Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York (https://www.vinniesbrooklyn.com) is an inventive place that, among other creative concoctions, features a small, round pepperoni pie served in a square, custom box made out of pizza. But they’ve outdone themselves with their latest innovation, which has made the national news. Kindly, they checked with their delivery staff before offering it. Now, for $1 extra, the pizza delivery person will look the customer straight in the eye and say, “It’s going to be alright. You’re doing the best you can.”
As a friend pointed out, it echoes the message from 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich: “All will be well.” How desperately we long to hear that now, and how I wish our churches, mosques and synagogues had said it first. Isn’t that our business, to reassure people in the midst of terrible times, which are harder on some than we can even imagine? And why has Vinnie touched a chord, some deep yearning of so many? One answer might be the tone deaf lack of civility, even common courtesy, in the national leadership.
Another writer who seems to frame this longing is Elayne Griffin Baker. As she wrote in the newsletter of the Charlotte County Democrats 9/23/20
(www.charlottedems.com › no-joy-in-the-white-house)
“There is no literature or poetry in this White House. No music. No Kennedy Center award celebrations. There are no pets in this White House. No loyal man’s best friend. No Socks the family cat. No kids’ science fairs. No times when this president takes off his blue suit-red tie uniform and becomes human, except when he puts on his white shirt-khaki pants uniform and hides from Americans to play golf. There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment of relaxation. No Obamas on the beach in Hawaii moments, or Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape.
I was thinking the other day of the summer when George H couldn’t catch a fish and all the grandkids made signs and counted the fish-less days. And somehow, even if you didn’t even like GHB, you got caught up in the joy of a family that loved each other and had fun. Where did that country go? Where did all of the fun and joy and expressions of love and happiness go?
We used to be a country that did the ice bucket challenge and raised millions for charity. We used to have a president that calmed and soothed the nation instead of dividing it. And a First Lady that planted a garden instead of ripping one out. We are rudderless and joyless. We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make America great. We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness. The cheering on of others. Gone. The shared experiences of humanity that makes it all worth it. Gone. The challenges AND the triumphs that we shared and celebrated. The unique can-do spirit Americans have always been known for. Gone. We have lost so much in so short a time.”
One of my favorite non-violent acts of resistance was the Australian choir who broke into Parliament as they debated getting embroiled in the Iraq war. The choir sang lamentations. That might be a good choice for us right now.