It is so easy, so cheap and easy to ridicule our enemies, political or otherwise, when they have an embarrassing moment beyond their control. During the televised Vice Presidential debate, viewed by millions, in this fraught and consequential political season, a common house fly found its way out of the Salt Lake City night and into the debate hall on the campus of the University of Utah. It then found its way into the brilliantly lit halo of studio lighting and decided, following a fly’s mysterious mental logic, to wing its way in front of the cameras that are electronically conveying images across the continent and into the homes of millions of Americans– and lands on the hair of the gentlemanly Vice President of the United States who, as it happens, is Vice President to the most polarizing President ever to sit in the White House. Michael Pence has generated some hate of his own. I hated him constantly talking over the moderator and wondered why the Trump/Pence team had not learned its lesson from the spectacle that was the Presidential Debate. I say that unreservedly. When I saw it land, I thought, “here will begin the easy ridicule.” I half-hoped the moderator could see it and, seeing it, seized the moment to clear away this distraction in jocular fashion. I knew if the insect landed on Senator Harris, nothing would be made of it – or, if so, only by the cheapest of cheap Trump/Pence supporters. Of course, it showed up brilliantly on Pence’s snow white hair.
Odd thing about flies. In Jean-Paul Sartre’s retelling of the Electra myth, the flies are The Furies. Trappist Monk Thomas Merton wrote a book of poetry entitled, Seasons of Fury about the troubled world outside his monastery’s walls.
It is, indeed, a troubled season. The monastery beckons.