“Here and there and nowhere,” growled the opossum, who was my one-time writing partner.
Mr. O, as I call him, was balanced on the top edge of our backyard wooden fence, a precarious perch that was not necessarily his first choice of a resting spot.
In fact, he had just been pursued across the backyard and up the fence by none other than me. I’d been on my final backyard visit for the evening and, sensing an unknown creature, given chase.
So here he was, caught in the glare of LED flashlight held by The Grouchy One, frozen in silhouette, either out of habit or lack of alternatives, staring straight ahead.
We hadn’t deliberately stopped writing; continuing just seemed beside the point, now that Biden was safely on his way to the White House, not that our blog had anything to do with that.
Strangely, Mr. O and I never even said goodbye. The opossum seemed just to fade into outdoors as mysteriously as he had appeared one day in our backyard; and later, we’d discovered a shared interest in politics.
And until now, we had made no attempt to stay in touch. No cards – actually, I was the only one with a known street address at the home in Newport, R.I., I share with my Humans, The Nice One and The Grouchy One – but neither of us had lifted a claw to send an email or text.
I’d often wondered why we ignored each other after such an intense collaboration in which we, like so many Americans and even those in other countries, had tried to fathom how a fiend like Donald Trump had ascended to the most powerful office in the world, then promptly set about tearing apart his country’s sacred institutions and customs.
Perhaps our professional relationship, forged not in friendship, but out of desperation and fear, had been so consuming that when it seemed like the danger had passed, the mere sight of each other brought back the terror of those awful times.
More than 74 million people voted for Trump, just 7 million less than the 81 million for Biden, despite four awful years in which Trump had conclusively proven that he was unfit to lead, and, indeed, was more destructive to our democracy than any foreign enemy.
Nearly half of our fellow citizens embraced Trump; his influence in 2021 seems deeper and more destructive than when he took office in 2017, having transformed the GOP into something that resembles a terrorist organization more than a normal political party.
Republicans apologized, ignored, lied about and sometimes supported the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that nearly cost Trump’s own vice president, as well as GOP and other lawmakers, their lives. Republican-dominated state houses since the election have passed laws to weaken voting rights and vote-counting procedures, which had allowed the country to overcome Trump’s Big Lie that he’d won.
SO, REPUBLICANS HAVE emerged as a homicidal force that extended the Covid 19 pandemic not just within their own states, but placed the entire nation at risk by fighting vaccination and mask-wearing steps that can the spread of virus variants.
Just two states, Texas and Florida, now account for one-third of all daily Covid deaths in the country, as their governors, Greg Abbott, in Texas, and Ron DeSantis in Florida, war against their own school districts and communities that have tried to establish safety protocols.
The nation is averaging 1,969 Covid deaths a day, with Texas accounting for 297 of these, and Florida, 363;according to today's New York Times compilations. And yet there are no Wanted for Murder posters on telephone poles and Post Office bulletin boards for Abbott and DeSantis.
President Biden (how good this still sounds) today continued to call out both murderous leaders, according to the Washington Post:
“The governors of Florida and Texas are doing everything they can to undermine the lifesaving requirements that I proposed,” Biden said at the White House.
The Post noted also that attorneys general in 24 Republican states said they would do everything they could to block Biden's recent moves to promote mask wearing and vaccinations. Essentially, pledging to promote illness and death.
As we discussed getting the blog going again, Mr. O wouldn’t say why he returned or even if he’d really gone away. But wearily, he agreed that we couldn’t just ignore the peril that threatens the country.
Whether an aging, but “sweet” dog or an opossum, with a cute face and an ugly tail, should be taken seriously in discussing these matters is a fair question.
But doing nothing is not an answer.