Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Disparate Thoughts on a Wednesday

I don't really keep up with blogging anymore, but decided to throw something up here today only because what was running around in my mind seemed like the makings of something more than would fit into a standard Facebook post.

Last night was the State of the Union address.

I tried watching, but couldn't. I make no apologies for giving up. The empty posturing and partisan buffoonery gets to be too much for me. Anyway, I'd DVR'd MasterChef Junior and wanted to see who made the cut before turning in for the night. I think I chose the better part: #SOTU: Same Old; The Usual. #MasterChefJr: Cutest thing ever.

During the speech, though, while watching the other show, I followed social media. A Facebook page or group which I followed once and forgot about, or to which I was added without asking, was posting some thoughts vis a vie a "pro-life" perspective. The speech gave a platform for reminding people about tomorrow's fateful anniversary: Roe v. Wade, the crime against humanity disguised as a Supreme Court decision which has allowed for the unjust slaughtering of so many millions of unborn children since the winter of 1973. I can't remember whether it was the page's post or a comment, but one of the points made was that "this is why elections matter." 

And that's true.

I went out this morning for coffee with all of this on my mind, and right at the corner of the main drag on which I live intersecting with the other main drag that runs close by was a makeshift memorial comprised of a bunch of t-shirts on a PBC-pipe-built makeshift display. Each shirt contained a name and a date, and an age to go along with the name. A sign notified passers-by of what the memorial recognizes: victims killed with illegal guns in Philadelphia. The memorial is being hosted by an African American church.

Arriving back from my coffee run, I checked social media again and found another post by the same outlet mentioned previously. It had a link to a DC weather forecast for tomorrow, and noted the chilly weather that those attending the annual March for Life could expect.  It encouraged people to bundle up, and also had some language celebrated the undaunted courage and resilience of those who undertake this public witness every year in spite of all kinds of adverse weather. And yes, I admit, it is admirable.

But this reminded me of another thing I'd seen - or, well, really hadn't seen, alas - while out on my coffee run this morning. The route took me by several places where street people set up. One gets so used to seeing it that one doesn't really notice it. But had I been more sensitive and been paying greater attention, I'd have seen: the blankets on the ground against a wall to protect from the wind where someone slept last night.

And all of these thoughts came together in my mind, without a conscious effort really, but instinctively, with a sort of raw sardonic force, coalescing around a single phrase: "This is why elections matter."

And though it was a daunting prospect, I determined to try to get these thoughts out of my head and onto a page, even if I couldn't do justice to what it was that I really thought and felt about it. There's a lot there to take in, to be sure...

But truly this is "why elections matter" - all of it. And it's good to be reminded of that, at times like this; yes, even on the eve of the anniversary of Roe, and even on the day after the State of the Union. But those two events do make it hard to say anything intelligible without seeming to elide certain facts, or getting things out of proportion and proper order. One fears that it will all seem like sound-bites.

Because maybe this will come off as just one more cliche warning against being "single issue voters." Perhaps this will get misconstrued as tied up with the politics.

But, well, so be it. Because, well, this:

It all matters. #BlackLivesMatter - it isn't just political, it matters. And shoehorning it into the abortion debate? That doesn't help. It matters that, while many people will brave the cold to protest abortion tomorrow, there are many people who sleep outside every night in that cold. Their lives matter. Some kids in this country go to bed at night shivering because their mom and dad can't afford to keep the heat on. Or go to bed hungry, because mom and dad can't afford to feed them. That, too, matters.

I started typing this post in the morning and let it simmer all day to figure out if I could maybe say something better than I was saying it. But I don't know that I can. All I want to say is that all of this matters, and THAT'S why elections matter. A people of life will recognize that, and take that knowledge with them into the ballot box and onto the streets to protest. And as long as they do, I'll be there alongside; but the minute they forget it, then count me out.

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