The opening line of Shakespeare”s play “Richard III” states that “It was the winter of our discontent.” That was back in the 16th century, and the following lines were meant to convey that the people’s long winter of suffering was coming to an end because of new leadership. But if that was a period of England’s discontent, the year 2012 appears to be engulfed in our summer of discontent. And there seems to be no end in sight.
It started with mind numbing heat clawing its way into a stranglehold throughout most of the mid-west, south and east coast. Temperatures in excess of 100 degrees took hold in much of the country including areas that are known for their sweltering humidity levels. Heat records were broken in most of the major cities throughout the affected areas. Combine more than 100 degree heat and high humidity levels and you get a picture of what the 9th circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno feels like. Then gigantic storms with near hurricane-like winds and rain come pouring down on these beleaguered sections of the the country, knocking down trees and limbs, which in turn knocked down power lines, which in turn meant no electricity for stuff we all take for granted like refrigeration and air-conditioning. More than 100 degree heat, high humidity, and no air-conditioning. And with proclamations being issued by the power companies that it would be days or even weeks before electricity was restored. Young people who had never known a life without air-conditioning were threatening to kill themselves if they had to go on living without their a/c. Is air-conditioning the greatest invention of all time? Or perhaps Skype is. I’m not sure.
Also, many areas affected by the record heat, but not hit with huge storms, are now, instead, afflicted by severe droughts. Shrubbery is turning brown, and leaves are falling off trees as if it were autumn and crunching under pedestrians footsteps. Prices of many fruits and vegetables grown in the afflicted areas will soon begin to soar. What’s particularly interesting, however, is that right-wing looney-tunesville seems to be unaffected by the extreme weather. Listen to Rush Limbaugh, or all the Rush wannabes on “talk-radio” (really hate radio), or watch Fox News, and there is complete denial that anything like climate change or global warming even exists. Or if it does exist, it certainly can’t be anything that man is causing. The immense tonnage of carbon dioxide that we spew into the Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis from burning fossil fuels such as coal an oil, can’t possibly be responsible for weather severity or rising ocean levels according to the mantra among the right-wing whacko set. Instead the call has gone forth to drill for more oil and for us to become even more dependent on fossil fuels. Mitt, The Dishonorable has already promised this when he becomes President next January.
Speaking of Romney, are we having fun yet, when we turn on the TV, only to be confronted with those obnoxious and mendacious political commercials. You know, the kind that wallows in mud- slinging, mean-spirited, vicious attacks on the other guy, with the truth be-damned. And this is only July. Wait until September and October when TV- land will be nothing but these gutter commercials. So since 2012 is an election year we can add one more reason for our summer of discontent. Of course, one always has the option of keeping the TV shut until after the election. Or at least recording everything in advance so you can fast-forward through the commercials. But that just seems like too much rational common sense to be a course of action. One other thing to keep in mind regarding those political commercials. A lot of them are being funded by the Koch brothers who are far right-wing industrial billionaires. They tend to be a little bit on the religious fanatical side, often providing financial support for right-wing dream causes, such as anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, his Mittness is the best candidate these billionaires could buy, and they expect to be richly rewarded for their investment when Romney takes his seat in the Oval Office.
The third leg of misery in this perfect trifecta of our summer of discontent, at least for those of us living in Las Vegas, is our own unique version of severe summer weather. Of course it’s well-known that temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are par for the course here from about mid-June thru mid-September. But up to about 105, the heat is reasonably tolerable, because after-all, it’s a “dry heat,” which means that when you go out-doors in that heat, you feel like an ant under a magnifying glass in the broiling sun. But now the temperatures are forecast to hit 110 and beyond, which puts additional severe strain on everything and everyone. People become noticeably short-tempered, especially if stuck in traffic with the sun beating down. Go to the store, or anywhere else where you have to leave your car parked in the sun, and you’ll be making a return trip to Dante’s Inferno mentioned earlier when you get back in. Air-conditioners are strained to the breaking point, and if they do break down, you will want to join those teenagers back east contemplating suicide for lack of a/c. Of course the casinos are nice and cool, with thermostats set at sub-artic levels, so residents join tourists in flocking to these hotels. It may be rather costly as one inevitably plays the slots once inside the casinos, but, I guess, a small price to pay for avoiding the unpleasantness of our summer climate.
Such are the rhythms of life in the year 2012. Perhaps the summer of our discontent will be followed by a winter of joy and plenty. Most likely not, however.