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Are You There, Godot?

by on February 10, 2015

                                                      Are You There, Godot?                     

                                                         by Marco M. Pardi

Note: All comments are appreciated, read, and responded to accordingly.  The comments sections for all previous articles have been opened for use.  I will certainly look forward to your comments. 

“I am as a voice crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the (insert cause here).”  Rendered in various iterations throughout the Bible.

One of the first “big words” I learned was iconoclast. I learned it because it was so often directed at me by authority figures, in unfriendly tones.

Some people, particularly my wife, note that I spend a considerable amount of time at my computer each day.  They are correct. At a minimum, I read, sign and send 100 petitions each day, often reaching near 200.  These range in subject from climate change to animal protection to women’s issues and children’s issues. During election seasons I submitted uncounted petitions, declarations of support and statements of protest.

But as I sit here pondering carpal tunnel syndrome I wonder about the effect.  Yes, I do get the occasional email announcing “We did it!”, and like a dog trained to respond to intermittent reward I keep on sending.  My presence, at least in the form of an email, has appeared locally, nationally, and as far abroad as Bumfuckistan.  My inbox is speckled with “Thank you for contacting – fill in Official here -” and the assurance that I may call anytime.  But I’m beginning to submit to secretions of realism from glands that regulate my behavior.  I live in a solidly Republican State.  That means that any win by one vote is a mandate; there is no other side to the equation, there is, therefore, nothing else to consider.  

Even in my youth, however, my intent was not so much to win as it was to introduce other perspectives for consideration.  Winning is hollow when the other side is so dim it cannot recognize it. At an early age my brother cautioned acquaintances, “Don’t get into an argument with Marco.  You won’t understand what he says, but you will love how he says it.”  But while never a form over function kind of person, I did try to develop a delivery system which triggered hoped for responses.   

Delivery system development manifested in different forms,  mainly written and oral but also visual. As a young boy I was fascinated with rocketry, though never able put the fantasies in motion.  Still, my mind saw those imaginary home made rockets blasting into space, going intrepidly on and being welcomed, somewhere, somewhen.  A curious life form on another world picking it up and wondering, considering, developing a new perspective on their hitherto insulated world.  Communication is more than just talking.   

On our return from Italy we stayed in a hotel suite across from the Cleveland Museum of Art while my family looked for a home to purchase.  Looking down at the museum I thought of the many works of art within, speaking to each other across the empty rooms after closing time.  After all, they spoke to me whenever I visited.  And, as night fell I watched the transmission tower of a radio station, red beacon light blinking as unseen words and music flowed forth.  Around that time I learned that radio waves “go on forever, only diminishing in strength but never fading completely.”  The very air, then, was filled with cross currents of talk, notes of music, but who was listening?

Years later, walking through the antenna farm atop an ICMB Launch Control facility I felt my hair rise and the air become electric as the antennas sent outgoing messages from the Launch Control Capsule 60′ under the earth to Chrome Dome, the airborne C-135 Strategic Air Command command post cruising beyond sight above our entire missile wing.  I doubted they were exchanging impressions of the chow.  Of course, my own days and nights were filled with radio transmissions back and forth, some clear text but most coded, with people I never laid eyes on.  Never a name spoken, and the protocol was flat and clear delivery.

In the mid 1970’s I was the host of a 2 hour nightly call in radio talk show, a complicated ruse designed and developed by a group of people.  Still, I did it, and thought of that station antenna I saw from the hotel window so many years before.  But I actually was on the air the night Elvis died.  The multiple phone lines were solidly lit and the calls could be summed up as, “The ka-ying is da-id, an’ ah’mona git me a bottle an’ git dronked.” After a solid hour of this I reached for the microphone key but saw movement in my peripheral vision.  The station engineer was frantically waving through the sound proof glass and holding a paper fresh off the teletype.  Leaving yet another caller to drool and moan through the airwaves, I went over to the glass and read that a talk show host in Ohio had made a derogatory remark about Elvis and 1,500 people had surrounded the station.  Wow. At least someone was listening. I had been about to key in and ask if anyone out there thought he was a drug addled, has been, slob.  I’ll never know what a crowd I might have drawn. Pity.

I’ve known people who dedicated themselves to bettering our social system.  Some, like Dianne, have had remarkable successes through constructive hard work.  Others seem like anachronisms, protestors from the 1960’s who have aged, but still employ tactics which arouse the thought, “crying in the wilderness”.

While writing this my email inbox is clicking with many more petitions, and one We Did It.  So I switch back and forth, writing this and signing that.  But what is a petition?

Simply put, it is just that; it is an ask, albeit often couched in a template of dissatisfaction.  Some mistakenly see these as votes.  They are not.  Nor are they binding upon the recipient.  I doubt my multiple petitions to stop the slaughter of dogs for glove leather or for consumption will have much, if any effect.  Nor will the multitude of other petitions I sign. I’m quite certain, living in the afore described Republican State, my petitions will not have much, if any effect on issues of women’s right to choose or on the health of children.  Speaking out is effective only when someone is listening and is willing to consider the ideas presented.  I do not see that in business. I do not see that in much, if not most of our politics.  I laugh, or rather snort, when politicians speak of listening to the voice of the people.  The ballot box, rigged as it is by the Supreme Court decision to allow dark money, counts to some degree.  Petitions, not so much.

Still, my inbox is calling me.  I’ve signed about 25 while writing this, and will sign an unknown number before sleep tonight.  So, while I’m not “gonna git me a bottle”, I am going to sign off now to switch over to the long list of waiting petitions.  I’m like that.  Give me a We Did It once in a while and I’ll keep coming back.

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7 Comments
  1. Dana permalink

    Marco, it is the rare victory that keeps me signing. Granted, I do sign with reluctance sometimes, knowing it is very likely nothing positive will transpire. This morning it was a petition related to discrimination in Georgia.

    On a side note, sonething else I do try to keep up with daily is Care2’s “Click to Donate.” I’m so glad you told me about this.

  2. Thank you, Dana. Hopefully, our cloud of responses might make a difference. And, yes, I do hit the donate button to provide food daily. That’s one of the more satisfying sites around.

  3. How I enjoyed this post ! I am in awe of the little boy realizing that works of art are talking to each other at night and that ” The very air, then, was filled with cross currents of talk, notes of music, but who was listening? ” This is my kind of world 🙂
    As for petitions, I certainly do not sign as many as you do (that is really many, by the way !!), but I do sign most of those that come or are sent my way and especially those regarding animals in general, and yes, Marco, dolphins too , dolphins especially !!! They fill with joy my dream world ! ( and yes, I got your `dolphins dont belong to Japan` picture 🙂 )
    As a P.S., I would like to say that I also enjoyed so much listening to your radio interview and have posted it on my FB Timeline, hoping my friends will enjoy it too.

    • Thank you so much, FOAL. Without doubt, our names have appeared together in many places and few would guess the connection between the two. I’m glad you enjoyed, and posted the interview. Hopefully, people will exchange thoughts on these perspectives. Marco

  4. Like the rest of you, my inbox in inundated with pleas to sign this or donate to that. During the elections, I got an average of twenty or more “please donate” mailings from political candidates; some quite rude in their attitude. I soon learned to delete them without reading, and while that probably means I missed the opportunity to help some person or cause I might otherwise have supported, it was just altogether too much. I do still sign a few petitions, mostly animal and women or children’s rights, but I’m afraid I’ve become numb to the mass of it all. I do feel guilty for not signing some of them, but it is a never ending stream of need, and I do give my support to what means the most to me.

    • Thank you, Rose. Glad you enjoyed the title, as I thought you would. Yes, we are suffering petition overload. I’ve signed more Citizens United petitions than there are citizens. We are getting petition overload. I’ve begun to distrust those that automatically open to a donation page.

  5. It took me a minute to understand your title reference, but when it finally came to me I had to laugh. What a perfect reference to a fruitless endeavor!

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