Last night I got home uncharacteristically early and our land-line was ringing off the proverbial hook. I realize having a land-line is about as antique as having a wood-burning Franklin stove or a mechanical crank to start my car. But Uncle Slappy has my number memorized, as do my kids, and I haven't yet come around to dismantling a service that in large measure was, when I was 21 or so, a rite of passage. When you had a land-line, you had a home.
In any event, the phone was ringing like mad and I hustled to pick it up. It was someone urging support for some presidential aspirant or another. I got four or five of those in quick order. Call me delusional, but sometime around nine, I'm pretty sure I got a call asking me to vote for Thomas E. Dewey against Harry Truman in the 1948 New York primary.
Do not call lists--ostensibly the law of the land--do not apply to political candidates. They have, through some legislative legerdemain placed themselves above the law, and so, they are able to abuse the sanctity of our homes with impunity.
It seems to me that this fairly minor indiscretion is symbolic of a lot of what's happened in our world. We no longer operate by one set of rules.
We excoriate alleged "welfare cheats," but think nothing when the malefactors of great wealth who run our holding companies and donate to our arts institutions and who name every square inch of granite in Manhattan after themselves, invert themselves corporately and haven their money so it's more protected than a snail darter by a tree-hugger.
In almost every aspect of our lives we are ruled by what Jared Diamond calls a "Kleptocracy." Rule by thieves.
You can probably tell if you've read this far, that those phone calls last night put me in a hellish mood. If I weren't afflicted with late-night lassitude, perhaps I would have loaded up my Simca with bricks from a construction site (where middle class housing was razed to make way for $23 million co-ops) and ridden up and down the avenues throwing said bricks through the plate-glass of the oligarchs.
Through the windows of the banks on every corner. Through the windows of the campaign offices. Through the windows of the aforementioned malefactors.
But, alas, we do not live in an era in which we are allowed to take action. We sit at home in a state of tele-narcosis and, instead, answer the phone.