October 2017

 Back in the 1940s, Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour wrote a cute little song, "Mañana (Is Soon Enough For Me)." It was a big hit, and I remember we all sang along whenever they played it on the radio. It had a fun message: the faucet is dripping; so what? The fence is falling down; so what? The window is broken, and I'm soaked to the skin from the rain that's coming in; so what? "If we wait a day or two, the rain may go away, and we don't need a window on such a sunny day!"

   If you ignored the Latin-sounding orchestra, the samba beat, and Peggy's exaggerated Mexican parody speech (you remember Pancho saying: "Cisco [pronounced 'See-sko'], the sheriff, he is coming closer"], you might not think that the song was making fun those lazy Mexicans (the ones who are always taking siestas). (You know, those same siesta-loving lazy Mexicans who work from dawn until after dusk, cultivating and harvesting our food crops because that isn't the kind of work that White People do.) No, you might think it was about  the basic human tendency to put off until tomorrow what we should do today. Or, if it had been written in the last twenty years or so, you might think it was written especially about the United States Congress.

   In the last month alone, we have had major weather anomalies and weather-related disasters in the United States. (They've had them in other parts of the world, too, but we don't care about them. Hell, we can barely be concerned with the U. S. citizens in Puerto Rico.) It has become superfluous to talk about a Hundred Year this, the Record Breaking that, or the Never Before something else. Records are falling almost every day.

   In this same month, we've had another major Killing With Firearms episode in the United States, with the greatest number of fatalities in our Modern History. (It was being reported as the greatest murder of All Time, until somebody reminded us about the hundreds of planned White People  massacres of Native Americans, and other atrocities committed on other races.)

   In the wake of these disasters, it didn't take long for some people to suggest that maybe - for our own good - it might be time to get serious about addressing Climate Change. Others suggested that maybe Now would be a good time to Seriously Consider the controls we put of Firearms Ownership. Do you remember what the immediate reaction was from both the Congress and the White House on both subjects? "It is in bad taste and certainly inappropriate to talk about Climate Change (or Gun Regulation) so soon after a disaster caused by Climate Change (or Gun Use Run Amok). This is no time for Politics!" 

   Right, I can see that: If we wait until Things have settled down, and we can see Things a little clearer (you know: Without Politics), then we can Look Into those Things.  Right, like we've done after each of the previous disasters. The Thing Is, Americans - and especially our elected politicians - have lost the ability to look ahead and plan ahead. We've forgotten the logic of fixing the broken window before the next rain. Mañana has become soon enough for us.

   When will we do something significant regarding either climate change or gun violence? I'm pretty sure the answer to both is NEVER. As a country, we (and we have to share the blame with the people we elect) have already disavowed any responsibility toward global climate change. Hopefully, we'll be a little more reasonable about our own self-interest when we get rid of the current Administration, but it won't be enough. The response to the latest massacre by gunfire has been more talk of "background checks" (meaningless gesture in almost all possible cases) and "looking into" the legality of converting standard killing weapons into super killing weapons. (As I recall, that's already been decided: an attachment to a gun is not a gun; it's just an accessory, so no "gun control" controls it.) Both ideas are just disingenuous ways of avoiding meaningful action.

    I'm afraid (and I mean AFRAID) that we are destined to be stuck in Mañana mode. For those who demand we only speak American English in America, we can turn to an alternate Congressional Anthem - as sung by Annie in the original 1977 stage play - Tomorrow, tomorrow, we'll do something good Tomorrow. You're ALWAYS a day away.




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