More than politics

5 Nov

This week, Chicago–the quintessential “political” town–was a good place to be if you needed to be reminded that life is more than politics. I’m talking about Chicago Cubs, of course, and their triumph in the World Series last Wednesday. Chicago went berserk–5 million people at the parade and rally on Friday, reported by the Chicago Tribune to be the “seventh largest crowd of human beings in the history of the world.” (Disclaimer: the Tribune is part-owner of the team). It was a shout out to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: “Move over, give us a break. We love the Cubbies more than either of you!” Here at Montgomery Place, music events were cancelled for the games. Believe me, that is a very big deal here.

A much-appreciated reminder that as important politics is, it’s not the end-all and be-all. But there’s more–I’m a White Sox fan. I empathize with the woman quoted in John Kass’s Tribune column: “If this becomes a thing with the Cubs and it happens every year for the next three years, then I’m leaving town,” said Sox fan Wendy. “I won’t be able to take it.”

My wife, Neva, is a Cubs fan. I’m reminded that you can be on the wrong side of history and still love the “misguided” people on the other side. So the Cubs had 5 million people at their parade. We had 2 million at ours in 2005, and that ain’t hay, as they say. Chicago is a Cubs town, to be sure, and a Bears and a Bulls and a Blackhawks town–never a Sox town, but 2 million of of us redefine the concept of “outsiders.”

There was more than baseball this week that put politics into perspectives. Good news: a granddaughter selected for the Association of Choir Directors of America National Choir, to perform in the Minneapolis Symphony Hall on March 11. A friend has emergency surgery to deal with a heart rate issue; a pacemaker solves the problem, and she goes home the next day.

Bad news: my sister’s cancer has returned, and she faces drastic surgery. An old friend who fell and broke her shoulder in four places now undergoes fusion of her cervical vertebrae.

Politics is important and even decisive in some respects, an essential dimension of our world. But it’s not the whole. We’ll be rooting for the Cubs–or not–no matter who is elected president or senator, or local dog-catcher. The Inauguration will pass, and sister and my friend will be living with the results of their surgeries and rehabbing themselves back to recovery. The world we live in has many dimensions–not parts that we can separate from one another, but interweaving dimensions that in fact permeate each other.

Personal life has been in tension with politics for millennia. In Sophocles’ play, Antigone, (written 2,500 years ago), tragedy results when Antigone clings to family values. She buries her brother, against the wishes of the king, who executed the brother for treason. President Obama (reputed to be a Sox fan) went a different route when he called John Madden, the Cubs’ manager, to invite the team to the White House, before Obama leaves office.

On the other hand, no one cares who the surgeons and nurses vote for–we just want them to do their personal and professional best. And we pray.

Only three days until the election. Between now and then, my TV will be tuned to Masterpiece Theater and re-runs of “Murder, She Wrote,” “Gunsmoke,” and “NCIS.”

Sorry, pundits. Sorry, Donald. Sorry Hillary. But you see, there’s a murder every day in Cabot Cove, and Angela Lansbury is a charming sleuth.

(c) Phil Hefner 11/5/2016

4 Responses to “More than politics”

  1. sandyjwhite November 5, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

    Yes, life goes on despite politics. Della would have been thrilled about the Cubs. I hope your sister’s surgery goes well. My brother just started treatment for lung cancer.

    • Liftthescreen November 5, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      Good wishes for your brother. And greetings as you prepare for Thanksgiving. Your blogs are wonderful–they would also be good in book form. Have you considered self-publishing–perhaps through amazon?

      • sandyjwhite November 5, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

        Thanks for the good wishes. I haven’t thought about publishing, although several people have put forth the idea. It’s something to consider. Have a good Thanksgiving. We will probably skip the cooking and dine out!

  2. Carol Albright November 5, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    Phil
    Thank you for weaving my own experience into your narrative. (You could also have mentioned that we were the victim of 2 crimes that same week–theft of my credit cards at the hospital, used to purchase expensive jewelry during the time of my surgery; and the smashing of a car window by vandals who ran down our street and alley on Hallowe’en night, looking very excited and breaking glass as they ran; I stayed away from our own window).

    And yet–the surgery saved me from a very real chance of dropping dead. I am still processing that sequence of events. In a sense it mirrors the raw contradictions in our own society at present.

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