A look at the news over a cup of coffee is absurd and disheartening and makes the coffee taste bitter.
Violence racks London , with “little unifying cause,” possibly motivated by cuts to public spending, the paper reports. As rioters burn down their own communities, including a 100 year old family run furniture store, a 26 year old in the process of looting a small convenience store is quoted as saying, “This is the uprising of the middle class. We’re redistributing the wealth.” The wealth they were redistributing at the convenience store? Chocolate bars and ice cream cones.
A local resident shoots a would-be attacker, in an Applebee’s parking lot – 4 times. The attacker was armed, and so was the victim’s companion. Mixed feelings there, but not what I’d consider a “feel good” story, especially when the shooter says, “I’ve only had practice doing casual shooting, as a hobby. It’s completely different using it in a situation like this.” While I’m glad the “good guy” persevered here, I’m not sure how I feel about someone who only practiced “casual shooting” as a hobby, whipping out his .380 in a parking lot. And firing it four times.
Texas governor Rick Perry hosted a national “prayer rally” a few days ago. Leaving aside whether the practice of “prayer” should be put into the context of a “rally”, the obvious association between his bid for the presidency and a large public religious event, made “The Response” seem neither sincere nor sacrosanct. And if we are judged by the company we keep, I hope voters seriously consider Gov. Perry’s “Response” companions , who include:
- Rev. Mike Bickle, who has suggested Oprah Winfrey is a “forerunner of the harlot movement” (?) and an omen of the Apocalypse.
- John Benefiel, who believes the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol.
- Rev. John Hagee, who believes God used the Nazi Holocaust to encourage Jews to return to Palestine.
- Rev. Cindy Jacobs who believes the mass deaths of blackbirds in Arkansas earlier this year was somehow associated with the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.”
While those clowns were pretending to speak to God for the good of America, the State of America’s Children 2011 report was released with sorrowing figures:
- The number of children living in poverty is up by 4 million since 2000
- The number of homeless children at public schools has increased more than 40% between the 2006-07 and 2008-09 school years alone.
- A majority of children across all ethnicities and races cannot read or do math at grade level.
Get down on your knees Rick Perry and pray for things that matters, with people who really care, not pandering fools.
And of course our economy’s tanking, thanks to a Congress unable to act like grown-ups and live within our means, or hold itself responsible to the people it serves, instead of serving its own private agendas.
I read the news and it makes my heart ache, so I sit outside on the covered patio and watch a storm come in. Drought-ridden Texas would like such a storm as this, and so would Somalia. I can smell the rain, feel it as the air around me sweetens and cools. There’s little breeze, so the rain, when it comes, pours straight down, lightens, pours again, and soon everything is a-drip. The light around me is soft and flat.
A storm I can understand, despite the native chaos of weather. I can understand the logic of the science behind it. No machinations of man here; just the unstoppable science of meteorology. Lightning flashes, thunder peels, rumbles off into the distance. I remember watching thunderstorms roll across the Black Hills in South Dakota a few years ago, where I marveled at the play of sound across the mountaintops. There’s nothing like thunder and lightening to put man in his proper place.
We probably don’t deserve to be here, although that will probably resolve itself soon enough. We don’t know how to use our resources well, how to build peaceful global communities, how to care for each other, how to resolve our differences, how to build on our commonalities, how to work together for the good of all.
But I do so dearly love it here, fools and all, because the people I know aren’t fools. And because I know there are a lot more people like us, who care, who see, who want to make a difference, who believe in a better future and are willing to work together to make it happen.
I think more of us are drawn together in admiration of the power of nature, of big storms, and beautiful sunsets, of ocean vistas and mountain tops, and rolling rivers and crashing waterfalls, of sun dappled forests, and vast meadows and fields, of thundering herds of deer or antelope or wildebeest or caribou, in celebration of good crops and bountiful fishing, and harvest filled tables, and the pleasure of sturdy beautiful shelters filled with our strong healthy families, happy children and dear friends.
We don’t have to keep waiting. Right now we can say no to violence, no to the nonsense of preachers co-opting the sacred for personal gain, and spreading intolerance and hate in the name of God. We can say no to our representatives serving party lines instead of us, and no to conditions of poverty and ignorance. Somewhere in the middle of all this is a place where can all stand together, and work together for the common good.
One Day can, and must be, Now.