I've been thinking a lot about Passover lately, with the seders coming up soon.

When I was a kid one of my favorite parts of the seder was reading the ten plagues. Something about them was exciting - maybe because of the portrayal in The Ten Commandments, maybe because they seemed so magical and mysterious, maybe just because I like frogs, I'm not sure. At the time I did not understand how horrible they were or how much the people suffered.

Like all of us, I am starting to understand now. The story seems particularly resonant here in the US where we have a president who so closely mirrors the Pharaoh of that story - venal and cruel, blind to the suffering of his people, more concerned about the economy than the well-being of his people... We don't have slaves anymore, but we do have an oppressed underclass who are particularly vulnerable, and sadly there does not appear to be any sort of mezuzah that will protect them or any of us this time.

I don't know what will finally get through to the government here. It might well take an illness or death within the president's immediate family or inner circle just as it took the slaying of Pharaoh's first born. Even then I have little faith that anything can get past the selfishness, cruelty, and stupidity that we are seeing.

We are all suffering. Even if we had actual leadership, even if we had a functioning healthcare system, even if we had a social safety net, we would still be suffering. In the absence of these things... well it is very scary.

Right now I would gladly trade all of this to be overrun with frogs.