Oh, Canada! (And don’t forget the sun lamp)

I got a phone call the other night from my friend, Hedrick. (Yes, a phone call. Hedrick is not an early adopter.)

“That’s it!” said Hedrick, “I’m moving to Canada.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The election! Didn’t you hear about the election?”

“Yes, I do vaguely remember hearing something about it.”

“I am not going to stay here with that man as president.”

“I seem to recall you also saying that in 1980 and 2004.”

“I mean it this time. I’m moving north.”

“Hedrick, you live in Florida. You bundle up in a parka if the temperature dips below 70 degrees. How are you going to survive Canada?”

“I’ve got a sun lamp. Mittens. I’ll build a fire.”

“You don’t know how to build a fire.”

“What do you mean? I was a Boy Scout…um..some time back. I bet I’ve still got my Boy Scout Handbook around here somewhere. ‘A Scout is trustworthy, friendly –‘”

“‘loyal, helpful,’ and so forth. Right. But do you know anything about Canada? Other than the climate, I mean.”

“I know a lot about Canada. I always watch the Winter Olympics. I just hope they don’t make me do that shuffleboard on ice with the brooms thing.”

“You might not be able to avoid it. I think curling is very popular there.”

“And I’ve seen ‘Strange Brew.’ Twice, I think.”

“So your knowledge of Canada is based on the Winter Olympics and the McKenzie Brothers. You’ll be real popular up there.”

“I can learn. I’m smart.”

“Yes, you are smart, Hedrick, and that’s why I hope you don’t move. We need you down here. Think about the people who won’t be able to move to Canada.”

“They don’t have sun lamps?”

“Hedrick, you and I are white. Male. Fairly well off. Donald Trump won’t be targeting us. The people who are most in danger from him are people who don’t have the resources to simply get up and move to Canada, or anywhere else. The poor. Immigrants. In many cases, members of racial and religious minorities. Obviously, women of all economic classes have to be wondering what the future holds for them with a sexual predator in the White House. Yes, some folks in these latter groups can afford to leave, and I wouldn’t blame them if they did, but dammit, this is as much their country as it is Trump’s. They shouldn’t feel forced to abandon it. We need to stand in solidarity with them. We’ll need to organize. And, now that I think of it, I seem to recall that you have great organizational skills.”

“I organized our company picnic last spring. Other than three different people bringing potato salad and two people hitting each other with croquet mallets, it was a big success.”

“There you go. That type of skill will be very important going forward. Though maybe we won’t ask you to organize croquet matches.”

“You might be right. I guess I just got pretty traumatized by the election.”

“I don’t blame you. When I saw on the computer that Trump had won I kinda freaked out, too.”

“See? That’s why I don’t have a computer. Well, I’ll think about what you said. Maybe I won’t move to Canada after all. But if I do still decide to move, may I stop by your house on my way north? Maybe I could practice building fires there.”

“Sorry. Wouldn’t work. I don’t have a fireplace.”



Oh, Canada! (And don’t forget the sun lamp)

Gotta Laugh?

Never forget: Tyrants hate ridicule. As long as we can laugh at them they know they don’t have us completely under their control. It’s hardly a surprise that the President-Elect, after using all of his daylight and evening hours attacking and belittling virtually every disadvantaged group in this country during his campaign, spent the wee hours of the morning hunched over his phone tweeting out insults to anyone who had the temerity to criticize or even laugh at him. They weren’t taking him seriously. They weren’t falling in line. They weren’t yet under his power.

Of course, the words and deeds of tyrants are rarely funny and are often horrific. But it is the nature of the tyrannical character, the ignorance, the insecurity, the paranoia, that is ludicrous and absurd. And tyrants themselves rarely have a sense of humor; or, if they do, it has become curdled and degraded. So humor turned against them is a force beyond their comprehension, and they are mystified in how to respond.

In general, ridicule is something to avoid. In the hands of a bully it can be devastating. But when used against a bully it becomes a method of defiance, a declaration of one’s humanity. As Voltaire said, “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.”

Gotta Laugh?

Roses of Texas

There are three late, great women of Texas who are heroes of mine: Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and Molly Ivins. As we begin life in these Disunited States of Trumpland, here are Molly’s marching orders:

 “Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”

Roses of Texas