Last month for my 50th birthday I got some great gifts, including an epiphany. It happened in Aspen, where even the poodles forget their masks and have to run back before they can go into Starbucks. My epiphany had to do with historic milestones and significant life lessons, and goddess knows there are plenty of teachable moments in Aspen, so it was fitting that I was back in the place where it all began (for me.)
For the better part of the last fifty years I thought the object of the game of life was to improve: humanity, the planet, etc. But watching all the foot traffic on the sidewalk I thought, what if that’s not the case? What if the purpose of life is for each of us to relearn the same lessons as those who came before… like a philosophical washing machine churning out the same lesson plan over and over. I mean really, what notion could I possibly come up with that Plato, Nietzsche, or Lily Tomlin have not already conceived? The whole point is to figure it out for myself.
With this realization, my perspective totally shifted; on the town I was born in, and the planet as a whole. I have spent years wishing for a collective conclusion in Aspen. A town-wide packing up and moving on, if you will. I’d like to overhear people say, “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” -Yogi Berra. But why waste my time wishing for the attraction to fade if everyone is here to figure it out for themselves? This theory is blowing my mind. Also, it explains why war never ends and human greed has no cap.
As long as we have been here, there have been those who will take advantage of a situation to gather more nuts and berries than they need. And sacrificing the well-being of others to stockpile more than one can possibly use is not even seen as a negative trait in today’s caveman circle-jerk of wrinkly old white guys sitting around, counting their guns. The hardest part for me to understand is why money should be the end all be all. Why not harmony with nature or a clear conscience or the perfect margarita?
You gotta admit, there is something to be said for that connection that occurs at a neighborhood Mexican restaurant when it’s someone’s birthday and the waitstaff stands around the table singing and clapping, other tables join in, and people genuinely smile at strangers. That is the place where I want to live. Not in a society where we are pitted against each other— actually killing each other in the streets, while a select few make more money than anyone needs, the talking heads who preach health and happiness are only paid to repeat the latest rhetoric, and QAnon puts in for overtime.
If, like me, you wonder what the Q stands for, there is a good article by Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic that shines a light on the ugly little beast behind the curtain.* Let me sum up; apparently someone with a high level of security clearance began posting messages to the masses as a gag, but when he realized that a lot of people were taking them seriously he backed off. Enter stage alt-right, Jim Watkins and his son, Ron, with their pockets wide open. These guys are like the Christian Taliban and there’s nothing they will balk at if it feeds the piggy bank. Basically, Q stands for quit being so naïve and follow the money.
There is nothing new happening here. Charlatans have been betting on people’s gullibility for centuries. And while there really are adults abusing children at pizza parties, what Q forgets to mention is that Trump attends those parties. By taking a nugget of truth and spinning it to make money, Q has shown their true colors. Pathetic and sad as it may be, we are simply in another rinse cycle of fascism. Like Mussolini and Franco before him, Trump must be here to learn the age-old lesson of just how hard we will fight to protect our life, liberty, and the pursuit of a spiced latte for generations to come.