Going Gentle Into That Good Night

Having only two children, neither of whom was fathered by either Frank Sinatra or Woody Allen, I have never felt that I had much in common with famous actress, famous mother, famous wife, famous daughter, Mia Farrow.

But this week, this tweet, I feel it. I saw a meme that I cannot find (because as you will see, I am now old). But it said something like, Lefties be like: We want open borders, and to defund the police. Liberals be like: and then there was a picture of Mia Farrow’s tweet.

I so get it, all of it. I started this election season, way back when I was young, voting for Elizabeth Warren. I started out wanting so much more than another old white guy playing nice with the Republicans.

I’ve seen this photo a lot lately, too. It brings all the feels, those nice Bush women playing with the Obama children.

I see this picture of two little girls and three grown women being kind to them and long for the days of peaceful, clear transition of power. I long for it so hard that I have trouble remembering that Bush was a war criminal, that he showed a depraved indifference to life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. That he swift-boated John Kerry. John McCain is hailed as a Republican saint, a bastion of the old guard. I have to wonder how many people cooing at the Bush women playing with the first African-American daughters in the White House remember that in 2000 the Bush campaign created a push-poll campaign in South Carolina, asking primary voters how they felt about the fact that McCain had a black daughter, implying she was biological and not, as is true, adopted from Bangladesh. Have we all forgotten that he then stole the 2000 election.

If I try, I can remember all of the worry and anger I felt when Bush was president, before Michelle Obama gave him a cough drop and a hug. But, it’s vague, pushed to the back of my mind. It’s like the memories I have of dancing at bars that were open until 3:00 am, and then going to Howard Johnson’s for breakfast. I remember the feeling. I remember feeling the feeling, but I can’t actually feel it any more.

In the past four years we, as a country, have careened from crisis and scandal to crisis and scandal. I know the Bush years were bad. I know Joe Biden will not bring about lasting, needed change. I know that tomorrow, or next week, or both Donald Trump will say something horrible or do something horrible that continues to weaken our democracy and our country.

I know all of this. But I am tired. In the past nine months I have lost three loved ones. The school shootings, the scandals, the deaths, the virus, the school-from-home, my own cancer, the anxiety, my children’s anxiety, I am tired. In my heart of hearts I want more for our country, more for my children and my future grandchildren. I remember what it feels like to want that, but just like dancing until 3:00, I don’t feel it anymore. So, for now, I’m looking forward to the pictures of Champ and Major running on the White House lawn. I hope other people are not as tired as I am. I hope other people will continue to press, to want more and fight for more.


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