This month is usually quite pleasant. Summer is just around the bend. The warmer May weather perks up spirits and heralds the coming of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of this time of year, probably because many of us still associate them with our long-ago youth. After the usual long, dark winter that often features political turmoil and/or international brouhahas, as well as making all of us a bit surly at times, we’re now looking for things to lighten up a bit. But if the latest news is any indication, alas, we could be in for a tumultuous roller-coaster ride in the next few months.

The leading story at the moment playing out on virtually every type of news outlet, of course, is the ongoing New York courtroom saga pitting a former President of the United States against that city’s District Attorney. The jury has a lot of facts, figures, witness opinions, and personal bias to wade through in order to arrive at a verdict. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are sure a guilty or not guilty result would serve them best in the November election.

Concurrent with the start of the Trump trial in the beginning of this month was the uproar on college quads. Students, sympathetic professors, and perhaps just one or two outside agitators shut down normal operations on campuses across the country. Vociferously bellowed anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian sentiments were somewhat reminiscent of anti-war rallies of yesteryear (which would be ancient history to today’s students). Many parents and their kids differed greatly on similar protest actions back then. But I wonder what kind of conversations took place between undergrads and parents at the height of this most recent tumult.

PARENT: Let me get this straight. I’m paying $60,000 a year for you to sleep in a tent and yell things in support of something you know very little about?

STUDENT: It’s for a really important cause.

PARENT: Could you even find the Gaza Strip on a map? You’re a Biology major, for crying out loud.

STUDENT: But all my friends are doing it.

PARENT: You know your great-grandfather was Jewish, right?

STUDENT: Oh, yeah, I forgot.

I think just maybe the class of ’24 was a tad bit frustrated. I mean, these are kids who probably got their high school diploma handed to them through the car door window because of Covid in 2020. Then they started college online while living at home. Nobody got to enjoy a fraternity party or go on Spring Break or cut Psychology class and just throw a Frisbee across campus green space. Some pent-up emotion might finally have burst forth.

In other educational news, reports are the Chicago Teachers Union wants a new contract that calls for more than $50 billion in wage hikes, new migrant services and facilities, more LGBT-related requirements and training in schools, and a few other odds and ends. Naysayers to the proposal point out that only about 21% of the city’s 8th graders are proficient in reading. Not really even a passing percentage. If the proposal goes through the political process unscathed, apparently the average teacher’s pay in three years will be something like $144,000. Why, that amount might pay for the silence of, oh, I don’t know, a trial witness if needed.

Early May also saw an attempt by a, well, let’s say a firebrand Congressional representative from Georgia to oust the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, from his job. The vote on the motion was 359-43 in favor of the Speaker, not what you’d call a squeaker. But several people did get significant press exposure during the process.

And around that same timeframe Vlad “The Mad” Putin ordered his generals to stage tactical nuclear weapons drills because it seems he thought there were “provocative statements” from France, Britain, and, of course, the good ol’ U.S. of A. Meanwhile, Russia’s “two-day” war in Ukraine is well into year three with no end in sight.

Even with all the aforementioned news events and more going on in the world, Georgia’s two Senators made time to vehemently demand answers as to why our mail is consistently late. Both elected officials sent stern letters of outrage to the Postmaster General, but rumor has it the documents got lost somewhere in the postal maze. So, hey, maybe they’re on to something.

All this happening and we’re only half through May. I don’t know if that means we’ve gotten the heebie-jeebies out of our system early, or there’s much more to come. But I do know that once Memorial Day is here, I’m hitting the beach. SOMEONE has to maintain a sense of summertime normalcy.

©MMXXIV. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer