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After a day of inauguration coverage, it was a relief to go to Friday night services at my synagogue, and sing about love and peace and peoplehood, embracing minor keys and unresolved endings with my whole heart. Others raise their voices in protest, at marches, in violence, in artistry, in soaring speech. I sing.

“Spread a canopy of peace, a canopy of love, for everyone!”


Sing it, Butterfly!

The whole past year has been stressful, but in the background there was always the hope that things would get ironed out and government would recede in the national attention to third or fourth most covered topic, at least behind the Kardashians. Instead, we have the constant barrage of tweets that is Trumpiness, or should that be Trumpitude, or Trumptasia? Maybe you need to be on LSD to appreciate this particular era in United States politics.

The fact that newscasters find themselves speculating on where Trump is sitting when he does his middle of the night tweets, is alarming. They seem to have come to the conclusion that he has colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome, given the number of missives sent into the ether.

It feels like we’re living inside of a movie spoof, like the Airplane movies, or something by the Wayans brothers, and everyone’s keeping a straight face while they read their craziest lines of dialogue. A lot of people seem to be energized by all of this, ready to fight and make a stand, in whichever direction. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with writing friends who are adamant and active in their beliefs. My synagogue is humming with discussions and plans and sign up lists. But I feel lost in the chaos.

I feel like I need a whole new vocabulary to help me understand the ways the world is changing every day, words like, Trumpism, and Trumpification, are a place to start. When Trumpcare is created to replace Obamacare, maybe doctors will come up with a new drug, let’s call it Trumpium, a combination of Valium and Opium, to help us all manage the next few years. Trumptastic! Well, at least until impeachment, when I guess we’ll have to think of some new words to make out of “Pence.”

I still feel like hiding under the couch, with Cricket, or overeating with Butterfly (though I draw the line at eating kibble, for now).


Can you make room for me under the bed, Cricket?


Any pizza left, Butterfly?

I don’t feel empowered, or energized, or clear headed, except when I get a chance to sing:

“We are loved, loved, loved, by unending love, an unending love!”

For a few moments, while we were singing together on Friday night, I felt like everything might be okay.


You’re right, Cricket. Peanut butter helps too.


American Politics


Cricket would make a wonderful politician, in the current mold. She has tons to say and repeats it all day long with the same passion and outrage. I’d love to be able to harness that power for good, but she would like to use it to outlaw grooming and vet visits. No more bath time! Stay away from my eye goop! She would wear a Bernie for President Sticker, if he promised her she’d never again have to get her poopy butt washed.


“Help me, Bernie!”

Cricket’s only difficulty would be the length of the run up to the presidential elections in the United States. Her ideas of argument and persuasion are much faster. You make your spiel, and you get a no. You up the ante, you bark, cry, sing, bite, and you get a no again. You give it one more shot, but that’s it. You need your damn rest.






“That was exhausting.”

Watching the news recently, I’ve been wishing, often out loud and using bad words, that our country invested more time and energy in educating us in our history and our form of participatory democracy. My mother used to talk about taking civics class in high school, rather than social studies, and I never realized that she meant something completely different than the vague pass over American history that I’d been given.

Donald Trump says he loves the poorly educated – but why are there any poorly educated people in a country that supposedly has a free public education system through the secondary level? How can he be so glib about the failure of American education?

I resent that it took an endless run of young black men being shot by police for me to even hear about the modern history of black lives in America. Why weren’t lynchings in the South and Red Lining in the North part of my basic education? It’s not like I was protected from images of graphic violence in school – we studied the Old Testament in yeshiva every single day, for God’s sake! I was supposed to be okay with learning about rape and incest and beheadings and whole towns being shmiced by god, but I couldn’t be told about horrors that happened in my own country, in my own century?

We haven’t invested enough time in reinvestigating our history and coming up with ways to improve our democracy. Just imagine what we could accomplish as a society if we were already steeped in our full history before we even entered college. Imagine how many ideas our kids could generate for how to make our country a better place?

It also wouldn’t hurt to throw in a few lessons in empathy, here and there.

I think it’s interesting that so many presidents have pets, often dogs, and even the Clinton cat, way back when, but political candidates do not bring their dogs along with them on the road, or put them in commercials. Obama even had to wait until he was in the white house before he could get his daughters the puppy they’d been begging for. Would Jeb Bush have had better luck on the campaign trail if he’d, say, brought a chocolate lab up on to the stage with him? Maybe if Donald Trump had to carry a long-haired white cat in his arms, people would be able to see him more clearly for what he is.


(not my picture)

Butterfly would not make a good politician, because she wouldn’t last two seconds on the debate stage. As soon as the screaming and insults started, she would scamper off to hide behind a curtain. Like me.


“Is it over yet?”

The current election cycle reminds me of when we used to play Dodge Ball in elementary school. The whole class, boys and girls, would be split into two teams and given red kick-balls to throw at the other team. Some kids really seemed to enjoy taking aim at their classmates and hitting them with as much force as possible. They don’t allow this game at most elementary schools anymore, because it is too brutal, and too mean. But it would fit right in at the Republican presidential debates.

I still feel intimidated by people who are certain that they know what’s best. I am overwhelmed by the amount of confidence politicians must have, to talk constantly to crowds and reporters and believe that what they are saying is all useful and good. My social anxiety, though it is much better than it used to be, will never be down at politician levels.

And I have to wonder if just a little bit of self-doubt might be a good thing in a leader; just a little bit of room to question the heinous things that might come out of your mouth. Even Cricket knows when she’s gone too far.