Suspicious Dreams

The other day, a dear friend told me, sounding very excited, that she had attended a thought-provoking fundraiser to support the candidacy of Democrat Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

“You would have loved it,” she wrote me. “If we succeed, we will go to Washington D.C., imagine that.”

She was right. As much as I try to deny it, I have seen and understood over the years that I am indeed a political animal. And Sanders, a former hippie and left-wing activist, would, in theory, be one of those who grew up with the ideals that we had cherished in the days of our youth, a last chance to contradict John Lennon, proving that “the dream is not over,” if you know what I mean, a minuscule chance, similar to the one that, in my opinion, Obama tragically wasted, with his platform of unity and change, which only resulted in a division that seems increasingly fierce. But I could be wrong.

The problem is that my friend was also wrong, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the event at all. Moreover, I am opposed to this whole speech that Bernie Sanders intends to keep alive, even though, deep down at the bottom, I see him as a less harmful alternative to “Hurricane Hillary” — don’t ask me where I got this metaphor from, because I don’t know, all I know is that it came to my mind and I accepted it.

I must confess. Since I came to the United States, I am becoming more conservative with each passing day, every day coming to trust more my husband’s point of view and less my own, tending to reject my previous, deluded ignorance of how things really work. Alan’s hit. Immersed at variable depths in daily American reality, I’ve been learning at a slow pace how to tell truth from propaganda, and I’m still far from reaching a complete understanding. Therefore, common sense dictates I should keep a low profile, rather than spreading around my misguided opinion, but I can’t make myself do it, I can’t keep myself confined to the four walls of this tiny apartment.

I must make it clear that I would not vote for anyone solely on the grounds of respect for the dominant minority. I would not vote for a woman, nor for a black or a gay person, as I would not vote for a Jew. Nor does it mean that I would opt for the white vote either, I mean, if it so happened that some woman, black, white or Jewish candidate managed to convince me that they were able to occupy the Presidency of the United States, voilà, they would not have my vote, for as a permanent resident I have no vote, no right to vote at all. But they would certainly have the support of my writing in chronicle after chronicle, even if I try to avoid it. Because, as you well know, consciousness speaks louder than the fear of being mistaken.

However, provided that I had enough information, I would have voted in a heartbeat against any endangering of the State of Israel, without scruples, since well above my loyalty to one country or nationality is my allegiance to the ancestry in which I was raised. Period. That, in an ideal Government, would put aside any attempt at the current diplomatic settlement with Iran, at least under the present conditions.

Therefore, in light of the latest revelation, what the heck does it mean “to allow Iran to inspect their own nuclear facilities?” No wonder Obama made a point of keeping secret the part of the deal that included such “conditions,” which leaked anyway, proving that the president might have been lying, as per his claims that this was the “most robust inspection regime ever negotiated peacefully.”

Let’s face it. There’s no way I would believe in being the first to extend a helping hand (if implied that I were some kind of superpower, with no real reason to fear smaller powers, less committed to the notion of justice, liberty and human equality, right?), much less to turn the other cheek in any situation, Jesus will have to forgive me. I no longer believe in the “civil” dreams of my youth either, although still keeping some very personal little dreams — rather useless, by the way — which help me move forward, because we humans are incorrigible.

The world has not been prone to dreamers lately, honestly. The only way out of this situation is to limit ourselves to our own ability to dream, to realize our private dreams; and that would not include by any means the global decisions about security, terrorism, economy and the constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness, something that John Lennon (I fact checked a few moments ago) describes very well in his verses: “I just believe in me, Yoko and me, and that’s reality,” the very same reality that took it all away from him a short time later. Likewise, I just believe in me, Alan and me, and that’s reality.

Yes. The truth is unbearable. As Lennon said, “We just have to move on, my friends, because the dream is over.”

Now figure that last Sunday Alan and I went to Asheville, a small town in North Carolina an hour away from Greenville. Once there, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was one of those cities I would have given my right arm to be living in during my youth, in my many travels around the world and to the United States. There were the street performers, people dressed exotically, the wonderful high-tech architecture of Urban Outfiters, incredibly fragrant teas and herbal shops, several vegetarian restaurants. The main street was filled with charming stores, fancy clothes, not to mention the beautiful interior design of the wine bar where we had a delicious lunch. In summary, a perfect refuge for (not so) mature hippies who still carry along their most cherished values and aesthetic parameters, imagine, just one hour from our Greenville.

Alan, himself a former hippie who later in life became a conservative, was quite moved. Back home, he went straight to Google to investigate, “maybe we should give up on Paris Mountain and buy a new property there.” After all, the odds are great that our future house will be our home for the rest of our lives, who knows. Why not live these last years, making the dreams of our youth come true?

But the simple truth is that, although it had been a delightful day, I’m not sure it would suit me to be in this “dream” day after day. I have acquired the tendency to protect myself from further disappointment, and according to this idea, it would be better to keep our beautiful property in Greenville, the less hippie and more cosmopolitan city where we glimpsed the same blue chain of mountains that attracted us in our first visit to South Carolina.

Am I right? Time will tell. Meanwhile, every time I decide that I want to go back in time and dream a little further, I already know the shortest path to travel. It suffices to spend the Sunday out there, an oneiric and lyric option that most certainly cannot be applied to the critical destiny of our insane world.



About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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