“I feel like I’m having a civil war inside my head,” said my Wise Artist pal. “I’m so divided.” She had a secret she wished to share. Only the day before, she crossed the Rubicon. She re-registered as a Republican so she could cast her ballot for Trump in the upcoming primary.
“I want to light a firecracker under this country.”
On Sunday morning I was in Watts, at the CicLAvia. In liberal, cosmopolitan Los Angeles, very few white people joined us on the trek. As a veteran CicLAvian, I found the low attendance disloyal and unpatriotic.
If one wanted to see the full measure of the economic hollowing out of America, here was the place the Bernie people and the Trump people could agree upon.
Along the way, I encountered a white man with a broken arm and his hand on a bible, sitting at a table in front of a closed church, nodding significantly at the riders as they went past as though beckoning them toward something. Of what, I could only guess.
Later that night we were in Pasadena at an awards dinner for Mrs. UpintheValley, hosted by a lovely, gracious woman who lives in the kind of house which ignites bonfires of envy in the hearts of working-class guests from Van Nuys. And everyone at the table was lovely and gracious and prosperous. And the host mentioned a former student who is now Digital Media Director for Elizabeth Warren, and this elicited giddy approval, for what higher calling could there be? Practically an appointment to the secular Vatican itself. And wouldn’t it be delightful if Hillary picked Warren as a running mate? Trump has zero chance of winning, after all. For the moment we were all two degrees of separation from the Good People Who Really Matter and didn’t that make the demi-glace on the hanger steak all the tastier?
Then on Monday I am at an industry workshop at AFI, where an actress/writer I’ve known for years, tough and talented, a woman you’ve seen on TV plenty of times, is staging a work-in-progress which included a Donald Trump-esque speech about immigrants. Afterward, in the notes, people argued whether it was Sarah Palin or Trump himself speaking, then someone said it couldn’t possibly be Palin, because the character was utilizing multi-syllabic words, and thus beyond Palin’s speaking ability. In Los Feliz, people found this observation clever and uproarious. Mirth owned the room.
The next morning I drove to Home Depot in Panorama City to buy a tape measure and there were dozens of men crowding cars in the parking lot, leaning into windows, pleading for day work.
Later, I took Trixie for her evening constitutional and we passed an Ayn Rand-ian tableau of trucks in my neighborhood filled with scrap metal.
Around the corner, we encountered this gorgeous example of late post-war American industry, preserved in amber, right down to the whitewalls. It felt like another signpost. We are nearing the end of something.
The firecrackers are coming.