Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I am the Racist



I was recently part of a stage production of Souvenir. This is a show about Florence Foster-Jenkins, the worst singer in history. She thought she was gifted. Her piano accompanist, Cosme McMoon, knew she was awful, but played with her anyway. At first it was mostly her Park Avenue friends who listened. Cosme feared the day when her audience would be of a rougher crowd. More like what you'd see at the fights.

They had a chance to play at Carnegie Hall to 6000 people, many of them soldiers. She sang many, dreadful things. Always gracious. Then she sang Ave Maria. She came on stage dressed in an Angel's wings and halo. The audience laughed. There was a soundtrack along with the performance. It included laughter, which got louder as the song progressed. Madam Flo got distracted and hurt and kept glancing at Cosme. The audience went silent. And the laugh track continued to the end, with Madam Flo looking more and more hurt. The laugh track had become a mirror. The audience finally met the crowd at the fights. It was they.

So. When we look at people with whom we disagree, Trump supporters, if you are a liberal snowflake, or Trump detractors, if you are a racist Nazi, what do you see? Do you see your fellow Americans who, like you, want what's best for our life and our country? Or do you see one of the pejoratives, liberal snowflake or racist Nazi? If the latter, then what does that make you?

Or characterizing the All. All Jews. All Muslims. All Umpa-Lumpas. All liberals. All conservatives. In my zeal to preserve my ideals and condemn the evil I see around me I may come to a shocking realization.

I am the racist.

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