And I Always Thought “Rapture” Meant Happiness…

If I were one of those Christians who believed in the Rapture, I have to admit it would be looking pretty imminent.

 Every time I think things can’t get any grimmer, they seem to: we’ve got global warming (yes, Mr. President, whether you think so or not—one aspect of that inconvenient thing called reality) melting the polar icecaps and threatening to inundate the coasts; more and more people are dying in Iraq, while the Iraqi “government of national unity” shows none of the characteristics of government or unity; the deficit is so big even my great-grandchildren won’t be able to pay it at this rate; Congress wants to round up all the immigrants (except for their grandparents, of course) and expel them; our shortsighted energy policies are getting ready to bite us in the you-know-where…and of course, all of these problems, and any others you can think of, are clearly the fault of the powerful, rich ho-mo-sexual (drool and sneer when you say that) lobby. (We’ve gotta do something about them queers, you know.)

 Sometimes, it really doesn’t seem worth getting out of bed in the mornings.

 I do try to look on the bright side. Honest. Okay, so the sea waters rise three feet—I always wanted to live by the ocean, and pretty soon, Indiana will have a beach! No oil? I always worry when my kids and grandkids drive, and pretty soon, they won’t be able to. What a relief! I don’t have to worry about war with China, because China obviously decided some time back to just buy America instead…..and now that they own all our debt, there’s no reason to invade. And the President assures us that things in Iraq are really just peachy—if the liberal media would just concentrate on covering school openings instead of suicide bombings, we’d all feel better.

 Okay—so I’m not too good at looking on the bright side.

 I would really love to live in the alternate universe that so many of our fellow-citizens evidently inhabit, but I can’t seem to summon up the will power to do that. I keep bumping into hard-working immigrants who just want a chance to make a better life for their kids, or gay neighbors who just want the same rights everyone else has, or people who just want the environment to be clean for their children to grow up in.  I keep encountering reality.

 A lawyer I worked with early in my career used to say that at the end of the day, everything boils down to one question: What should we do? I think that may be the question for our time.

 If you live in what some of us have taken to calling “the reality-based community,” what should you be doing? (Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you have decided against just drinking yourself into a stupor, screwing yourself to death, or finding a deserted tropical island somewhere.) What are the options available?

 I think we have to send a message to the people who are running things. That’s not just the people who hold political office; it’s also the people who pay the lobbyists who bribe the people who work for the people in office. I think we send our message two ways: first, by refusing to spend our dollars—to the extent possible—with those who support the current regime; and second, by working as hard as we can to vote out the current crop of officeholders.

 Is Company A refusing to fill prescriptions for the morning-after pill? Okay—but I don’t have to shop at Company A. Is Company B supporting homophobic candidates, advertising on Pat Robertson’s television network, or otherwise enabling the dark side? Fine, but they’ll do it without my patronage.

 Is the Republican leadership in Congress intent upon dictating my religion, my sex life, my procreation and the way I express my patriotism? Are they supporting a President who routinely and brazenly breaks America’s laws? Are they contemptuous of the very people they are pandering to? Then let’s do our damnedest to throw them out—so we can start cleaning up the mess they’ve made.

 Now that would cheer me up!