“Lighten Up, Francis.” When he saw my last blogpost, my cousin sent me this line on FB. It’s a catch phrase from the Bill Murray movie Stripes, and it means “Relax; it’s not so bad. Don’t be so paranoid.” And conveniently, the name “Francis” is what a lot of people think my full name is.
“Lighten up, Francis.”
I’m light and easy, really. Really. It’s the good life I’ve got. A lot of people here in the U.S. have it. It’s not Syria. It’s not North Korea or Sudan. We live in nice places, own nice things, eat three square meals a day, have nice family lives and nice jobs, ones that provide—that have long provided—a nice, steady income.
So there’s no need to be worried, right?
Bush, Obama, Trump. . . does it make any real, personal difference to me, to you, personally, who sits in the oval office? Who cares about the guy making pronouncements about the need to repeal Obamacare, to vastly limit immigration, to build a border wall, or to embrace the wonderful leadership model of Vladimir Putin?
It’s a “well-oiled machine,” no? I mean, the man chosen as National Security Advisor lasted what—less than a month? He turned out to be a liar. How could the President not have realized this?
Meanwhile, our Prexy’s approval has rating has dropped to a negative 4% (Obama’s, W’s, and Clinton’s were +34% at the start of their presidencies.) And what of Mr. Trump’s first executive order? Well, it was shut down by the courts.
If that’s a well-oiled machine, then what’s one that’s poorly oiled, that’s totally out of adjustment, that has the wrong parts, that squeaks and groans and sputters to a standstill, squirting oil and filth like a cuttlefish squirts out ink?
Lighten up, Francis.
The trouble is that many people are bothered by stuff that’s remote from them personally but that is still part of their world. Like many, I am bothered by the fact that Trump won’t share his tax returns. Why should I care? you ask. What possible justification do I have for wondering how Donald Trump has made his money or lost? It’s his money. He is president now. He won fair and square, right?
Well, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure he won fair and square, and I am not sure that we should forget about those tax returns. Something has to be in them. Something awful. Something damning. Debt servicing to whom? Payments from whom?
I worry about Trump’s tax returns, his staff, his international clumsiness, his various and sundry tweets, about his temperament vis à vis pushing the button. But it’s silly and pointless to do so, isn’t it? Can’t we just step back and say, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
Or am I in that circus? Am I actually that circus itself, maybe one of its monkeys—one that will be shipped off for whatever weird, arcane reason the administration decides is deport-worthy next week, next month, next year?
The remote can come so near, really, at any moment. It already has for thousands, for millions.
Lighten up, Francis.