Mi Tent Es Su Casa
Updated: Jul 29
By Philip Drucker
Check this out. I have the Chek2 mutated gene. It is a rogue gene inherited from my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad! As a practical matter, I have an increased chance to develop female breast cancer, colorectal cancer (check!), and possibly other cancers. On the other hand, this means I'm a mutant. Like the X-Men. Cool huh?
However, to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure manufacturing cancer cells is technically a super power. I suppose I could spit on the bad guys if things really got rough. Perhaps I could fall to the ground clutching my side in abject pain. At best, sounds like something out of Watchmen. Adamantium claws and eternal re-generation would have been far preferable.
The weekend was a bit of a struggle. I got hit with the now familiar feelings of profound fatigue and a touch of nausea. On the bright side, I did manage to eat a brownie. Don't tell my doctors. Eating sugary baked goods is not recommended for today's modern cancer survivor.
Unfortunately, infusions of toxins that eat both good and bad repeating cells is. In fact, it's essential. Brownies not so much, but they are yummy and if my gastrointestinal tract acts up, there is always Tums for the acid re-flux, various pills for the nausea, and every cancer patient's best friend, Imodium.
Moving around can be a real challenge. I've returned to walking by "old man shuffle." Sort of a Michael Jackson "moonwalk" at 16RPMs that nobody, and I mean nobody would ever buy a ticket to see. No walker or cane necessary, although I do have a really cool ornate wooden cane with a fake-gold horse head if I ever need it. Always remember, I never said I planned on going out without anything less than style. No matter what, I will look marvelous.
Speaking of looks, what began as a simple protest, not cutting my hair until there was a safe and sane testing/social distancing/curve flattening/coordinated protocol in place for the Covid-19 epidemic has possibly gotten a bit out of hand. At my infusion, one of the nurses commented my now longish hair with matching beard made her think of something out of the Big Lebowski. Throw in the floral print Hawaiian shirt and hey! What can I tell you? This dude abides.
On the mental side of chemo revisited, until today, reading was difficult and writing was out of the question. TV was annoying. Attention span was down to zero and plummeting no end in sight. It was time to re-consider my goals for the day. Other than a chocolate confection that was not terribly good for me, the highlight of my weekend had to be my first shower with real water in six days.
There is something mystical about the properties of warmth, of water. You know, other than the catalyst for and sustainability of all life aspects. Imagine a world without water. What would that be like? Oh well, there’s always beer.
Gotta take a break. I'll be right back.
On the political horizon, I have been thinking a great deal about a word I don’t seem to be hearing as much as I would like to. No, more like two words inextricably (I can’t believe I just spelled that on the first try! Little victories my friends, little victories) tied together and essential to our victory in November. Unity and coalition. Without both, we, the Democratic Party, cannot win.
Understanding the differences between Democrats and Republicans, and how each group wins elections is not all that difficult. The Democratic Party is the party of inclusion. It is a big tent and all are welcome. When the Democrats motivate enough of the various demographics available into a singular, unified, coalition, or voting-block, we win. It is a process of mix and match political strategy and it requires the greatest amount of good be done for the greatest amount of people. Not hard.
Classic Democratic demographics include, college educated white folk, minorities, LGBTQ, women, students, veterans, blue-collar workers and unions. You know, basically everybody. That’s the name of the game. When the Democratic party starts thinking it has the luxury to alienate a certain core constituency, pick and choose so to speak, and does so, we lose. Don’t hate me for pointing his out, but I am convinced one of the reasons Hillary lost was due to her callous, condescending and dismissive attitude towards the Coal Miners in general as well as their union, the United Mine Workers (UMW).
In my books, you either stand for the Unions, all of them, or you stand for none. Hilly, I wish you took my call, but you were apparently too busy promoting Jay-Z shows to re-visit Michigan, even as your poll numbers started to slide dramatically. BTW, hey James Carville! Where were you while all of this was happening? You were right once, it was the economy, stupid. But what have you done for us lately? Oh well, beer under the bridge.
If I sound a bit harsh it is only because I am thinking about the alternative. The GOP. A party dedicated entirely to identity politics. The party of exclusion now on a grander, meaner, nastier scale that we have never seen before in the American body politic. With the rise of Trump the smallest of small tents has gotten even smaller. So, how did Trump win? Ready? He built a coalition of Americans who, with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, had never been seen before.
It should not come as a surprise when the GOP rallies its historic base for an election. It’s not a secret it is made up of the so-called “Silent Majority” although how they can claim to be silent at this point is anyone’s guess. I call them the three Rs. The rich, racist, and religiously intolerant. Sometimes you can even find these three highly coveted traits in one person. The GOP calls these 3-in-1 picks of the litter “donors”.
If you want to throw in typical ruby red subsets, mega-bankers, the KKK, Prosperity Gospel Evangelicals, the Military-Industrial Complex, mercenary army building maniacs, educational “leaders” who live and breathe to collect student debt, Macau gambling bosses, home foreclosure experts, My Pillow guy, and lately Russian oligarchs and mobsters (is that redundant?) to name a few.
But we must ask, is this a big enough coalition to win the presidency? The answer is no. And this is where the scary as all get out truth must be confronted, or, we lose.
Any reasonable autopsy of the 2016 election must examine and include the following factors.
· Hillary won the popular vote
· Trump won the Electoral College
· Russian (foreign) interference played a role in the outcome
· James Comey should have kept his mouth shut
None of this helped. But here is where the rubber biscuit hits the road-runner and must not happen again.
· Women in key suburban areas voted for Trump
· Blue Collar Workers voted for Trump
· Union Workers voted for Trump
· College Educated White Guys voted for Trump
· Too many minority voters did not vote (at all)
For in the final analysis, Trump won and he won by putting together a coalition of persons crossing demographic lines who they wouldn’t have been caught dead talking to in a Winn-Dixie, much less a Klan rally. And why? It was the economy, stupid.
We must not allow this to happen again. We, the People, to save our very democracy, must reach out, speak out, and connect with logic, passion, compassion, wisdom and commitment to those who were once our natural allies and will be again. Those who believe instinctively that we all do better when we all do better.
If we build the coalition, they will come, home, that is. Just come home. We are waiting for you and yes, under this big blue tent of unity, the lights will be on.