At the height of Watergate, as young reporters Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein were closing in on President Nixon, their stern Washington Post editor, the late Ben Bradley, warned them. “All that’s riding on this,” he said ominously, “is only the future of the republic and democracy itself.”
With a nod to Bradley, that’s how I feel about the November 6 election which is only 46 days away. (I can already say, election eve, I’m going to be a wreck!) Some are calling this the most crucial mid-term in 100 years. I say it’s not life and death. It’s way more important.
At stake is whether we restore the constitutional checks and balances or we enable an autocratic and dictatorial presidency. However, judging from my emails, some are apparently comfortable with a $21 trillion national debt; separating families at the border; housing immigrant children in cages (13,000 currently with 1,500 “missing”) chaos and corruption (five Trump advisers and counting convicted of felonies); winking approval at white supremacists; cozying up to ruthless dictators; and alienating NATO and leaders of the free world. (Is that all?)
Under the category of “money over morality,” some of my readers give the petulant POTUS a pass because their 401’s are thriving. If these readers also have no interest in world-class magic (will explain the connection shortly) I’m saying I’d understand if they now turn to the crossword puzzle. (My hope is one day, under the crossword puzzle, it reads, “If you don’t like today’s puzzle feel free to turn to ‘Laughing Matters.’”)
With the midterms being so crucial, the tension in the air is almost overwhelming. I confess, however, when friends say, “It’s so crazy, I don’t want to get involved,” it’s all I can do not to strangle them!
I have a close friend and neighbor who’s found a creative way to reach out to others in hopes of saving democracy and is doing so through his lifelong passion for magic. I find his dedication and passion inspiring and I hope you will, too.
Longtime Santa Monica resident and acclaimed magician, Albie Selznick, has been appalled for the past 18 months by Trump’s policies and behavior. Albie’s been searching for a way he could help prevent our democracy from slipping into an autocracy. Fortunately, he crossed paths with “Swing left.”
When I mentioned “Swing Left” to one of my conservative readers, he asked sarcastically if it was a dance group. It’s actually a volunteer organization with 500,000 members nationwide mobilizing to restore governmental checks and balances by regaining a Democratic majority in Congress. (If only.)
As regarding the reference to magic, for years, Albie has staged, performed and hosted the commercial and critical hit “MagicMonday” at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Almost single-handedly he’s turned our fair city into a mini-capital of magic.
Recently, Albie’s decided to present a one-night magic extravaganza that will take place this coming Monday, September 24, with all the proceeds going to Swing Left. The evening is called “10-10,” and features 10 world-class magicians, all of whom are donating their talent, each doing an eye-popping 10-minute routine. (Think ESPN’s “Top Plays” only it’s magic.)
About Trump and the mid-terms, Albie didn’t pull any punches. “It’s agonizing to witness women, minorities, LGBTQ , the environment and our closest allies, being trashed by an amoral, narcissistic incompetent whom I wouldn’t trust to run a 7-11! The GOP used to stand for law and order, fiscal responsibility and viewed Putin as evil. Instead, they’ve sworn fidelity to Trump in return for judges and tax breaks for corporations and the rich.”
Albie echoed John Kerry’s quote about Trump, “He’s the first president who spends more time looking at his Twitter ‘likes’ than reading his briefing books or the constitution.” Referring to Helsinki where Trump shockingly stood with Putin over the U.S. Intelligence communities, Kerry added, “Trump has the maturity of an 8-year-old boy with the insecurities of a 13-year-old girl.”
Trump has woken up the Democrats. Albie theorizes, “By his pro-Putin and essentially unpatriotic actions, Trump has reminded us what it is to be an American, what America stands for and what we want our future to be.” Or, as Obama recently asked his audience, “How hard is it to say Nazis are bad?”. Moments later he added, “We’re supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them.”
Obama has also opined, “If you thought elections don’t matter, I hope these last two years have corrected that impression.” He’s famously fond of saying, “Don’t boo, vote.” To that Albie adds, “Don’t complain, get involved,” asking, “What are you going to say to your grandchildren about your action or inaction in this moment in history?”
Albie and his friends are donating the proceeds from their show. The question is, what are you going to do?
“10-10” magic extravaganza at the Santa Monica is on Monday, September 24. For tickets, go to MagicMondayLA.com.
Jack is at firstname.lastname@example.org.