Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

 

America will never be destroyed from the outside - MeetAmerica

A friend of mine once opined, “God blesses America so we don’t have to,” 

There’s only one place in the world like us. And I know you’re probably saying “Thank God for that”, and with good reason considering the current box-score for the home team. But this isn’t an apology piece for the wayward sons and daughters of democracy, since I think apologies have been relegated to packing peanuts. Nor is it a call to glory, in which I drape myself in red velvet, whitewall tires and blueberry pie. 

Yes, the weather forecast isn’t great, but we’ve navigated some pretty rough terrain over the last couple hundred years and somehow we’re still kicking. We can’t behave as if we’re impervious to the idea that our empire’s cracks are showing but we can’t pretend this all happened in a vacuum either. You can wonder aloud as to what Trump voters were thinking back in 2016, but make sure you save some of that indignance for the four in ten eligible voters (Yes, mostly democrats) who chose not to vote at all back then. And that’s the sticky part of the label, isn’t it? We’re really good at passing the blame but when it comes to sharing in it? Not so much. 

Funny Quotes About America | StyleCaster

But I’m not coming here to bury America when I’d much rather celebrate the things I dig about the place. And yeah, okay . . maybe it’s pennies on the dollar’s worth but I’m not interested in a king’s ransom to begin with. 

In Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to old Hollywood, he draws on the guilty pleasures of living life in the contiguous fifty. From Brad Pitt’s muscle shirts to hippie chicks whose jean shorts provide you with a free show . . to boxed mac and cheese and drive in theaters. Sure, other places have the same stuff. But we’ve achieved Warhol status when it comes to transforming these staples into high art. It’s the blessing of our cursed existence that our American ‘might’ now exists in the form of food, technology and entertainment. 

But hey, art is passion . . and it proves we still have a pulse. 

I love America and I hate it. Im torn... - Quote

 

A top 10 list of some of my favorite things about America? In no particular order? Sure, why not . . .

Ventura Highway– As classic rock songs go, it’s an all timer. And the band’s name is America. Need I say more?  

Michael J. Fox– No matter how many times Canada tries stealing him, every ’80’s sitcom lover knows the truth. 

Football– Where else can you root for grown men to hit each other whilst you wager on it . . . whilst eating an oversized hoagie . . . whilst sipping on an oversized beer . . . whilst ignoring your oversized gut . . . whilst bogarting the term ‘whilst’ from the Brits? Hmm? Huh? Hmmm? 

Same day delivery!– Results may vary, so keep the receipt. 

Spray Cheese– Proof that we are God’s favorite children. Or his least favorite children. I can’t decide . . .

24 Hour Everything– You can get married, laid, divorced, fed, high and sobered up at any time of the day or night. 

Throwing peanut shells on the ground– In restaurants, ballparks and most public venues . . it’s a thing. Try doing that in Madrid, where the penalty is death by shooting squad. 

Black Friday– Leave it to Americans to come up with a holiday that involves maxing out your credit cards. The Romans would be like “You gluttonous whores!”. And we love it. 

The Grand Canyon– God created it so’s Evel Knievel could try and jump it. And speaking of . . .

Evel Knievel– He was Elvis on wheels. 

Anyways, I hope Frank doesn’t leave us. But if he does, I’ve got a grocery list ready for the occasion. 

Care Package for Frank

Twinkies
Yoo-hoo
Foot long hot dogs wrapped in bacon and deep fried (with Cheez Wiz on the side)
Alka Seltzer

Okay, so everything in my care package is food. Sue me. Which is such an American thing to say . . because we say it all the time, and we do it even more often than that. 

america-humor-demotivational-posters-1325515039 | Frank C Bishop

Imma close up shop with this thought. We’ve gone scorched earth on the idea of achieving a happy medium in this country, which is concerning, given the fact it’s how the system is supposed to run. That’s because we have a two party system in this country, and I’m not talking about democrats and republicans either. 

On the one hand you have the apologists: These folks believe we need to roll back every last misdeed, as if that was even humanly possible. I’m always amazed by their expectations of America, as if this country hasn’t been straightforward enough in how it handles its business. Our government has committed genocide, laid waste to entire cities and sprayed bacteria over an American city as part of a germ warfare test program. We’re no cupcake party.

And then you have the exceptionalists. It’s a word I just made up, because . . democracy. This group preaches American exceptionalism, which is disturbingly precarious language to anyone who’s reasonably familiar with fascism. They believe hubris is a constitutional right, division is a matter of course and opposition is treasonous. I’m always amazed by their expectations of America, because they behave as if citizenship is a get out of jail free card. 

Two parties, same short sighted mindset: Our ‘equal’ is better than yours. 

So yeah, we’re a long way from better. But we’re not done for, no matter what the oddsmakers are saying. Because if Biden can somehow pull out a victory in November and if a vaccine gets to market and delivers the results we pray it can and if Tom Brady ever starts acting his age . . well then maybe this latest chapter of our American nightmare will have proven to be little more than a shark attack story. We’ll shudder in the telling, we’ll carry the scars, but we’ll have turned the page. 

The founding fathers never said this shit was going to be easy. And as with any dysfunctional relationship, we’re the same as we’ve always been, only worse. But you’ve gotta admit, we’re a genuine page turner. 

Hey, it’s something. 

America 2020

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Many unemployed

Societal unrest due to social justice issues

Partisan divides running deep

People yelling to get their way

Families divided, and even severing family ties

Friendships strained enough to break

People choosing a news source delivering the narrative they want to hear

Strained relations with long-term international allies

Coronavirus amplifying differences

People cheering illness and death to mock the person

Too many racists in the population

A variety of means of voter suppression

Politics determining disaster assistance

Conspiracy theorists gaining public office

Yes – Keep America great

We shred junk mail with our name on it, but I wish I would have carefully saved more of this envelope. I understand why people want to come to America for a better life, but I also understand why someone would want to leave it behind. I can honestly say that it is on my mind, but I also understand the role of other factors in my decision. First, where to go is one thing, but in the age of COVID, who would let an American enter? Let alone a person in their 60s. I also realize that the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence – and when jumping the fence, landing in a bigger pile of crap is very possible. Second, I’m not alone – meaning it’s not just my decision. I’m married, and my wife’s 91-year-old father lives in our area. In other words, the decision is not solely mine – which means moving is very unlikely.

After the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, it took only a few hours from the news to run amuck. Long ago I stated that one thing worse than a Trump presidency is the millions of Trumpians remaining after his presidency. Believing in his brand is one thing, selling one’s soul to get something they want is another matter. Yes, I’m very much bothered.  Yes, moving is on my mind.

If only . . .

If is such a wickedly precarious word. If is an anomaly of diction in that it is neither here nor there, and yet it elicits a gamut of emotions. For this story, If is a heart wrenching tale of what might have been . . . if only.

If only he had waited. It wasn’t his style, to wait around. Not having known him, I can only hazard a guess this impatience came from having been born into royalty, where life was oftentimes lived inside a giant goldfish bowl for all the world to see. I can’t help wondering if sometimes the kid wished he could have been anyone other than himself. The whole world considered him silver spoon lucky; with all the looks and chances and girls. Perspective tells me his restless soul was desperately looking for his true north. All that money and family history, all those primo jobs and runway models made him a modern day Marco Polo, but it didn’t make him whole.

He’d just had his cast removed the day before. No doubt his ankle was talking back to him, and who’s to know if this compromised his ability to fly that little plane. The one thing that is certain is that the weather wasn’t doing him any favors that night. In the days after, his fellow pilots would mournfully remark at how the conditions were abysmal, and how John should have waited. It didn’t help that he got a late start since the girls were running late that evening. So instead of making the trip with the sun riding shotgun, he had to rely on his instruments. John hadn’t flown solo in a couple months, didn’t have an instrument rating and had precious few hours of night flying under his belt. Add to this the fact he had just upgraded to a Piper Saratoga and was still familiarizing himself with it. He turned down a flight instructor’s offer to accompany him and he decided against having Carolyn provide some navigational skills even though she had done it before. When you add it all up, John was playing with the fates that night. And Lord knows the fates hadn’t been kind to his family.

John was tired but giddy on the day of the flight. He’d taken in a Yankees game the night before, after which he went out with friends for drinks. He showed up to the offices wired. When asked about his final hours, many of his work pals talked about how he had roamed the hallways, making small talk and waiting for the day to be done so he could fly out of town with his wife and sister in law.

He wanted to be with family. The handsome man about town was more grounded than most outsiders ever knew, and family was everything to him. They afforded him a peace that had become increasingly difficult to find inside his stormy personal life. Things with Carolyn weren’t ideal, and the magazine had fallen on hard times. He probably saw the weekend as a respite, an opportunity to decompress and recharge his batteries.

John was big on keeping his promises. It was something he learned from his political lion of an uncle. It was something that had been ingrained in him by a strong mother who had experienced unbearable grief and who had come back stronger. Jacqueline raised her celebrity children to be human beings who understood the world around them and yearned to give back rather than simply take. John and Caroline were the offspring of a historical icon and a mother whose grace and strength ran through their veins.

He had promised his sister that he would serve as representative to their side of the family at his cousin’s wedding in Hyannis Port since she was vacationing with her own family and wouldn’t be able to make it. His first stop would be Martha’s Vineyard to drop off his sister in law, Lauren. It had been another promise, this one to his wife.

All those promises would be lost inside the miles when his Piper disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean. Network coverage of the search and rescue mission was a painfully desperate thing to witness, as shock turned to fear turned to horrible reality. When the news finally came down, I sobbed. It felt as if the fates had conspired to thieve a family seal once again. As the years passed and the world changed dramatically, I couldn’t help but wonder if this theft went deeper still.

If . . . John flew into Martha’s Vineyard the next morning on the advice of his fellow pilots, he would have found his career at a crossroads. There were rumors that John had been mulling a run for the New York senate seat in 2000. Maybe a long weekend with family would have convinced him to throw his hat in the ring. Win or lose, perhaps John would have found himself in the doing. And who knows from there?

This is to say nothing of what JFK Jr. might have accomplished in the wake of September 11th. He was the Prince of New York, and I can’t help but believe his activism would have been felt everywhere: from the halls of Congress to the other side of the world. Might the events of that day have spurred him into the biggest of big picture outlooks? Might he have come to understand what his legacy could mean inside the worst of times? 

If . . he had waited to fly out the next morning, maybe the Senator from New York would have thrown his hat in the ring in 2016. And maybe he would have scored the democratic nomination. And maybe he would have made the pompous and bombastic billionaire with the bad hair look small in three televised debates. 

If all that came to pass . . the political slogan could have read “Make America Believe in Camelot Again”

If only . . .

The following is part of the “If” Challenge 2018 that was constructed by the inimitable composer of all things humor and music at A Frank Angle. His blog is a righteous tilt, so go on over and give it a whirl.