Thursday, February 2, 2012
Morning in America
"I have come to realize that I will not make a million dollars. I won't make a million dollars, Anthony…I just won't."
And so she began her speech as my retreat ignited. I'm sure much poured from the tininess of her mouth; her enlightened mind and grasp of life, though now I know to be poignant and thorough, then only threatening to me and my beliefs. Like the black heavy metal flashlight papá used to prove the absence of creatures in closets (marking the end of tall tales). The grasp of the cigarette between my middle and index finger only fused closer as she continued her rant.
My lower back, thin as my waist would ever be, pressed against her steel sink -painted in white and dressed with maroon cotton hand towels-, I sealed my sight on one of the pictures on her refrigerator door. She wore a black bikini and snug blue jeans. Her hair was long and curly and there was a lot of it, undoubtedly held by Aqua Net hair spray. It seems her generation helped push the economy out of that current correction through Aqua Net purchases alone. She smiled like she would be twenty-two forever. The birth of 1984 roared and so did her hunger for more. It was Morning in America then.
I think of her often now, especially during and after the Republican debates. She hated them, Republicans, with such fervor that it was easy to taunt her. All I had to do was express approval for NAFTA or Senator Dole, at the time campaigning for the presidency, and her breathing and heart rate would escalate. Uncle Jack and Uncle Patty, the O'Brien's from down the street, the Bobby's and the Joey's and the rest had changed their futures and altered their pasts through the ballot box. Carter was as responsible for the malaise as he was for the rain that year. Her Pennsylvania town had disappeared under the Morning mist.
Our votes reflect who we are not as people, nor individual voting units, but rather, they will always reflect a turning point in our lives, emanating from a fear or longing. In that respect we are all conservatives. We are all attempting to conserve a life built on that turning point. As a nation, as a collective; we are at a turning point again. We've been at one longer than I've been alive. We are all trying to conserve the American Dream. That Morning in America that spin doctors draped our hearts with is what we all want and desperately need.
The press is a circus as is often pointed out most loudly by John Stewart and the cast of The Daily Show, so to look to them for guidance or truth about which Republican candidate on that stage will conserve the nation as a Republic is like watching thirty clowns try to climb into a VW Beetle. Though entertaining a feat, the object of all climbing into that car is not happening. If she, that Pennsylvania lover, were to ask whom of the men on that stage I'd recommend to the Bobby's and O'Brien's, I'd tell her two things: One, a million dollars can’t by you the morning. Two, after the morning, comes the night.