OK, I know I said I wasn't going to write about politics for awhile... but, wow, things got weird this weekend. The CIA doesn't just leak. Senator's aides don't just start calling out the New York Times for leaving things their boss said in on the record interviews out of stories, not even when their boss is retiring. I have no idea what is actually going on, and I have no hope of knowing what is actually going on until more information is released, so I've decided that I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope for the best and stop trying to figure it out.
I am, however, going to be contacting my representatives this week to voice my support for the idea of a bipartisan commission to investigate Russian influence in our election.
Before all hell broke loose on Friday night, I had decided that I was going to focus on voting rights. I was going to research ways to help protect voting rights and to help mitigate the bad voter ID laws that are getting passed. I'll still use money to mitigate other bad effects of this election, but I think that where I want to put time as well as money is in voting rights. I believe in this issue as a little-d democrat and I believe this is a crucial issue for big-D Democrats. It will be harder to win elections if portions of our voters are disenfranchised.
I suspect this will still be my plan once whatever is happening now plays out, but since I have no idea what is happening now, I can't be sure. I'll just wait and see. And call my representatives. And maybe also send some thank you notes to the Republicans also calling for an investigation. May that list grow.
Other than not knowing what is happening to my country and still having the lingering after-effects of a cold, I had a pretty nice weekend. Two events in particular stood out.
First: We went to a birthday party for Petunia's best friend from her day care days, who Petunia still considers her best friend, even though she lives in LA now (but visits often, because some of her family still lives here). This little girl is one of the people I worry about after this election. I'm good friends with her mom, too, and this party was our first chance to catch up since the election. Her mom is worried, too. She is probably at the same state of "should we leave?" thinking as I am, but with a bit more urgency and a less obvious place to go to. We talked a bit about some of the things that have already come up for them, both good and bad. That conversation both broke my heart and healed me a bit.
And seeing Petunia hanging out with her BFF again definitely healed me a bit. Also, the party was at Chuck E. Cheese and the range of parties in that party room was like a postcard of diverse America, and that made me smile. Chuck E. Cheese, bringing all sorts of Americans together to eat so-so pizza and try to win crappy prizes. (Seriously, the prize Petunia "bought" with her hard won tickets broke before the end of the day.)
Second: Pumpkin, my sister, and I went to the symphony today. We'd booked our tickets ages ago, before the election. It was my sister's idea, because Beethoven's 9th was on the program and she loves Ode to Joy. I'm always up to see Beethoven played. He is my favorite composer. I've played a lot of his works, but I've never played the 9th. My favorite of his symphonies is the 5th: I've played it half a dozen times now, and the transition between the third and the fourth movements still gives me goosebumps to play or even listen to.
But anyway, today it was the 9th. I associate that symphony strongly with the fall of the Berlin Wall, because my favorite of the recordings I have of it is the one in which Leonard Bernstein conducted a multi-national orchestra right after the wall feel, in a concert in which "Ode to Joy" was changed to "Ode to Freedom." I thought it was an outdoor concert, but I dug up the reports of the concert from the time, and I was wrong.
The concert was around Christmas time, 1989. I was a senior in high school. The wall had fallen on November 9, 1989. Watching the wall fall on the nightly news (because we all still watched the nightly news) was amazing. We were so hopeful.
I grew up under the cloud of the Cold War, but after it had settled into something sort of predictable. We worried about nuclear war, but not in an urgent way, like I imagine people might have done around the time of the Bay of Pigs. By the time I was old enough to follow events, the worry was a background hum. We never really forgot about it. There were pop songs about it, after all. It colored every foreign policy action. And every once and awhile, something would flare up, and the background hum would get louder and you'd worry a little more.
And then the wall came down, and the world changed, and after awhile, the background hum went away, or at least got so quiet that you had to purposely tune in to hear it.
Now, that hum is back, but it is louder and more unstable, presumably because this new Cold War, or whatever it is we're in, hasn't settled into anything predictable yet.
So anyway, all of that was in the back of my mind as I listened to Beethoven's glorious music. I wanted something different for my kids, and maybe we'll still manage to salvage that. I don't know. In the meantime, I guess I could do worse than listening to Beethoven and holding on to the spark of the glory that humankind is capable of.