Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'm Trying Not to Curse In Writing

Why for flowers' sake can't the government - at any level - do its job? I hire people to work in the government by my vote. I provide feedback via my voice and my choices and I evaluate my government representatives on their performances by my observation. My observation is that they suck pink petunias.

The federal government is engaged in a childish repartee on just about every issue of import which can be boiled down to: 'If you're not on the red team I'm not going to let you play with my jump rope' and 'If you're not on the blue team I'm going to tell everybody you eat your boogers'. That makes about as much sense as pickles do.

My state government is so defunct they won't even show up to work anymore. The strategy there? 'I know you are but what am I?'. The employment of that strategy is about all the two sides have in common and, for that matter, about all the employment they give a solid whit about anyway. So smart, then, that most of those microphone-dandruff factories ended up running uncontested in the primaries.

Locally, my city government operates like the storyline in a twisted Cat in the Hat, without the playful Thing 1 and Thing 2 to entertain. 'I stole from you here to pay for them there. The money's not in this pot and we're not sure where. You can suck it up or take your lumps. No other choices, you sniveling chumps.' Someone ought to give the job back to the fish.

The government is supposed to work for me. It's supposed to consider the green-goodness nominee for the supreme court and vote. It's supposed to implement a mother-flapping budget that does the best it can with the resources its got. It's supposed to fund the feather-loving public schools and make sure our kids have qualified teachers with all the plum-picking materials they need to teach.

None of the bug-catchers in government are doing any of that sunshine but they are all still getting paid.

So what to do? I'm asked often if I could or would run for public office. I've considered it, I won't lie. But first - I actually stunk it up pretty good when I was responsible for a small community organization not too long ago. Turns out I am no better than purple crayons at building consensus among warring factions. I don't have the patience? (I was shocked, as I'm sure you are.)

And second - and more importantly - I honestly don't think I could be incompetent enough to get along with all these spoiled, self-serving, low-ambition, uninspired thumbtacks who currently work as public servants. I'd have to stop working myself. I'd have to bloviate endlessly about how other people were making it hard for me to get off my lazy, well-dressed-on-the-public-dime duffle bag to do something. Anything!

So in protest, I'm about to not work on Friday so I can put on a red shirt and walk around in circles trying to get these these lower-than-wet-lint-intellect, full-time bunters to notice that I'm ticked so that they'll do their jobs. Do you love this? I'm doing nothing to get them to notice that nothing's getting done. I've become a character in the mother-flowering-good-for-nothing comic book that is our government's profile page! This is why every-pumpkin-loving-thing is so full of caterpillar doodle! Because we have to not make sense in order to communicate with the people we hired to make sense of things in the first place. What the broken-milk-carton sense does that make??

I think I'm just going to go back to cursing.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

It's Worth Celebrating Every Day

I commented to a friend recently that I never feel confident contributing to his Facebook discussions on religion. His acquaintances are so scholarly, so perfect in their recollection of chapter and verse in every context. It's intimidating. So usually, I stay away.

I feel the same way about church. I'm a doubter, a persistent one, and at least among my Catholic brothers and sisters, that's not super popular. I am intimidated by their righteousness, especially when I don't see honor in so much of what is done outside of church.  So I stay away.

But not too far away. In fact, I remain tethered in this straddled position because this is where I feel nearest to my faith and most focused on the work of living its truth as I see it. And from this conflicted yet confident place, I've been looking upon Easter this year with wonder. Wondering how many times I must celebrate with greatest amazement something I've known all my life. It's like having a surprise party every single year on the same day for forty-some years. Doesn't it feels a little silly to shout "SURPRISE!" year after year? It does to me, anyway, but I think we're conceding here that I'm not the gal you should be following.

And then, as He always does, the good Lord just dropped himself into my living room (sometimes He shows up in other rooms, the room is not important, the dropping - focus on the dropping in). I sat down this morning and checked my Facebook page for scintillating updates on all things Buzzfeed and cat related and instead, I found a video my friend had posted on her page.

It showed how hidden cameras reveal 'thieves' and 'gangs' and others in acts they believe to be hidden. A young girl 'stealing' a kiss. A 'gang' helping a stuck car get moving again. A man risking himself to push someone off the tracks before a train barrels by. A man dancing in the street to an unheard tune. So often, too often, we use cameras to capture one another's faults, our sins. But here was this montage of hidden goodness, kindness, joy, the love that Jesus taught us being practiced every day all around the world, with no reward but the having done it because it was good and right.

I believe that one of the purposes of Jesus' life was to provide an example of how love can overcome any obstacle - sin, pain, hunger, even death. It was an example of turning toward love, into kindness, giving over every doubt in another's worthiness so as to only have room to carry compassion for him. But the example written is not enough, the example spoken, same. A person must see and feel, must experience in their own lives, these examples of love in order to truly understand them.

We do. I was reminded just now that we do. And that is why we rejoice. His love is in us, with us, and all around us, and that is worth celebrating every day.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Farther From the Block

Among the middle row of buildings on the east side of the street

In an anonymous neighborhood at the edge city's heat

Women on the sidewalk, watch their children play

Men across the fence lines, share a beer with stories of the day.

Children laughing, scrambling, ne'er among them all a fear

In backyards blowing out their candles and, with them, all the years. 

As time has passed they have all moved, far, and farther from the block.

None has lived for ages there, tho forgotten is the clock

For as long a time may pass between the days from there to here

As far as any of them stretches, their family keeps them near.

Go and marry! Graduate and fly.

Home is where we are together, as we will be by and by.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Just to Recap: I'm No Farmer

Let's not kid ourselves. We choose the fear monger not by accident; he is openly wrapped in a message we hear quite clearly. We choose him anyway, and taunt the man who prays to God as he steps unchosen from the podium.

We choose the pragmatist over the absurd idealist. She who, for her troubles, is not unique in subordinating her own ambitions for her husband's gain. There's nothing 'first' about that, actually.

The chosen waver, align and realign, fuse and then detach, so as to poll and champion. 'Evolving' they call it. There are other words.

Closer to home we allow the vagrant, absentee, power-sick phenoms of our local legislature to coast largely uncontested toward yet another term of paid incompetence. Then we parade a righteous outrage.

Now this. A good and fine American brother, after a
career comprised of exercised restraint for the greater good of his country, is told he cannot be heard, he cannot be considered because his patron is not in favor. The country should wait.

The country should wait? For what?

The democracy has been lamed by its own success. A generation or two removed from the hunger, cold, and fright of our immigrant experiences we no longer understand or appreciate the fragility of our experiment. It requires constant care, nurture, and tend. We must sacrifice for it, we must treat it as treasure. Instead, we are weak. We are not willing to be hungry or cold - not for our own gain and certainly not for another's. We won't even be bothered to hear a man speak.

By our choices we are redefining America, what it means to be American. The bitterest of ironies is knowing we are the architects of our own failed harvest. Barely we vote, hardly we care, we speak to one another in spits and ill-informed memes, no one listens anyway.

And so we reap. I dare say we should find the fruit too sour to take.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Yes and No

I'm decidedly undecided. On the one hand, I'm glad to say that bigotry and boorishness thinly disguised as foreign policy and economic proposals did not get greeted with meek acceptance in my hometown. On the other hand, I continue to be devastated by the absolute vulgarity of the process by which we are supposed to be reviewing candidates for the presidency of the United States.

I don't care that the baseness is associated with one party or another. Both parties are American. The voters are American. The process is uniquely and entirely American. So is this who we are now?

My family is both Republican and Democrat. I say that because on 9/12/2001 there was absolutely no distinction in any of our minds as to who was American and who wasn't. We were all American and despite the despicable and intentional division that both parties continue to nurture before and since then, we are still all American brothers and sisters.

If you're not a Republican in this cycle and you are relishing in the disgustingness of this process, shame on you.  This is bad, bad, bad for the democracy. If you are a Republican, no more, but no less shame. You should be glad to lose if winning means any one of the cretins currently using your name should win.

Our next president will have been vetted through this process. And the ones that come after this will be those who don't get caught in this madness by accident or fate. No, the next round will be those who choose it. The one who wins that contest will be a person who looked at this discount-carnival-show and said, 'Yes, that suits me just fine.'

Is that who you want? You want that person to speak for all of us on the world stage? You want that person to be the one who demonstrates our greatness, a term which now causes guffaws in most circles when it's uttered about our country?

The best among the candidates on both sides is not particularly great, folks. So while I'm glad that the worst among them didn't get a chance to spew his spit and sputter here, I'm no more comforted in how truly terrible the situation has become. I'm not sure I can celebrate. I'm not sure we've won anything worth winning.