Rubbing & Scrubbing OUT America's Dividing Line: National Race Catharsis: Jan. 16, 2009

I’m having visions of a drama … with no time to write it.

President Elect Barack Obama is the backdrop, working diligently to write America’s best-ever Inaugural speech. He is not center stage, but above the foray, suspended on a platform, writing late into the night.

Calmar’s photo of Obama’s acceptance speech at Democratic conventionThere’s a white line down the center of the stage. On the left, white people come to a desk and write their own speeches about Obama and the Inaugural spectacle that’s coming. Of course they think out loud, and we are voyeurs into their thoughts and feelings.

On the right of center stage, we have blacks also expressing the most intimate thoughts of their hearts and minds, as the Inauguration approaches.

The actors read to us … for hours and hours and hours. Perhaps the play goes on all weekend, but hopefully not years.  At some point, even the writers understand that the words have become redundant and rather empty-headed.

We must give peace a chance.

Gettyrburg Sunset by Sunset SailorThe mood is like Gaza. We can move out of the endless rhetoric about history and entitlement … or we can all die in a world that implodes … for real. This is not a computer game.

In my play, there is a high drama moment.

Is it Obama’s Inaugural speech? I’m not feeling that part. There are other options for the necessary dramatic combustion moment … and they would kill me.

Pearly Queen: This brush has been out all winter and has been colonised… All I’m seeing is  the actors getting down on their hands and knees with scrub brushes, attacking the white line with determination. They rub and rub and rub.

We are watching a national catharsis … up close and personal … . and it’s not Tina Fey “live from New York; on Saturday night”.

Between the lines … by kalurahThe stage hands brings new buckets and brushes. The white line has stained the floor badly for decades… and the actors must rub really hard … so hard their knuckles are raw and maybe even bloody.

The audience becomes restless and emotional. My play is working.

The stage hands respond, giving brushes to everyone in the audience, because the line actually runs down the stage, into the theater seats, out the front door onto West 44th Street, over to Eight Avenue, up to Harlem, across the Washington Bridge, onto Route 80, west to Scranton, then Denver, and finally into the Pacific. 

Red sky at dusk by Tracyhughes2_7We all start rubbing, down on our knees. We rub and rub and rub. This is hard work, but we are determined, so we keep scrubbing.

Latinos, Asians, Europeans … they all keep quiet, or pick up a brush. This really isn’t their play, sorry.

Paul Cook’s White LineEveryone in my play has three choices: silence and rubbing … or both … as the nation employs itself in a uniquely constructive physical activity.

I don’t know the end yet of my drama. I’ll sleep on it and get back to you.

Love, Anne