IS GOD A REPUBLICAN?

Yesterday, I got out of bed. I felt like I was on my knees like I had been bludgeoned, not by my own itty-bitty personal life, but by the world, by what is happening right now in our country, culminating in — at the moment until something even more horrendous happens — the obscene rush of Trump and his henchpeople to choose a replacement for just deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Overwhelmed, beaten-down, vanquished. terrified.

I dragged myself to the kitchen where I immediately whacked my head on a cabinet door.

I had a very strong desire at that moment to call it a day and go back to bed, but I remembered the wise words of Chita Rivera, the actress who originated the role of Anita in WEST SIDE STORY:

KEEP MOVING!

Rivera said this in an interview when she was making a comeback after years in obscurity. The interviewer asked her if she had any advice to give others in show biz who experienced a similar plunge in their careers, and she said:

KEEP MOVING!

I read that interview many years ago, and those words made a big impression on me. It seemed like profoundly good advice. And simple, easy to remember. Just two words. So I followed it, although I was exhausted from hardly sleeping the last two nights because of being so worried… you know, about about … you know.

In my last blog, I urged us all not to panic, to practice Radical Acceptance. But somehow that doesn’t work for me once I’m in bed.

No, Radical Acceptance wasn’t working yesterday, but KEEP MOVING was. I fumbled through preparing the pups’ breakfast, then invited them to leave their California King Poodle Bed for a bit of nourishment.

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I tried to avoid open cupboard doors and other sharp objects at head height.

I reminded myself not to shuffle as I dragged myself around, as that increases the likelihood of tripping.

I did the dishes left over from a happier time, the night before.

I cleaned up the dogshit.

I cut back the vine that threatens to consume the entire garden and house.

And as I was KEEPING MOVING, trying to avoid either banging my head or shuffling my feet, I began to wonder:

IS GOD A REPUBLICAN?

I am using here “Republican” as a synonym for “evil.”

Now, the Holocaust proved once and for all that there is no all-powerful benevolent god who intervenes in worldly affairs for the benefit of humanity.

Because if there were such a kindly deity, certainly s/he would have caused at least one little earthquake to disrupt the train tracks to Auschwitz. And would it have been too much to ask for a gigantic earthquake affecting Auschwitz itself? That would have been a nice thing, God! Your reputation would be in much better shape today if you had done that!

In fact, after five years of researching the Holocaust for the play I was writing, did I come across ONE INSTANCE of a natural event that Jews could describe as God intervening on their behalf? NEVER! NOT ONE!

And WE’RE the ones who discovered this goddam monotheistic God! Nobody would even KNOW about him/her/it if it hadn’t been for the JEWS! So if this god is so nice, he/she/it would CERTAINLY have helped US before ANYONE! Right?

It just gripes my ass when someone says, “The surgeons operated for five hours, and she recovered! God saved her life!” If I was a surgeon, that would really piss me off. I mean, I’m NOT a surgeon, and it pisses ME off. It offends my sense of reason. If I was a surgeon, I would say, “If GOD did it, then HE should repay all that money I borrowed to go to medical school, not ME!”

So no benevolent god. Not happening. The jury is no longer out on this one.

But what about an EVIL god? Of course I know there is no god one way or the other, but how to explain this really rotten lucky our side is having?

EXHIBIT ONE: If Ruth Bader Ginsburg lasted this long, couldn’t God have let her live two more more months, until Trump & Company got their asses kicked?

EXHIBIT TWO: The pandemic. Okay, I know some kind of pandemic was inevitable. The experts have been saying that for a long time. But did it really have to happen on TRUMP’S WATCH? Why couldn’t it have happened when OBAMA was President? Can you imagine how different that would have been? Calmness, reason, organization, everyone wearing a mask as a patriotic act, tens of thousands of lives saved. Of maybe it could have been delayed until BIDEN was in office. Hopefully, there are just four years of Trumpian insanity in world history. Why also a pandemic coinciding?

Starting to look like suspicious timing, eh?

And then:

EXHIBIT THREE: A lightning storm in CALIFORNIA??? I’m sorry. I’m a native and I don’t remember one of those. There are very few THUNDER storms at all in California. I remember once, when I was a kid and my parents were gone, Nancy and I were so frightened by the phenomenon of an ordinary thunderstorm that I decided we should drag our mattresses into the hall, so we wouldn’t be struck by lightning coming in a window.

This is how weather works: LIGHTNING is followed by THUNDER is followed by RAIN, which puts out any possible fires the LIGHTNING has started. And this particular sequence happens all the time in other parts of the country but rarely in California. Am I right or am I right?

But just a whole shitload of LIGHTNING?!? Come ON!

We are having some hella bad luck. Or is it “just” luck?!?

That’s what I was thinking when the phone rang, and it was my friend Revital. She asked how I was and I told her I was on my knees. She’s Israeli, and she told me the Hebrew expression for that, which translates as “on the plank,” as in “lying on the floor.”

You know, it’s one thing to be on your knees and it’s a totally different thing to tell your good friend that you’re on your knees. Suddenly, you’re not on your knees anymore. You’re chatting with another human being about a multiplicity of things in your life, in her life, in the world.

After we hung up, I got off my knees and went on with my day. I actually started reorganizing my guest room, which is where I have taken to throwing things since the pandemic started. It was so crammed with stuff overflowing onto the floor that I could hardly make my way in without stumbling, shuffle or no. I made real progress. I’m not saying I finished the job, but you should have seen it before!

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Written by

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”

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