The whimsical side of me wants to argue that a place still holds for stories about kids, baseball, acorns, Seinfeld, and other childish pursuits. Nevertheless, all of us adults must reckon with the 200-pound orange-skinned stink bug that currently is thrashing about the highest office of the land. This essay will have at least one paragraph devoted to an adorable acorn story, I can assure you, but otherwise will focus on the dire state of national politics. I make these claims with great confidence because I am writing the essay in a different order than you are reading it.
The Jewish liturgy includes a prayer for the government. As I learned from a bit of research, the prayer arose at the behest of the prophet Jeremiah, and owes its logic to Jews being spread around the world without a country of their own. The modern version of the prayer can be traced back to the 1600s, when it was read, in English, on behalf of Oliver Cromwell. Paraphrased liberally, the prayer is “God bless the leaders of the country, may they be wise and compassionate, may they support freedom and the well-being of all peoples in our land,” and so on.
Last Monday we read the government prayer at Rosh Hashana services, where it passed without rabbinic commentary. However, I am guessing that everyone in the congregation was mulling over more or less the same thought, which is: No prayer is going to move the heart or mind of Donald Trump. Assuming that God is out there and has been paying attention, then I would wager that He washed His hands and shook His head in remorse and sadness a long time ago over this overgrown adolescent and miserable excuse for a human being, let alone world leader.
Fortunately, the prospects of de-toothing the guy seem as favorable as we could hope.
For the record, and on the odd chance that any of my readership is curious, I support the impeachment of the President. He should be impeached, convicted, dragged by his heels out of the White House if he won’t leave otherwise, and then prosecuted as a civilian for all of his high crimes and misdemeanors, although we can be lenient over the hairpiece.
God bless Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and especially the Whistleblower (who sounds like a marginal character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which my teenage son is a devoted follower and fan.)
Also for the record, I hereby announce my support for Elizabeth Warren for U.S. President in 2020. Why? Because I think she’s the least likely to wilt or back down or get tongue-tied in response to the full-bore onslaught of garbage and gibberish and taipan venom (look it up!) that Trump World will surely spew at their opponent until election day, and then beyond.
I see a lot of evidence that Elizabeth Warren is one tough mujer.
I am not at all sure how the United States remains a single nation. We certainly don’t seem to be a single people, although perhaps we never were. I had always assumed (or at least was taught, back in elementary school) that Americans were united in our belief in democracy, our ideals of freedom and justice, and our tolerance for our differences in culture and religion, which indeed should be celebrated. These days, I think we are bound together by the steel cables of capitalism, and not much else. Maybe the National Football League and the Interstate Highway System, but even they seem to be cracking from the strain of the times (figuratively for the former, literally for the latter.)
A friend of mine pointed out that Hillary Clinton testified before Congress in an 11-hour marathon session, answering various bogus questions about Benghazi. Her cooperation stands in sharp contrast to the current bunch of officials trying to squirm their way out of explaining their actions in an official forum. After the 2016 elections, Hillary said “Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Time now for the acorn story? We’ve got acorns all over the yard, and it’s not just us. It seems like every oak tree in Massachusetts went acorn-crazy this year; we’re seeing acorns everywhere, like tiny alien spores, except they fall from oak trees. My wife announced that she’s interested in making acorn flour, an activity that dates to the Native Americans, so I’ve commissioned the two-year-old to help me gather acorns, which we’ve been doing for the past two weeks or so. The project is both fulfilling and frustrating. With each acorn I scoop out of the grass or weeds, I feel like I’m garnering another little kernel of wealth, as if the produce was a nugget of gold or silver, just a little tarnished by the air and rain, and a little bruised by the landing. And it’s frustrating because….well, while Nathen thinks its great fun to gather acorns in a bucket, it’s even more fun to dump them onto the ground, and then step on them or throw them into the woods. When I can convince or cajole him into transporting the bucket to the porch and depositing their contents in the big hamper, that’s a major victory.
Exactly why is this the year of the acorn? That’s a good question. My romantic, indefensible explanation is that the oak trees recognize that their increased presence is needed in the world, and so have amped up the reproduction. I don’t really believe this notion, but for now I’m sticking with it.
My wife keeps finding deals at Aldi, the discount supermarket. The latest deal was a rug that displays an illustrated map of the United States, which she installed in Nathen’s room. He really likes it! I’ll ask him to find certain pictures on the map, which he accomplishes with a gleeful little yelp. We’ve got sheep in Oklahoma, a horse with rider in Texas, cows in Wisconsin and North Dakota, and a smiling Sun in Florida. Of course, the map struggles to do the Northeast properly, where the states are numerous and small. I’m not sure what they put in for Rhode Island. It looks like a quahog, but it could also be a tennis ball, or a rooster, or a rejected My Little Pony from the Hasbro factory.
This just in: Apparently, in private conversations, Mr. Trump has proposed lining his border wall with a moat, in which would reside snakes and/or alligators. The wall would also have spikes on top, which would serve to impale the bodies of any fool-hardy climbers who were lucky enough, presumably, to sneak by the fearsome reptiles. Goodness, wouldn’t this look great on the floor maps?
Only in America.