July 27, 2011


Having finished a number of obligations, I have allowed myself the pleasure of beginning a new novel, Haruki Murakami’s book “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

I’ve read enough of his work to recognize his style — which is similar to director Alfred Hitchcock’s. The latter liked to take the familiar and make it menacing.  Think of Mt. Rushmore as an escape route, or an innocent cornfield as a setting for attempted murder and you have the beginning of scenes that terrify. Murakami plays with our head in the same way. In “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World the bizarre begins with an elevator that operates so slowly one isn’t sure whether it’s moving up or down or moving at all.

Anomalies like these are the stuff of good suspense as long as they remain fiction. In real life most of us crave stability and want to believe we have control over our destinies. What we don’t want is for the ordinary world to become so extraordinary it threatens us, like a stranger’s smile that grows so broad it becomes a grimace.


Lately, I’ve watched as normal scenes of political bickering have morphed into a war that has paralyzed the nation. A slim but powerful few seem prepared to throw us into another recession and send financial shock waves throughout the rest of the world. And for what? A single, narrow principle. Such people are terrorists, no different than a man or woman who straps a bomb across the chest and walks into a school to blow up the innocent. These men and women are dangerous zealots, not statesmen. A democracy that thrives on diverse opinions cannot long endure the tyranny of a single ideology. The time has come for us to remember who runs this country. Let us raise our voices in protest and remember the power of the ballot box. Only we the people can save us.