‘Dear Ohio’ – Our Bellwhether Election State

by on June 7, 2019 · 0 comments

in American Empire, California

Devouring the Apple

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

I’ve been thinking lately about our dear country, and about you as the bellwether election state.  I was wondering if you see what I see – namely, that everyday Americans do not think they are important in themselves.  Instead, they seek the notice of others, as if blind to their own image, as if they cannot feel their existence unless someone else casts an approving eye upon them and says, “Yes, you are one of us.  You are real.”

Every day, some man or woman in Ohio or California or elsewhere in the country wakes up in the morning, tired from a sleepless night, and puts food on the table for themselves and their loved ones, dresses for work, gives up hours to the job, comes home, deals with dinner, and sits in front of a screen waiting to see if anything more interesting than their own life is happening in fiction or in fact.

That man or woman surfs the menu of television or social media, looking for pulses that evoke some reaction of anger, lust, loathing, condemnation, or sarcasm – anything to jumpstart the pulse that lies dormant for hours on end in most of us who are bound by the convention of our day-to-day obligations.

No wonder we are so easily deceived by someone who breaks conventions.  He can be exciting, unpredictable, and every action he takes creates a new pulse in both his supporters and his antagonists.  But what about our lives?  What about us?  If he did not exist, or if the people amid whom we find acknowledgment were not present, would we exist?  Would we be real?  Or have we forgotten what it means to be alive and present in our own skin?

I sat in a courtroom the other day next to a big sign that said “No eating or drinking of any kind in this courtroom.”  I heard the stomach rumble in a person who had been sitting beside me for hours waiting for his case to be heard.  On the other side of the “bar,” dividing the blessed from the unblessed, sat a snappy bailiff, a deputy sheriff charged with keeping the unblessed in line, reprimanding those who snatched a quick glance at a silent cell phone screen or read a book while waiting for the judge.

The bailiff took out a huge red apple, so big you could see it from the back of the courtroom.  He sank his teeth into the apple, cracking off a chunk so big it sounded like an iceberg calving.  It filled his cheeks as he crunched on it, grinding it with more chews than even Nancy Reagan advised, finally swallowing it with a big jolt of his Adam’s apple.  He continued with four more big bites, then chiseled away at the core with his front teeth until only the seed casing was left.  He tossed the core in the wastebasket beside him and opened a bottle of water, taking a big gulp, swallowing, and then sucking a mouthful through his teeth, back and forth, as if he were about to spit into a sink.  He took his final swallow and wiped his hands, resuming his vigilance to ensure that no one among the unblessed had interpreted his action as permission for them to violate the posted conventions.

This is America, I fear.

Most of us are starving for a feeling that we exist, that we are real, that we are important in this mosaic made of almost 360 million pieces that are all different.  We are bound and gagged by the expectations of people who have power over us but who have freed themselves from the rules they impose upon us.  They do this because they associate themselves with people who are not afflicted by our self-doubt – people who believe they are important not because of their achievements, but because of their riches or their position, or whom they know.

If you read the Mueller Report, you will see this phenomenon.  It is the story of little people who, seeking their own importance, did the bidding of people who never doubted their own right to live outside of conventions.  The rules did not apply to them.

Do you think, Dear Ohio, that having spent so much of our lives oblivious to our own importance, we have become numb to our own essence, and now, our senses dulled, we search for others who, in order to realize their own ambitions, will tell us we are the essence of this country.  We are the unsung.  And in order to free our senses, to hear our own voices, to see our own image, to feel alive, the only thing we have to do is embrace the image of the powerful.  Touch the hem of their garment.  Say we are for them.  Watch hungrily as they devour the apple.

Joni Halpern is a resident of Point Loma and has contributed to the former San Diego Free Press, an online platform associated with the OB Rag.



{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: