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  • Writer's pictureArlene Bozich

Preparing to Dance on Diane Feinstein & Mitch McConnell's Graves; An Obituary Warmup

The nice part about Time is that none of us can escape it. I know Benjamin Franklin was sure that both death and taxes were unavoidable, as seen in his 1789 letter to statesman Jean-Baptiste Le Roy when he said, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Benny Boy clearly never met Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or those other chodes that sold out our democracy to vampire-suck our money straight into their privatized bellies. Now we know that taxes are clearly bullshit that can be avoided with the right connections and a few bribes to certain people. But time, oh TIME- Time eats all of his children in the end.

What a relief.

Enter last week, when Senator Dianne Feinstein tried to give a speech in the middle of a Senate hearing vote and Senator Mitch McConnell froze so hard during a press conference that he’s been renamed “Glitch McConnell” (reminder that his first name is actually Addison and if he doesn’t like it he shouldn’t have been a transphobic prick during the course of his career and he can take a knee and suck my big ‘ol lady dick if he has a problem with me deadnaming him). To say that any real part of the populace is represented by our current government is hilarious. And, while we could argue about each hydra head of the beast individually and cut out more inane bullshit to argue over, I find it most productive to focus on the largest chasm in reality other than wealth in our government. Age.

See, the U.S. is ageist as hell, but it isn’t the youth to the elders or the elders to the youth in general. We’re ageists against the very idea of aging because it reminds us of the certainty of death. Kids need to grow up faster, teenagers need to act their age, adults are too old to understand, and the old, well, still exist. And while we live under rich, elder rule, you need to recognize that we abuse the rest of our elderly with the lack of proper support systems; our society does not treat the elderly citizens of the general populace that are dying here with any sort of respect. I worked in a nursing home as a teenager, I currently sleep in the room next door to my almost-90-year-old grandfather- I’ve been very, very aware of the toll time takes on all of us since I was young. Most of this disrespect stems from an absolute fear of death and the inability to accept that there’s a certain point as an adult when you have to transition to an emeritus role instead of continuing as a power player. Basically, there’s a time when Grandpa needs to hand over the keys to the car or the neighborhood kiddies will get mowed down. But the people in charge don’t want to look at death or acknowledge Time. They have ignored it, hoping they could find a loophole like they’ve done with their taxes. So, instead of creating a way for the elderly to still be part of the community and able to function, like Billy Joel sings about in his song Vienna, they just pretended that with enough creams and facelifts, they could buy their way out of aging, their Capitalist lord providing the final miracle of immortality.

Yeah, that clearly didn’t fucking work.

I actually hug trees when I feel sad enough. I go over, wrap my arms around, and I lean in. I look crazy, but I don’t mind. Because sometimes I think about trees rooted in the ground and I think about me and my friends all rooted into our time period and I just can’t help but cry. Time, or how living things experience change, shouldn’t feel like a trap. It’s life, it’s meant for living. But the people who structure our society cannot look at their reality without fear, so we all have to suffer from their enforced ignorance. I remember wrecking my ACL and getting surgery twice when I was in my 20s- I learned the harsh lesson of physical failure and being immobilized, infantilized by my own body. It’s a hell of a lesson to learn in your 20s and I am proud to say I took the note and have better mobility, flexibility, and stamina in my 30s than I have at almost any previous point in my life. But I was able to take the note because I had the time and resources to apply it. It’s a weird sort of luck, turning obstacles into opportunities like this. I’m watching some of my older theatre companions go through this realization process much later in their lives and my heart hurts knowing how harsh that lesson is, and how there’s not much they can do to meet these pains. People who have played my grandparents, parents, or aunts and uncles onstage, are finally beginning to feel the degradation physically and emotionally- some for the very first times in their long lives. Watching this slow process of realization, that they have to change the way they do things or their bodies will give out quickly is a harsh, unforgiving process.

I remember when I was injured and literally too tired to move so I used one of those grocery carts you can drive to navigate the store. Never mind that I had a cage around my leg; the amount of harsh looks from almost-vigilantes who clearly wanted to push me off because I didn’t look disabled enough for their taste was almost too much to bear. I only bought a cane and some Lidocaine on that trip; I wanted to get groceries, but the emotional exhaustion of onlooker animosity proved to be too much on that trip. This is what old people go through almost every day.

We are hostile to our older populace. We are angry about the holdovers they believe from the lies of the past, angry about the financial dividends that some of them reap just for buying a house in their 20’s and still being alive on the Earth, angry that they still get to vote on a future they will never see after their votes put the people in power who have and continue to wreak havoc on all of us. But what I’m offering to counter this rage is a celebration and a focus on the real villains- the Elders in Power.

See, the joy of knowing that I don’t have to wish death on either Feinstein or McConnell is giving me a modicum of peace. Kronos ate the gods and he’s coming for these motherfuckers too. I just have to kick back and revel in the process. The problem comes from the sentiment I hear echoed by a lot of people my age, that we can just wait til they all die and then do what we want. No. Elder rule is structurally in place. As long as we have politically-led life appointments and no term limits, there will always be some old fuckwad that just outlasted the group and has what they deem as ‘experience’ (instead of being honest and calling it what it really is; a list of sins and mistakes that they can’t seem to overcome and only add to with each political motion they take part in). I look at the fact that someone as deeply evil as Henry Kissinger is still alive. Presidents continue to call him for advice, even after his purposeful destruction of Laos. Focused genocide of an entire country on another level but hey- he’s experienced! As long as we prize experience over presence, we’ll always be ruled by our past.

So, how do you dance on the graves of people not yet dead, but so blind and scared they’ve managed to fuck up everything for everyone everywhere all at once? You get loud. And you call your ghosts. You blast Frank Zappa’s music, scream out lines from James Baldwin’s work, and cackle with one of the few people to truly understand and articulate age, the late and great Ursula K. LeGuin. You cut through the euphemisms with George Carlin- you dance on the graves of the best and brightest so they might wake up and give you strength in your voice to fight those who would kill us all without cause. Because these ghosts were our age and their age once. And they know too that the fear of death isn’t just the fear of the end; it’s the fear of being alone at the end. And be sure, these decrepit, power-hungry bastards have made it their mission to drag us all along to the grave with them. They want history to end with them. They want to control the final period of their legacy, on all our legacies. That’s what fear and purposeful blindness to reality do.

But we are never alone as long as we’re present.

I was talking to a friend recently and she’s scared. Scared for her family, scared for her bank account, scared she would lose her home or more than she’s already had to sell or leave just to survive, scared for everything…but also exhausted. So tired of being afraid. She just took a deep breath at one point and said, “Remember when we were in high school and there was a Middle Class? And they said to do everything we say and you’ll be able to afford a nice, decent life?”

Yes. I do. We, our parents and their parents and now us- we were all fucking lied to by Capitalists.

I look at the Hardhat Riot in 1970 and how the working class was lied to, was told that students and scientists and the educated were their enemies, how that moment of violence left unanswered gave the Republicucks the foothold they needed to split the labor movement and radicalize the most physically involved in building and moving our society. It took them away from the educated, who the Capitalists overburdened with loans and immoral debt. I look at the Rodney King riots that happened the month I was born, April 1992, and now how Los Angeles is still contending with gangs in the Sheriff’s Department. If the four officers who beat Rodney King to death had been truly brought to justice, if all of the invisible people the police had killed had gotten any sort of justice and if qualified immunity was abolished, maybe we could have stopped ghost skinning in our law enforcement before it took over. But the lies, the lies had to be violently enforced for Capitalism to function. By 2006, the FBI reported that white supremacists and ghost skins were: “the most dangerous, if not the most prolific, domestic terrorist threat to the country.” Because as long as Capitalism has the violence of white males shooting groups of people (because that is overwhelmingly the demographic that shoots up schools and other public places, as well as goes into policing and the military), and the federal government refuses to name White Supremacy as Terrorism, we will remain under Capitalism’s control, no matter who dies at the top of the hierarchy. Because the police have no obligation to “Protect & Serve”- it’s a marketing motto, like McD’s “We love to see you smile”. Like, you couldn’t sue McD’s if you weren’t organically smiling from their food. It’s just a pitch, a cute little lie in order to sell you food. The truth is, the police belong to whoever is paying the politicians. Because the politicians are paid by Corporations to make the rules, whether they make sense or not, and the police are paid and equipped to violently enforce the rules. That’s how this all functions, whether you like it or not. Truth hurts, doesn’t it? But that’s Capitalism for you. That’s why it has to lie so much- if you get a clear view of how it really functions, it’s obvious how bad it fucking sucks.

How our society should function is to nurture and listen to the ideas of youth in how we aim toward the future, practically meet the present & daily needs of adults, and get insight and knowledge from the elders. It’s a circle of life with different responsibilities at each turn, not a fucking pyramid scheme to be conquered. This overemphasis on experience and allowing people who are just the oldest to control things is why our society is crumbling; we don’t live in the same reality. The fact that we don’t have proper healthcare for U.S. citizens, but McConnell and Feinstein and all the rest in power get the best healthcare imaginable with our tax dollars enrages me. The way you get Congress to exist in present reality is to make them all subject to the same rules that they pass. Put them on minimum wage. Give them Medicaid. While they serve, they have to live in the lowest subsidized government housing. Give them what they’ve decided is the lowest bar of acceptability for the rest of us here, now, in the present moment. If we force the powerful into the present rather than relying on their past experiences to guide them, they will have no choice but to face reality and we’ll finally get a society worth living in. Because, as Baldwin screams from his own grave dance, nothing can be changed unless it is faced. And it’s time for all of us to face Time, by keeping it in our dance toward a better future. Kronos will get me too one day, so I better use what moments I have while I have them.

So, when the powerful elites finally have the decency to die, I’m going to dance. I’m going to read their obituaries out loud and make little scrapbook pages highlighting their sins and revel in the fact that I’ve outlasted them. I’m also going to brag about this scrapbook and show it to my friends, show them the empty spaces for the soon-to-be-joyously-gone, dance so wild and loud that those who quake at the fear of time have no choice but to see me, hear me, face me. And I hope you’ll dance with me. I hope we all become a flashmob of time, Ghosts of Christmas Futures all joyously celebrating our Ebenezers’ demise. Maybe, if they realize just how much better the world will be from their absence, they’ll take the note and adjust with the little time they have left. If Scrooge could do it, maybe Biden and the rest of these decrepit fucks can do it too.

One can only hope. And dance while we wait.


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