On October 12, 2016, I posted to my blog the script you will see below. I did it for fun because it’s essence hit me one day while I was taking a long jog. It turns out that I was right on the mark! But I also follow up with some words to the wonderful young women who are coming of age in an era once thought impossible in this country. Please try to read without applying deep ideology that is too divisive and out of place for the following scenario:
October 12, 2016:
Politics can surely be as entertaining as it is enraging, and 2016 has proven to be an exceptional year for both. But putting basic politics aside; I believe I have stumbled on a great example of ‘Life Imitating Art’ for the modern era. When Richard Wagner wrote his epic ‘Ring Cycle’, he effectively began it all with a prologue entitled Das Rheingold which sets in motion the eventual ‘Twilight of the Gods’ (Götterdämmerung).
While Das Rheingold is very much an ensemble opera in that everyone gets their specific ‘moment(s) to shine’, the opera’s most interesting character is probably Loge; the Demigod of Fire. In an interesting way, he is the ONLY ‘character’ to actually appear in every operatic episode. Alas, his personage, personality, and voice is only revealed to us in depth in Das Rheingold. Oddly enough, I believe that I have found some parallels between a very embattled Donald J. Trump and Richard Wagner’s ‘Loge’, as well as a bunch of other characters from this magnificent opera. For fun…”Let’s unpack this”…as Hillary Clinton would say.
Loge is a Demigod whose firey style, self-confidence, and rhetoric correctly predicts the downfall of the Gods. (More on him and Donald Trump later.) For better or worse, we have lots of Wotan ‘wannabes’ in this world (Master’s of the Universe)…George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, and the list goes on.
We have Fricka…well, let’s call her Hillary. A rightfully angered and equally embattled woman who would love to wield the seemingly unlimited power as that of her husband…(but can, and does, wield a fair amount in her own right). There are plenty of angry, money grubbing, outsiders like Alberich who punch down and oppress the little Mime’s/Nibelungen’s of the world…but can never be permitted into the exclusive ‘club’ that the Gods enjoy.
There always exists a Freia, who because she is gifted with beauty, is relentlessly hit-upon by so-called Giants who wish to exercise power or control over her somehow. Then there is a cast of lesser gods/lackeys who talk a loud game but basically do nothing such as Froh and Donner (hmmm…Jason Chaffetz and Charles Schumer come to mind…but they DO always have a knack for finding a camera). Wise Earth Mothers (Erdas) abound here in the 21st Century…whether in the form of Poets, Supreme Court Justices, Environmental and Social Activists, Senators, Congresswomen, etc etc. Then there are the Rhinemaidens: Who amongst us hasn’t known a group of beautiful young women who sometimes stretch and arrogantly squander their riches?
It’s a perfect cast of human (and often political) characters. But let’s get back to Loge…who basically denounces all of them while being one of them in one form or another.
Enter Donald J. Trump…a brash, firey, narcissist. Surely not above conniving, possibly stealing, or stretching the truth if necessary. One who is sort of ‘in the club’ when he is needed…but kept ‘out of the club’ when he is not. He mingles with the (political) Gods, while claiming to stand away from them when it serves him best. He could be likeable enough to some, certainly disliked by many others. But most importantly of all, like Loge, he predicts a complete end to the system by which the world/country has operated for a very long time. Loge’s prophecy is indeed fulfilled by the time Valhalla comes crashing down…but yet Loge survives thereafter…as will Mr. Trump, whether he is elected or not.
While this is certainly no endorsement of Mr. Trump; I do just wonder if he has signaled the end of a blatantly stacked system–on both sides–whose overall house is destined to fall. When the entire ‘wink wink’, ‘nod nod’ system seems to be against you…something must be up beyond moral and/or social outrage—whether feigned or sincere.
Allow me to be clear: I make no public endorsement of any candidate (as if my opinion would matter to anyone); but I do find the above parallel interesting when it comes down to fun operatic comparisons.
November 14, 2016
Now that we are basically one week post-election, and the recriminations are flying, I thought it would a good idea to address the question: “What do we tell our young women?” Since identity politics has become so prevalent in this election cycle; let us just take a step back and address this issue thoughtfully. This is what I would tell my daughter…if I had one:
I would tell my daughter Cadence that 2016 has proven that a woman–any woman–can compete at the highest levels of the arts, business, science, engineering, and yes even government…especially government.
I would point to (in no particular order) Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Madeleine Albright, Gabby Giffords, Lisa Murkowski, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jill Stein, Tammy Duckworth, Elizabeth Warren, Susan Collins, Jennifer Granholm, Nikki Haley, and oh so many more. Yes, please note that there are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents represented here.
And yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton tops the list.
I would also tell Cadence that in competitive enterprises, people win and people lose…both men and women, no matter what religion or race, sexual orientation, challenge, or gift…like it or not.
I would tell her it is not necessarily the person, but perhaps the message, that does not propel her to victory at any given time. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances that get in the way of total success…who can really ever know for certain? I would also tell her to never give up until she is satisfied with her own efforts. After that, it is HER call.
But rest assured that 2016 has proven–without a doubt–that ALL can compete; and I would never mention the term “Glass Ceiling”…EVER!!
**Ultimately I say about each successive President of the United States: “I hope they will be our best President ever.”
Hope springs eternal,