It’s a Crappy Moment to Be An American
We live in interesting times, all right. But that doesn’t mean it’s any fun.
Yeah, I’m a snowflake. I care about people. Sue me. You got a problem with that?
Yeah, I’m pissed off Hillary lost, particularly to a candidate whose campaign manager was Vladimir Putin. You don’t like it, fuck you.
I read the comments section in stories and wonder what planet I’ve landed on. How could people believe anything that comes out of our President’s mouth? Oh that’s right, they don’t. They just love how much he pisses us liberals off. How crazy he drives those of us who insist on using truth and facts to drive discussion rather than simply some permutation of “EatityouidiotyoulostYOULOSTOK?soGETOVERITyouhearme?HAHAHAHA!!!”
The ALL-CAPS crowd is having their moment — which I wouldn’t mind except that, at the same time, the country is poised as a result to go completely to shit. They still don’t get it that Trump doesn’t care about them. Doesn’t care about you. Doesn’t care about me. Probably doesn’t really even care about Ivanka and Jared all that much. What he cares about is…well, I don’t even know. Do you?
Oh yeah. Twitter. He cares about Twitter. And making sure everyone does what he says and smiles while doing it.
Meanwhile — oh yeah — a country (ours) is now in the tiny hands of a teenager with ADD. And we’re all just supposed to be OK with that. “Just give him a chance!” they implore, as if they’re asking us to try some new oat cereal that just landed at the supermarket aisle.
Sorry. I already tried arsenic. It didn’t agree with me.
And speaking of agreement, there is going to be precious little of that between the divided halves of America for the foreseeable future. And I’m OK with that, particularly when the alternative is the endorsement of the worst single human being who has ever emerged in American public life. And I include serial killers on this list.
It isn’t even close to being simply about disagreeing with Trump’s “ideology” or “plan,” as I don’t believe he legitimately has one. His views extend only a matter of seconds or, at most, minutes. It’s the newest-shiny-object-in-my-face approach to governance. Oh yeah. Let’s do that. No wait, that’s not working. How about that? Or maybe this? Trump’s is a free-floating POV borne of simple expedience and convenience.
And meanwhile, every member of this “President’s” inner circle (and many on the outer circle as well) are dirty as hell, rife with Russian connections and ethical violations and corruption of any and all varieties. It’s impossible even to keep up. Just watching it and listening to it unfold daily is a harrowing adventure in itself.
But if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you know all of this already. Preach, meet choir. I get it. It’s just that I need you, choir mates, to retain what semblance of my sanity remains. Us liberal elites need to stick together.
The other thing we need is to feel that we’re doing something to make a difference, to fight this toxic President, to shone a light on it.
That’s why I decided to write a play.
After the election in November, I was as devastated by the fact our country was about to go to hell as everyone else in my circle. It produced an instant and severe funk. And then, after 36 hours without sleep and nourishment, I saw that President Obama had invited Trump to the Oval Office for a meeting — which seemed nearly as insane as the fact this unqualified monster had been elected in the first place.
The idea of the meeting, however, simultaneously fascinated me. To be a fly on the wall of that thing. What could they possibly have discussed, these two men who couldn’t possibly have less in common and couldn’t stand the sight of one another?
“That ought to be a play,” I said to my wife. “Someone’s gonna write that. That’s Greek tragedy.”
I sat on this for a week or so until realizing that I had to be the one to write it. The fact I’d never before written a play that had made it to a stage somehow wasn’t all that relevant to my mind when I sat down to do it. Something inside drove me to action. And in tandem with a longtime stage director named Lee Costello who specialized in turning amateurs into playwrights, I knocked out a rough draft of a script in some two weeks
The ultimate result was TRANSITION, a 75-minute, two-man presentation that had its world premiere on March 11 in Los Angeles and runs through April 16.
What I couldn’t know at the time I started this process was that it is indeed a process. Seasoned playwrights often require 8 months, 10 months, a year, even several years putting together a script worthy of getting up onto a stage.
But as a journalist, I lacked the patience for this more deliberate course. There was too much going down in the country in the wake of Trump’s victory and inauguration to dawdle. I heard a clock ticking over my shoulder that whispered, “Hurry up. This thing could soon be irrelevant. Quickly, quickly!”
We opened precisely four months after the meeting itself — literally 3 ½ months from page to stage. This was all the more miraculous considering that the chaos of the early weeks of the Trump Presidency drove me to revise the script pretty much daily for nearly a month — complicated by the fact the story was supposed to be frozen on November 10, 2016.
Writing and staging the play made me feel better. Briefly. Unfortunately, real life has again intervened. I sit here dreading what’s just up ahead — the filibustering of a conservative new Supreme Court justice, followed by rules changes that will get him confirmed anyway. The imminent destruction of our environment, our public schools, our tenuous health care system, our democracy itself.
How could this have happened? The unchecked power of this clueless, narcissistic, demagogic bully. The triumph of evil itself. I still can’t even fathom it. If that makes me a snowflake, sign me up.