WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE??
I’ve written before about the play, “Waiting for Godot,” by Samuel Beckett. I love it. As I mentioned, I played Vladimir, “the serious one” in college in an all-girl cast and although I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff in the last few decades, I’ve never forgotten my lines to “Waiting for Godot.” So when last week’s events regarding the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare erupted in full, I wasn’t surprised that once again they floated into my mind and …won’t float out. Here are a few of them:
“To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears. But at this particular place, at this particular moment in time, all mankind is us - whether we like it or not. Let us do something! Let us represent worthily, for once, the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us! Whattaya say?!”
“Estragon,” my sidekick in the play, simply shrugs, groans and says nothing. So I continue. “Oh, it is true that when we weigh the pro’s and con’s we are no less a credit to our species. The tiger leaps to the help of his congeners or else slinks back into the thicket. But that is not the question. What are we doing here??? That is the question. And we are blessed in this: That we happen to know the answer. Yes! In this immense confusion, one thing alone is clear: We are waiting for Godot to come. Or…for night to fall. And that is an end to that.”
Then, overtaken by the futility of actually trying to “do something for once,” something worthy, something to actually help those who desperately need it, I choke up.
And interestingly enough, that brings us to Senator John McCain. McCain, a Republican, did something extraordinary. He had the courage to cast the vote that in the end, might have provided the impetus, the guts, the energy to turn the tide and secure the failure of the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, and in the process, enable millions of Americans and their families to continue to get the healthcare they so desperately need.
Yes, there are “miles to go” before that tale will be told. But thanks to Senator McCain, there is a spirit in the air that will help fuel the effort.
McCain, in that moment of “deciding,” became for me, a true hero – a man who did what he considered “the right thing,” regardless of the likelihood of alienating the members – and no doubt some friends – of his own party.
But what are we doing here? In the end, what difference will it make? Every now and then life gives us a shot at answering that question, of actually making a decision, taking a stand, putting ourselves on the line…casting a vote… and as Senator McCain did, living up to our own core beliefs.
The good news is, there are plenty of opportunities for us to do just that. Almost every day presents us with choices to make; with questions to answer, like, “Wait, who am I? I mean, at the core? What the heck do I stand for? What will I fight for?”
So let’s take the stand. Make the choice…and the difference. And on any given day, know the answer to the question, “What am I doing here?!”
Thanks a lot, Senator McCain.