My general preference is to refrain from political discourse in this forum, since there's something decidedly Stalinist about commingling art with politics, but I feel the need to break that rule for just a second to express my bitter outrage, profound sadness, and complete lack of surprise at the events currently unfolding in this country.
It is a cloudy, mild Thursday with a chance of afternoon rain. I am sitting at my desk. Coffee buzzes pleasantly through my bloodstream. Birds chirp outside the window. The unmistakeable growl of a fleet of police helicopters circling above Mount Vernon Square permeates this otherwise tranquil landscape.
The verdict just came in this morning: the officer driving the police van in which Freddie Gray died was found not guilty of all charges. So now, the city erupts. Rightly so. Sirens scream, a metaphorical voice of blatant injustice once again falling on deaf ears. The jackhammery flapping of the whirlybirds drowns out the helpless cries of the real birds and the tweets of the indignant masses. Forty-five minutes away in the District of Columbia, the Senate has devolved into complete chaos as our lawmakers continue to shirk their duties by refusing to pass gun-control measures in the wake of the latest massacre du jour and fleeing the Capitol in the dead of night like the spineless cowards that they are.
I wish I could say that I was shocked and saddened by the events in Orlando, and by the Goodson verdict, and by the bullheaded refusal of the powers that be in our government to affect any sort of positive sociopolitical change, but the grim truth is that I have become so desensitized to this dystopian reality we live in that it's hard for me to feel much of anything anymore. Of course I am angry. But it is a quiet, simmering anger, and I am the frog in the pot, numb and dumb to the fact that I am being slowly boiled alive.
Or--since we are dabbling in bleak animal metaphors--I am the ostrich, burying my head in the sand of Chopin, Sartre, shopping, and Shaun T. I will continue to go about my daily routine as if everything around me were perfectly normal, and you know what? It is. This is the new normal, this chaos, this rage. My once youthful, politically active naivete has been displaced by a world-weary cynicism. As I see it, after the helicopter dust settles, it will be business as usual. Nothing will change. And if the rest of the country refuses to change, why should I?