Aired December 29, 2012 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip:
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of December 30th, 2012.
Well, you certainly can’t say it was an uneventful year. It started with a bang, and went out with a bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, unfortunately. In between, we had our ups and downs, our tears for fears, our cheers for queers, and our jeers for emirs, but at least we’re here at the end of the year.
2012 was all politics, politics, politics. From January on, all you heard was, “Who will be the Republican frontrunner?” “How long will this week’s Republican frontrunner stay on top?” and, “How do you try to elect a new Republican president when the last Republican President was the worst thing to hit America since Eddie Murphy’s movie career?”
So the G.O.P. finally picked Mitt Romney, a man of the people – if your people happen to make 30 gazillion dollars. And he gains traction in the first debate, where Barack Obama had about as much charisma as my last podiatrist. Still, America went to the polls and showed that they believed in slow, steady recovery; social services and human rights, as opposed to: let’s give all the big corporations bigger tax breaks and hope they hire more part-time cashiers at ten bucks an hour. And wasn’t it fun watching Fox News on election night, seeing Karl Rove stare into the pit of a volcano and say, “Hey, feels chilly to me!”?
Also big in the news, the Arab spring quickly turned into Anarchy autumn. Syria’s having a blood-soaked civil war, Egypt’s on the brink of one, Iran is playing a game of chicken with nuclear weapons – and let me tell you, when it comes to nuclear weapons, I’m chicken. Al Qaeda decided to celebrate the 11th anniversary of 9/11 by killing American diplomats in Libya – really, towelheads, you could’ve sent a cake. And, of course, Israel and the Palestinians have been doing their little tango, which nearly led to full-out war with Hamas. Israel did over-react to the United Nations decision to grant the Palestinians “non-member observer status” in the organization. That’s pretty much like being invited to dine at the local Chinese take-out hovel – and they still give you a table next to the kitchen and make you use the gas-station toilet across the street. Israel built more settlements, but hey, it’s their land. They won the wars, they took the land, they can build condos. If the Arabs ever prove ready for true and lasting peace, and the Israelis are forced to trade for it, then you can knock down the settlements. Or at least take away their HBO.
Of course, at the end of the year, the news was dominated by psychopaths with semi-automatics. First some joker, who thought he was The Joker, walks into a Colorado movie theater and starts blasting. I mean, I know the popcorn was stale, but there are better ways. And then you had that animal in Newtown, Connecticut, firing a hundred rounds of ammunition into an elementary school classroom. He killed six teachers and twenty little angels. Well, they weren’t all angels. I have it on good authority that two of them were bullies and one of them had aspirations of becoming a lawyer – but still… What, too soon? Anyway, immediately, cries went up for reasonable gun control on assault weapons, and the National Rifle Association responded by saying we need more good guys and fewer crazy people. Wow. And we thought the NRA lived in a fantasy world.
I’m happy to say, though, that 2012 was a good year for the LGBTQPNMY community, as many elections proved favorable to the idea of same-sex marriage. I dunno what the big deal is; I’ve had the same sex in my marriage for twenty years. A few states also voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. I, myself, have never tried it, but I do think legalization is a good and long overdue idea. I just feel bad for cancer patients; they get one lousy perk, and now everybody’s in on it.
In October 2012, the East coast of the United States endured Hurricane Sandy, a punishing mix of wind and torrential rain that caused billions of dollars in damage. I remember telling my dear wife, Miriam Libby, “My God, look at how Sandy’s blowing.” And she replied, “Are you watching porn again?”
Speaking of sex, 2012 also saw a few men laid low because they were getting laid on the down-low. When football coach Jerry Sandusky would send his child athletes to the showers, it was punishment for them, but soapy fun time for him. I imagine he’s still having sex in the shower, but now it’s with 300-pound black men who use his tuchas for a garage. An Orthodox Rabbi of the Satmar sect, Nechemya Weberman, was also jailed on multiple counts of sexually abusing children. Which is horrible and despicable and sickening – and still preferable to listening to a children’s choir. And then there was General David Petraeus, who tanked a four-decade career because he took the woman who was writing his autobiography and made her the best chapter.
Meanwhile, women everywhere were devouring every chapter in “Fifty Shades of Grey” [insert Gilbert Gottfried audio clip]. Who knew every woman in America wanted to be submissive, and dominated and ordered what to do? So why the hell do I have to beg mine to clean the dishes?
In 2012, we also said farewell to Neil Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Ravi Shankar, Levon Helm, Robin Gibb, Davy Jones, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Etta James, Nora Ephron, Phyllis Diller, Andy Griffith, Ernest Borgnine, Mike Wallace, Gore Vidal, Hal David, Marvin Hamlisch, Horschack and Juan Epstein, George Jefferson, and, of course, George “Goober” Lindsay. And, as we approach the new year, we say goodbye to the eternal teenager, Dick Clark, who will have a New Year’s Rotting Eve. Too soon?
Yes, it was a tumultuous year, but far from the worst. And we approach 2013 with some optimism. A still-popular president, unemployment numbers and gas prices going down, the Rolling Stones are still rolling, Snooki’s a mom, and whichever 47 percent you are, let us all take heart that the most popular singer in the world right now is not an airbrushed babe or an “American Idol” or a navel-gazing rap star. It’s an overweight ethnic goofball with no discernable talent. So there’s hope for me!
In fact, there’s hope for all of us, because we survived the dreaded twelve/twenty-one/twelve – doomsday! The Mayans were looking at one of those cheap, knock-off sundials. It was a few minutes fast every day, so we’re safe for now; I wouldn’t take bets on 2017.
So I wish a most merry holiday season and much health, happiness and love in the coming year. As Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Or, if you don’t have change, be the whole dollar bill.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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