Broken Hearts’ Club Dance


Once upon a time, I had a crush on Raymond Podany.

Two seventh graders at Holy Family School, we danced our first dance in the school auditorium. I remember the first kiss, in the bleachers sitting in his lap.

Collegiate and cool, he was also awkward and shy.

Brainy and bold, I was anything but.

We went steady.

It didn’t work out.
Our 13 year old hearts broken,

we broke up.

Never to kiss  in the bleachers again.

Once upon a time, 

I asked the high school boy next door to the Queen of Hearts Dance, a Valentine’s Day affair at my all girls school.

He accepted.

We went to the movies.

We went steady.

We got married.

Had three children.

Twenty-eight years later, we broke each others’ hearts.

In the end, we got divorced.

It didn’t work out.

Hardly ever to see the other in person again.

Once upon a time, 

I fell in love with a knight.
He shimmered in his armor,

chivalrous and polite.

Once in a blue moon, riding his white horse,

he would charge into my life.

Camelot, Camelot, we would pretend for an hour or two,

Or maybe a day, if I was lucky.

Then the knight on his stallion

would disappear into the mist,

with no promise of return.

Dysfuntionally ever loyal,

to his helpless damsel in distress,

the man was never really mine.

Hearts broken, it didn’t work out.

And now, I have learned to dance backwards and alone,

for a very long time.

Once upon a time,

I fell in love with my country,

in my pajamas,

watching Apollo moon shots VII through XI,

on my parents’ Trinitron TV. 

My universe expanded. It seemed even the stars posed no limit to what Americans could do.

And so at seventeen, not old enough to vote, I worked on my very first campaign: McGovern & Shriver, 1972. The Democrats went down in a landslide. My patriotic fervor was badly bruised and damaged but far from  destroyed.

May Day, I marched on the Mall, for Private First Class Michael St. Onge, my friend’s twenty-year old brother who died in Vietnam.

Michael died for our country, as have too many men and women to number, since 1776. They died for the liberty we take for granted, defending the integrity of the ballot, defending a fragile, free and just democracy.

And since The Bicentennial of 1976, I have not missed going to the polls on a single election (well maybe a primary in 2005ūüėĒ). My candidates have won and my candidates have lost. And regardless of who won,  on Inauguration Day, that gentleman (Sad, that this has not changed.ūüėĒ) whoever that might be has has been my president.

But with Donald Trump’s election, my heart breaks for my country — the country I love and thought I knew. The United States of America, united and defined as Thomas Jefferson wrote, at our founding in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, 

that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed by their Creator,

with certain unalienable rights,

that among these are Life,

Liberty,

and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Emphasis on ALL MEN, in the universal sense of the words as our founding fathers and mothers intended. 

Yes, my heart is broken. But I will never break up with the country I love.

So January 21st, 2017, I am going dancing and marching on The Mall once again. Dancing with my brothers and sisters of every description in The Women’s March on Washington.

Inauguration Day, Donald Trump, as much as I hate to say it will be the president. That I cannot change.

And I know that some people I know and care about voted for the man. I will never understand that but I care for them still.

But Trumpism’s appeal to and normalization of our basest instincts, I will endeavor my best not ever to abide.

Bigotry, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia, White supremacy and nationalism are antithetical to the American way.

January 21st Donald Trump, president-elect will swear on the Holy Bible to protect, defend  and uphold the Constitution of these United States.

And with a broken heart, for the country I love,

daily, emphatically, fervently,

I will vow to do the same.

How about you?

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani



Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows

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Looking for bromance?

It seems Trump and Putin have been playing footsie under the table.

Putin flirts with Trump and Trump’s heart is all aflutter.

Tweet, tweet, Vladimir, strong leader. So handsome, shirtless and mounted on your horse.

Of course, we have much in common.

So Trump, a rank neophyte narcissistically plays the game — courting the love of a KGB thug.

Don’t cry over me, Crimea. The Ukraine? Take it. It’s yours!

NATO? You’re right. Too expensive. We don’t need it. Where is Estonia anyway?

The DNC and Hillary? Hack away, hack away. The server is in the basement.

What we won’t do for love.

Setting up my dating profile, my matchmaker asks me about my politics.

Liberal.

Definitely liberal.

Bleeding heart liberal.

Definitely a Democrat.

And in a mate, what would I find simpatico?

Definitely similar but not necessarily the same.

So in addition to all the above I add:

Moderates.

Centrists.

Slightly right of center.

Libertarians and reasonable Republicans are also welcome to apply.

“But NO Trump supporters,” I emphatically reply.

That would be a bridge too far, beyond the pale. A Hillary-Donald ticket is bound to fail.

My religious preferences, I should note, were broader than my political ones. This lady vicar checked “yes” next to:

Jewish. Check.

Buddhist. Check.

Christian. Check.

Muslim. Check.

Mormon. Check.

Spiritual but not religious. Check.

Atheist and/or Agnostic. Check.

I drew the line, however, at what I considered the outer limits.

Fundamentalist. No check.

It seemed best to steer clear of extremes.

Which, of course, leads me back to Trump — or should I say “Trumpism” – a blind faith that many embrace with xenophobic zeal.

Here I draw my line in the sand, so gentleman, please, play the political card early in the game. In this election cycle, there is no easier way for me to separate the sheep from the goats.

But my own choices make me wonder (Mary Matlin and James Carville aside) how is this election season  going down for all of those already coupled people out there.

The Civil War drove families apart: father against son; brother against brother; husband against wife.

Certainly the Hillary-Donald divide is putting a strain on relationships.

My therapist, without telling tales, of course, has confirmed that this is true. So who can I talk to? Who can I interview? It’s not like I am an actual journalist.

So, thank ¬†you New York Times for putting a real reporter on the job. In the August 13th edition there was a great piece by Sridihar Pappu:¬†He Likes Trump. She Doesn’t. Can This Marriage Be Saved?

This is the divisive tale of Dr. Stossel and Dr Maguire — husband and wife.

“If you vote for Trump, I will divorce you and move to Canada,”¬†she tells her husband.

“He tried to laugh it off.”

“I am serious,”¬†she replies.

“Before this spat for nearly twenty years of marriage, politics had never caused such friction. Then came the 2016 election, a political season that has made for some hot debates in the pubic arena has also seeped into private lives…”

In 2012, Dr. Maguire and Dr. Stossel planted opposing placards on their front lawn: one for Obama; one for Romney.

No problem.

Politics were very low on the list of¬†priorities when we met,”¬†Dr. Stossel says.”Therapists say you have the best relationships when you are clearly¬†separate people. And I like to think we are emotionally centered, so that we can have a major disagreement and it’s not a big problem.”

But Trump? Trump is proving to be an insurmountable problem — a downright deal breaker, you might say, relationally speaking.

(I am pretty sure the supposed author of The Art of the Deal¬†would not like being called “a deal breaker”.)

As a woman, I cannot even entertain the thought of dating a man who would vote for a man so misogynistic and vile. A man ¬†who reduces women to their physical features. A man who has hurled at women the ugliest of epithets. A man who has alluded “to doing his daughter” if she were not his daughter. ¬†A man who belittles his opponent as “not sounding presidential” or “not looking presidential” or “playing the woman card.”

This week Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, was promoted to the top tier of Trump’s campaign. Part of her impossible job is to increase Trump’s desirability to women voters.

“The more people keep repeating the same¬†insults, the more it invites him to very legitimately defend himself. Women, look at the full measure of the man and not just one comment.”

So a New York Times commentator, Anna North in Taking Note, did just that.

“In the last month, Mr. Trump has not publicly called women ‘pigs’ or insinuated that they treated him poorly because they were menstruating.”

He has, however, asked Russian hackers to break into Hillary Clinton’s email, doubled down on the insinuation that Ted Cruz’s father was friends with Lee Harvey Oswald, implied that gun-rights activists could respond with armed rebellion (or¬†assassination) if they don’t like Clinton’s Supreme Court picks, and called President Obama the founder of ISIS.”

“It’s not that Mr. Trump’s insulting remarks about women don’t matter anymore. Rather they now look like evidence, not only of sexism, but of a broader tendency to malign anyone he sees as standing in his way — with no regard for the truth or the consequences of his statements.”

Trump is most definitely a deal breaker for both myself and my country.

Politics makes for the strangest of bedfellows…

or no bedfellows at all.

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani