Downtown View:July’s Tradegy or Comedy

By Karen Cord Taylor

You’ll have to admit democracies are more entertaining than dictatorships. Nothing ever happened in East Germany except for people trying to get over the wall. Nothing happens now in North Korea, where everyone follows the same orders or else.

Instead democracies have uninformed people deciding matters of great importance. Rabble like us, as our founders feared, like to stir up trouble just because it is fun even if we don’t have a clue as to what is going on.

So that means we’re going to have a truly fabulous July. If you’re not crying over the British Leave vote on the EU, at least you can watch the turmoil that has roiled the land of Keep Calm and Carry On after they voted themselves out of the serious world, apparently, not realizing the effect a Leave vote would have on their economy, London’s financial headquarters, their factories, or the chances their young people will have for good jobs on the Continent. (Sorry about that long sentence, but as intelligent Americans, we can handle long sentences. After the Leave vote, Americans are finally considered smarter than the British, but we’ll be a better judge of that in November.)

Observers are calling Britain rudderless, panicky, already regretful. Scotland is threatening to leave Great Britain. It’s probably a disaster, despite the calming words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Right now maybe it’s better to think of it as good theatre. Any drama with the word Exchequer in it has to be diverting.

Soon, on top of the British breakdown, we’ll have the Republican convention. That ought to keep us glued to the television if we’re not there, and it looks as if few Massachusetts Republicans will be there. We’re expecting bombast, dirty words, bragging, politically incorrect talk, preposterous accusations, and, if we’re lucky, major bigotry.

The Democratic Convention (Democrat Convention to Republicans who sound as if they left school at fourth grade, not having been taught the difference between an adjective and a noun) can’t possibly be as good. How can you top the one with the bonkers billionaire as its star? But we’re hoping Bernie provides a bit of drama as he tries to get the Democrats to agree to his platform, which they already agree with, but don’t see how they’ll get there through Bernie’s means. The Democrats need a fire-brand 74-year-old, heady with the love of his followers and with his own form of bad hair, to keep things even.

Blessedly, for our continued entertainment, we’ve also got Marco Rubio trying to regain the Senate seat he rarely sat in. We’ve got Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan bamboozled, trying to figure out why the hoi polloi of the Republican Party doesn’t give a darn about conservative values. A Noah’s Ark is opening in Kentucky with models of dinosaurs playing with children, because there are people who believe this kind of thing. And some guy who barely met the Clintons is coming out with a tell-all book about their supposed rants in the White House. You can’t make this stuff up, but apparently he did.

Surely there will be additional brouhahas erupting from the terrified class who are aghast at the thought that women might have to use the bathroom at the same time as a man who has become a woman. How many people are we talking about anyway who are men becoming women? Can’t we deal with it? I once stood in a bathroom line in France at a break during a performance with the women headed for the men’s stalls while men peed at the urinals. No one seemed to mind.

Luckily, the left wing has comedians to help them get through. Andy Borowitz and Stephen Colbert, sometimes still Jon Stewart, and even Rachel Maddow, who is supposed to report serious news, are pretty funny. I’ve never figured out why the right wing has no comedians to help them.

            In any case, by August, both political parties will probably have nominees. Who knows? Britain might even have rejoined the EU. So many people are on vacation that not much will happen. (Some people, of course, think everything happens in August—the start of WWII, for example.) But during July, enjoy the fray. You won’t have to bother going to the movies. You’ll have real life to entertain you.


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