Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I loved putting up glittery bats and watching monster-chiller-midnight horror movies.
Not this year.
The world is too scary. Politics is too scary. Horror is all too real.
When I was a kid, on October 31st, my older brother put on a vinyl CD of Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” that he had meticulously cleaned. The eerie music was used by Walt Disney in a segment of his animated masterpiece Fantasia about the surreal celebration of evil on Halloween.
Chernobog, the lord of evil and death, cloaked in a dark cloak, stands on a jagged peak, calling ghosts, witches and vampires to swirl from the mountain and pay their respects. I was so relieved when at dawn the church bells rang and dismissed them.
But now the evil spirits lurk around us. They will not be deported.
America seems haunted by random violence and casual cruelty every day. In New York, subway riders are pushed onto the tracks and innocent bystanders are shot. Officials across the country are dealing with kidnapping plots, armed visits to their homes, assaults and death threats. Nowhere seems safe, from parks to schools to the guarded, supposedly impenetrable Capitol, and homes of the rich and famous.
In some countries, women – and girls – who seek abortions are treated as criminals. In Volda, Texas, panicked kids frantically calling the police are slaughtered by a teenage psychopath with an AR-15 style rifle while 376 officers linger in and around the elementary school waiting for… what?
On Friday, the New York Post broke the news that someone I know, Sarah Feinberg, a former Obama official and former president of New York City Transit, was savagely punched in the face in Chelsea by someone walking in the bike lane.
Now comes news of a maniac who broke into a house in the middle of the night, hitting an 82-year-old man in the head with a hammer while demanding to know where his famous wife is. A perfect meal for a Halloween movie. But it really happened.
America seems haunted by random violence and casual cruelty every day. In New York, subway riders are pushed onto the tracks and innocent bystanders are shot.
One of the most macabre stories to come out of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and democracy announced by Donald Trump was when the mob roamed the halls, banging on the speaker’s door with blood-curdling taunts of “Where’s Nancy?”
Speaker Pelosi was not there, thank God. She huddled with other senior officials in a secure bunker, calling for help that came slowly.
Luckily, she was safe, in DC with her security detail, when a man broke into her Pacific Heights home in San Francisco early Friday morning. He smashed the glass door of the balcony and attacked her husband, who struggled with the attacker for control of the hammer. In a tingling echo of January 6, the man yelled at Paul Pelosi, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” When police arrived, the man said he was “waiting for Nancy.”
Paul Pelosi, a genius investor who likes to star in amateur musicals and has been married to Nancy for 59 years, called 911, the New York Times reported, bringing police to his home and potentially saving his life. He was hit several times on his hands and head with a hammer and was taken to the hospital for surgery due to a fractured skull and is expected to recover.
The police said that the burglar was David DePap, a 42-year-old man from Berkeley, California. CNN reported that DeFap’s relatives confirmed that a Facebook account spewing Trumpian conspiracies on topics ranging from climate change to COVID was his. In his posts, he questioned the validity of the 2020 election – sharing the pillow-pushing and Trump-licking Mike Lindel’s farcical videos. And he defended the Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol.
With his usual level of class, Donald Trump issued a message of sympathy to the family of Jerry Lee Lewis, the “killer” of rock and roll, who died on Friday at the age of 87, but said nothing all day about the Pelosi family.
On Twitter, Dr. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois urged GOP candidates and elected officials to speak out against the “horrific” attack. He apparently didn’t have in mind the kind of comments made by Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia. Youngkin made a joke about the assassination attempt: “There is no room for violence anywhere, but We’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”
Democrats had a nice run, on climate change and gun legislation, and enjoyed a backlash against the dark prince of the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito. Now it looks like Republicans are poised to win back the House, and possibly the Senate, with an array of incompetent and hypocritical candidates.
“I don’t believe anybody would vote for these people,” Pelosi told The New York Times’ Carl Hulse on a fundraising spree.
But a wild mood took over. If you think Washington is a monster now, just wait.
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