is affecting the country, and how it affects you and your friends. Speculation at this point in time is worse than useless. You’ll waste your energies on ‘threats’ that never materialize, and miss the true danger until it’s too late to do anything about it. The same goes for expressing moral outrage over the latest questionable appointment or offhand comment. It may make us feel morally superior but the net effect is precisely zero. The rules have changed. If we don’t realize that and act accordingly, then we’re the ones who look outdated and irrelevant. (And it wouldn’t hurt us to engage in a little self-examination regarding what those rules we were trying to enforce, and ask ourselves why so much of the country has now swung completely in the opposite direction.)
Yes, we’re getting some sense of the direction we’re heading based on those appointments and statements. And the first indications aren’t positive, especially regarding foreign policy. But you don’t know what’s coming. No one does. (That includes him). It’s even possible he won’t be as bad as the last Bush. That’s a low bar, but beats expectations. Don’t be disappointed if that’s what happens, and we don’t get the police state scenario we’re tempted to look forward to.
Most of all, let’s get our heads straightened out. Stop catastrophizing. Rage, even clever rage, is impotent more often than not. Giving into fear loses the battle before it’s even started. Save your ammunition. Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes. Pay attention.
Since this is still a blog about Tulsa theatre, the next couple of posts are going to relate these recent tragic events to our little world. Guest writer Angela Mclaughlin is going to contribute thoughts and feelings, both reacting to these events and going forward, what we can do as a community. I like what she has to say, I think you will too. Coming soon.
Arts Alliance Tulsa
Green Room OK
Tulsa Little Theatre
Tulsa Weekly Roundup
Am. Theatre Co.
BA Community Playhouse
Clark Youth Theatre
G Rated Theatre
Midwestern Theater Co.
Muskogee Little Theatre
Owasso Comm. Theatre
Sand Springs Comm. Th.
Sapulpa Comm. Theatre
Tulsa Latino Theatre
Tulsa Project Theatre
Tulsa Rep. Musicals
Tulsa Spotlight Theatre