Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I loved putting up twinkling bats and watching monster-chiller-horror movies at midnight.
Not this year.
The world is too scary. Politics is too scary. Horror is all too real.
When I was a child, on October 31, my older brother would put on a vinyl LP of Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” that he had carefully cleaned. Walt Disney used the eerie music in the part of his animated masterpiece “Fantasia” because of the surreal celebration of evil during the night of the witches’ Sabbath.
Chernabog, the lord of evil and death, stands wrapped in a dark cape, atop a rugged peak, summoning ghosts, witches and vampires to scream out of the mountain and pay homage. I was so relieved when the church bells rang at dawn and let them go.
But now the evil spirit is lurking around us. They will not be driven away.
It seems that America is haunted by random violence and casual cruelty every day. In New York, subway riders get crushed on the tracks and innocent bystanders are shot. Officers across the country face kidnapping plots, armed visits to their homes, attacks and death threats. Nowhere seems safe, from parks to schools to the impregnable, guarded Capitol and the homes of the rich and famous.
In some states, women — and girls — seeking abortions are treated as criminals. In Uvalde, Texas, terrified children who frantically call the police are killed by a teenage psychopath with an AR-15-style rifle while 376 police officers wait in and around the elementary school waiting for … what?
On Friday, the New York Post reported that someone I know, Sarah Feinberg, former Obama official and former president of New York City Transit, had been hit by someone walking in the bike lane in Chelsea.
Now comes news of a maniac breaking into a house in the middle of the night, hitting an 82-year-old man in the head with a hammer while demanding to know where his famous wife was. Perfect Halloween movie fare. Except it actually happened.
It seems that America is haunted by random violence and casual cruelty every day. In New York, subway riders get crushed on the tracks and innocent bystanders are shot.
One of the most macabre stories that came out of the attack on the Capitol and democracy on January 6, which was brought forward by Donald Trump, was when the crowd wandered the halls, banging on the door of the speaker with bloodied eyebrows “Where’s Nancy?”
Speaker Pelosi was not there, thank God. She was meeting with other senior officers in a secure bunker, making call after call for help that was slow to arrive.
Fortunately, she was safe, in DC with her security detail, when a man broke into her Pacific Heights home in San Francisco early Friday morning. He broke the patio glass door and attacked her husband, who was struggling with the attacker to control the hammer. In a shocking echo of January 6, the man yelled at Paul Pelosi, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” When the police arrived, the man said he was “waiting for Nancy”.
Paul Pelosi, a philanthropic investor who likes to star in amateur operas and has been married to Nancy for 59 years, called 911, the new yorkTimes reported, bringing police to his home and potentially saving his life. He was hit several times on the hands and head with the hammer and was taken to hospital for surgery for a fractured skull and is expected to recover.
Police said the intruder was 42-year-old David DePape of Berkeley, California. CNN reported that DePape’s relatives confirmed that he owns a Facebook account spewing Trump conspiracies on topics ranging from climate change to COVID. In his posts, he cast doubt on the validity of the 2020 election – sharing absurd videos from Trump’s bully and lickspittle Mike Lindell. And he defended the Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol.
With his usual level of class, Donald Trump sent a message of condolence to the family of Jerry Lee Lewis, “the Killer” of rock ‘n’ roll, who died on Friday at the age of 87, but he said nothing all day about the Pelosi family . .
On Twitter, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois urged GOP candidates and elected officials to speak out against the “horrific” attack. He probably did not remember the kind of speech that the Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia. Youngkin joked about the assassination attempt: “No violence anywhere, but we’ll send her back to be with him in California.”
Democrats have had a good run, on climate change and gun legislation, and have enjoyed some setbacks with the Supreme Court’s Prince of Darkness, Samuel Alito. Now Republicans seem poised to win back the House, and possibly the Senate, with an array of incompetent and hypocritical candidates.
“I can’t believe anyone would vote for these people,” Pelosi told The New York Times’ Carl Hulse on a fundraising swing.
But a feral mood prevails. If you think Washington is monstrous now, wait.
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