Existentially snowed in (February 19, 2003)

While those back East are snowed in, I’m here enjoying the decidedly balmier weather of Austin (barring the odd tornado in the area, the worst I can say is it’s been rather cool, cloudy and rainy but it sure beats digging your car out of three feet of the frosty stuff). There was actually about a half-inch of snow a couple of weeks ago here, but it was soon a memory and the folks were back to barbecuin’ and such. Austin is also a liberal enclave in a state full of ree-pub reptiles, though it’s getting harder to, as a popular local T-shirt has it, Keep Austin Weird. Me, in between pretending to ignore the news on TV, I’ve been attending to personal pursuits with the fiancee: going to a bridal expo (just think of it as performance art, folks), revising the guest list, having our engagement portrait taken, and yes, planning the honeymoon. My personal silly season, no apologies, forging the future, you know. And yet, the other stuff is right there, alongside the weather report.

So many good people (along with the usual few nutballs) [protested] literally across the world last weekend, and yet (and unsurprisingly) the arrogant powers that be profess to say no nevermind to any of the massive demos or the democracy in action. Over the past couple of weeks I have veered between despair and resurgent hope; Patti Smith can sing “people have the power” all she wants, and harangue her audience about the fact that “the government serves the people, the people don’t serve the (expletive deleted) government,” but I’ve had my doubts that anything I can do personally (sign this or that online petition, march on some state capitol or other) can stop the world from goin’ round as it has a tendency to do. More than once, I’ve had the feeling of been there, done that. Because that’s been the case. And yet, and yet…maybe every little puff of “no” on the wind helps to influence the currents…and the soul of this country really is worth fighting for, I think…not to mention all the other countries…don’t forget that people from 80 nations died in the WTC disaster, it’s not just an American concern.

As someone once said, you don’t have to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows…and, hey, how many times, how many times…

sigh

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