Since I teach high school, I'm privy to all sorts of insane, dramatic fears that sweep through society, cause emotions to run high, and disappear just as quickly. I've survived the Zayn leaving One Direction madness, which caused millions of teenage girls to wail and gnash their teeth with abandon. More recently, the clown scare has gripped the daily existence of many. "Are they really killing teens?" my students ask, with dread in their usually hopeful eyes. I read stories of people keeping their kids home from school (not in my district, but in other places) because a clown may or may not have been sighted in the vicinity. I'm the first to admit that clowns are creepy AF (to steal a saying from the kids). They stare, they have too many teeth. However, on the bright side, they can be rounded up in a single police car! (ba dum bum)
I'm not afraid the clowns will kill us all, and in a way I'm enjoying the distraction from the real circus going on in our country. By this I mean the election. Just when I think it can't get worse, it does. Just when I think I can't dislike the candidates any more than I already do, I'm proven wrong. I'm not sure what it says about our country that out of hundreds of millions of people, these clownish ones are the only choices. Yes, I know there are others on the ballot, but let's get real. Only in my wildest fantasies will a third party candidate win this particular election, though I do hope the horror show unfolding before me will cause the implosion of the major parties and allow something new to rise from the ashes, not unlike a beautiful Phoenix. The ugly division I see unfurling across social media and across tables of friends is frightening to me. Each side is so convinced they are right all civility has been thrown aside. Ugliness abounds as neither side seems capable of tolerance of the other side. Relationships are being destroyed. People are being unfriended over the posting of meaningless memes on Facebook. It makes me sad, like I'm living out Pagliacci (or at least Crazy Joe Devolo's version) every day. I'm petrified to share my own political leanings, because my friends are way more important to me than which ghastly candidate wins this joke of an election. Recently, I've realized my reticence is taken by some as a tacit (silent, sad clown-ish) endorsement of Trump. Or of Clinton. Depends on the crowd I'm with at the time. Why is it that if I don't wish to share what I'm thinking, people assume I disagree with them, and therefore must be a moron?
I love politics and have always met election seasons with glee bordering on psychotic. For the first time in my adult life, I'm face with two candidates I cannot conceive of voting for. So I mock them both equally, and try to listen to both sides, hoping that someone will say something that makes sense to me - not loaded words or rumor or hyperbole. I hope it happens soon, as election day is only a month away. The song that goes, "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you..." runs through my head and pretty much sums up how I'm feeling these days and about this. I think most people are in the middle and feeling like no one in government represents them. It's time to send out the clowns and take back sanity.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.