Philadelphia Metropolis


Waiting for the Storm

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As you may know, I am a budding playwright and my favorite genre is Theater of the Absurd, ala Samuel Beckett and Waiting for Godot.

Since you asked, I will give you a brief synopsis of my latest play.  I call it The Beach. As curtain rises we see two Nameless Men, standing on a beach, arguing over the best way to clean it up.  One talks about new and creative ways to get rid of cigarette butts.  The other, contentiously, dismisses this idea. He has a far better plan to get rid of the waste paper and other detritus..Waiting for Godot.jpg

Following the absurdist tradition, the interchange between the men is often obscure and sometimes pointless. While they argue, the beach slowly darkens. Storm clouds can be seen in the distance. The wind begins to pick up.

Soon, a third character - I call him The Clown - enters from stage left, a picture of consternation. 

consternation.  The nameless men must leave the beach, he says, because a fierce and devastating hurricane is bearing down on them, due to arrive within hours.

Of course, the nameless men ignore him. They chatter on and on about cigarette butts and waste paper and how beautiful the beach will be. Oblivious to the fact that the beach is about to be destroyed, they continue to argue.

Curtain falls on end of Act I.

In 225 words, that is a good summary of the latest debates between Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett, aka the Nameless Men, broadcast this week. 

While the media moderators (aka The Clown) asked our candidates for governor time and again about the perilous condition the state of Pennsylvania is in -- about the financial hurricane due to hit -- they pretty much ignored the question.

The state is going to have an estimated $4.5 billion deficit at the end of this fiscal year and all they wanted to do was talk about cigarette butts and trash.

The only nod to the coming storm that I heard came from Tom Corbett, who intoned in response to one question that "difficult decisions will have to be made."

You don't say..

Remember, though, this is political theater of the absurd. In the face of this huge deficit, Onorato talked about increasing the multi-billion dollar state subsidy to public schools and money for early childhood education.  Corbett, not to be undone, talked about tax cuts for businesses and renewed his pledge not to increase any state taxes if elected.

By the way, it wasn't for lack of trying that these two were able to avoid the topic. The moderators in both debates brought it up several times, but were unable to penetrate the fog of words the two emitted. Cigarette butts and trash.

It's a shame no one is paying much attention to this race.  The lack of attention by the voters - and also the media - has let both candidates get away with running a campaign without talking about (a) the coming crisis and (b) what exactly they intend to do about it.

It is the central issue this year and it is being ignored.

If elected, they will have to make those decisions - within weeks of taking office - about cutting state programs, reducing the payroll and/or raising taxes to fill the hole left by the recession and the sluggish economy. The hurricane is coming.  Pretending it is not does not lessen is speed, intensity -- or its reality. But, then, this is Theater of the Absurd.

As to Act II, I am still writing, but I can summarize the thrust of it.

Things are going to get ugly.


 -- TF



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