Well, I'm back. Went from a week in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico, where I saw millions of over-wintering monarch butterflies stirring to life in the spring sun and immediately having sex, to a week in the flatlands of southwest Florida, where I saw millions of over-wintering old white people doing pretty much the opposite.
The trouble with going away is coming back. The nation took another turn for the worse since I left and in my opinion there’s no excuse for having daylight savings time when there's 5 inches of new snow on the ground. It throws my circadian rhythms to the howling dogs of the night.
While I was away the nation entered a great discourse on race. That is, Obama gave a great speech on race, and the pundits loved it -- even as they rushed to point out that it won't make any difference, that he's pretty much screwed. And most Americans got into it about as deeply as Fox news would take them, which is sort of like picking the lint off a sweater vs. knitting one. As one Fox "news" entertainer asserted in a huff, arguing that Barack's comments insulted all white people, "I've read the whole sound bite!" More, you betcha.
The speech caused millions of evangelicals who have heard their highly partisan pastors blame the attacks of 9/11 on homosexuals and the librels who tolerate ‘em, and millions of Catholics who are disgusted with their bishopric’s decades-long cover-up of pedophile priests, to decamp from their churches, in contrast to the obdurate Barack Obama. See? Fox isn’t the only one who can make up the news.
Tempers flared on both campaigns, (the Dems' campaigns that is) forcing out staffers and surrogates alike. You blinked, you're out. Samantha Power took the first hit, then Jerimiah Wright, then Geraldine Ferraro. Bill Richardson weighed in for Obama, causing James Carville to become more venomous than ever, if that's possible. (Can any one imagine Carville and wife Mary Matalin actually -- making love? They've spawned two children, so apparently they do manage to copulate, but they’re just so nasty. Sorry, those orgiastic mariposas had an effect on me.)
Meanwhile, as we hit the 5th anniversary of the war that never should have been, and the 4000th American death, John McCain circles the globe touting the success of the surge, even if he's not sure who's training whom and where. When Joe Lieberman is the one whispering in John McCain's ear, you know we're in for 100 more years of war. And by the way, Iraq is McCain's area of expertise. Heard him on the economy lately? Well, no need, our president is on top of it, and the working stiffs on Main Street are bailing out the barons on Wall Street because the world’s not fair and god wanted it that way. The $300 check is in the mail, what’s your problem?
Thank god for the sorry diversion of Elliott Spitzer. And what is it he did, exactly, that his hired consort considered unsafe? See, you can think about this instead of watching the election slide into the malleable hand of John McCain. Instead of thinking about the dead and maimed Americans sent to Iraq in the name of a lie, or about the debt we're dumping onto our children, or the dry aquifers and parched Everglades of Florida, or the illegal logging of Michoacan’s forests, where those millions of monarchs mysteriously hang out from November through March.
Even better, think about those butterflies, now fluttering down by the millions from the fir trees, coursing along the arroyos and across open fields, silently landing on your hair and shoulders like fat orange snowflakes, finding mates, starting new lives, starting a journey north to somewhere they've never been, a place that only their distant offspring will ever reach. Now that’s something to think about.
(Photo of Monarchs clustered on stream bed, thanks to Max Lenfestey)